Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has said Muslim-Muslim ticket made him reject Asiwaju Bola Tinubu when he wanted to be his running mate in 2007.
Atiku, who served as the deputy of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007, said this in an interview with ARISE TV on Friday.
Atiku fell out with Obasanjo in the bid to succeed him, but later clinched the presidential ticket of Action Congress (AC), a party that Tinubu was instrumental to its formation after the political “Tsunami” that hit Alliance for Democracy (AD) governors who were elected in 1999.
Towards the end of his second term as governor of Lagos, Tinubu laid the groundwork for the establishment of AC, the platform on which Babatunde Fashola, incumbent Minister of Works and Housing, was elected as his successor.
During the running battle with Obasanjo, Atiku defected from the PDP and clinched the AC presidential ticket.
However, he came a distant third in the election, which was won by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, President Muhammadu Buhari of the then All Nigerians Peoples Party (ANPP) came second.
In the interview with ARISE, Atiku said the Muslim-Muslim ticket, which is generating a controversy in the country at the moment, made him not to choose Tinubu.
“The Muslim-Muslim ticket has always been my fundamental disagreement. Nigeria is a multiethnic and multi-religious nation and there should be a religious balance in our leadership,” he said.
“He (Tinubu) insisted on running with me and I didn’t believe it was right to have a Muslim-Muslim ticket. That was the point of my fundamental departure with him.”
Tinubu, who will square off with Atiku in the 2023 Presidential election, chose Senator Kashim Shettima, a fellow Muslim as running mate and this has been generating controversy.
When asked about his relationship with Tinubu, Atiku said, “I’m still a friend of him and being friends with him doesn’t mean we can’t have our political differences.”