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Atiku condemns Muslim-Muslim ticket; says it’s ‘absolutely wrong’ for Nigeria

“Till today, I will not do Muslim-Muslim ticket. I don’t have to be president because I don’t believe it is right for this country.”

• October 6, 2023
Atiku Abubakar, Kashim Shettima, and Bola Tinubu
Atiku Abubakar, Kashim Shettima, and Bola Tinubu

Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party has condemned the Muslim-Muslim ticket, saying it is “absolutely wrong” for a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Nigeria.

Mr Abubakar made this remark while fielding questions at a world conference on Thursday to address findings on Chicago State University, exposing President Bola Tinubu presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“Till today, I will not do Muslim-Muslim ticket. I don’t have to be president because I don’t believe it is right for this country. It is not right; (it) is absolutely wrong. We are multi-ethnic and multi-religious, and our government should reflect our diversity and our composition,” Mr Abubakar said.

Explaining how his political relationship with the president turned sour in 2007, Mr Abubakar said he fell out with him because he refused to allow Mr Tinubu, another Muslim, to be his running mate. 

He alleged that Mr Tinubu had sought to be his running mate when he emerged as the presidential candidate of the Action Congress, sending party men to cajole him, but he refused. 

“In 2007, we came together to form AC. And in Lagos, at the convention, I emerged as the winner and got the ticket. After I got the ticket, he sent about five or six party men – some of them are here. I can even name them, but I don’t want to embarrass them. They came to me and said to me that Bola wanted to be my running mate. I said: ‘Gentlemen, you are all old enough, and virtually all of you are Christians, with the exception of only one person.

“What would be your reaction to having a Muslim-Muslim ticket? All of them said, ‘We totally object to it’. I said then, ‘Why did you not tell him: Mr Tinubu, the message you are giving to us, we don’t seem to agree with it? Why are you then coming to me? And that was the end of the political relationship. He broke away, went, and supported Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. So, where is the ground for him to say I betrayed him?” Mr Abubakar explained.

Despite condemnation and criticisms, Mr Tinubu ran on the same-faith ticket with Kashim Shettima in 2023. He was declared the winner of the February 25 presidential election by the INEC on March 1. But his victory is being challenged by opposition parties.

Though the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal affirmed Mr Tinubu’s victory on September 6, Mr Abubakar and Peter Obi of the Labour Party have approached the Supreme Court.

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