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2015 Election: "There Is Nothing Wrong With Muslim/Muslim Ticket" –El-Rufai



Former Minister of the Fed­eral Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has come out and said that there is nothing wrong in having a Muslim/Muslim ticket in the next presidential election.
He blamed President Jonathan for the backlash over the Muslim/Muslim ticket rumour and said it had happened many times before in Nigeria with no uproar from the masses.
He was speaking to “Face the Nation,” broadcast on Rockcity 101.9 FM, Abeokuta, yesterday.
Excerpts: People are waiting for the first ma­jor test for the APC, the presidential primaries in particular. Permutations are on about who will get it and all sort. What should Nigeria expect?
Look, the APC is just conducting it congress to select its leader for its state and national offices. All these speculations about candidates are neither here nor there. It is a design by the PDP to distract us. The first time this story of Tinubu and Buhari thing came out was in THISDAY newspaper, which is known to be sympathetic to the PDP and Jonathan government. So, I will like to appeal to people to stop believing all this rumours. The truth is that today, there is no one in the APC that has declared for any office. Okay? General Buhari has not said he is running. Asiwaju Tinubu has not said he is running. None of the other names being mentioned has said he is running for any of­fice in 2015. It is all PDP-driven speculations to distract us and create crisis in the party.
As far as I am concerned, I want to see two people, one for presidency and an­other for vice presidency that would move Nigeria forward. If they are both Christians or Muslims or Buddhist, Hindus or Jews, I don’t care how they worship God. I believe in one God. I worship God in my own way. I don’t ask other people to worship God the way I worship God. I think religion is a private matter; it has nothing to do with one’s performance in public office.
Once upon a time, specifically from 1979, in the South-west, Alhaji Lateef Jakande was governor of Lagos Sate, his deputy was Alhaji Jafojo. Both of them were Muslims. In Oyo State. there was Governor Bola Ige. His deputy was S.M Afolabi and both of them were Christians. It was the same story all over the South-west. In Sokoto State, it was a Muslim-Muslim ticket and so also was in Kaduna State, even with its high Christian population, no one raised any eye-brow then but today, the situation is different. How did we get to this point?
I can even give you more examples. Throughout the years of the civil war, Gen. Gowon, the head of state, was a Christian and his deputy, Akinwale Wey, was a Chris­tian; nobody noticed. In the administration of Gen. Buhari, Buhari and Idiagbon, his depu­ty, were both Muslims; nobody commented. In 1979, Chief Obafemi Awolowo picked his running mate, Chief Phillip Umeadi from the South-east; both were Christians and nobody complained. In 1993, Chief Moshood Abiola picked Alaji Babagana Kingibe, another Muslim-Muslim ticket, and that’s the ticket that actually won the election. So, if you ask me where and how Nigeria got to this point, I will blame it pure and square on Goodluck Jonathan. It is Goodluck Jonathan more than anybody.
But Goodluck Jonathan has only ruled this country for about four years?
Yes, he started it! He started using religion, as an instrument of political division. It is in the Goodluck Jonathan administration that the president of Nigeria goes to churches and makes policy announcements. He is the only president of Nigeria that goes to religious gatherings and makes public policy announcements. It is deliberate and they are spending a lot of money in churches to bring division, to give the impression that PDP is the party for Christians, with the hope that he can buy Muslim political leaders in the North and they have a large amount of money to do that. All this religious divisions are contrived for political gains and it is unfortunate that leaders who have responsibility to protect and project the constitution are doing this, as a matter of deliberate tactics.
We have docu­ments; we have proofs to show that. That is the strategy of Jonathan’s administration
You are known to be very close to Gen. Buhari. Please, tell us: Is he contesting for the APC primaries for 2015 presidential race?
I am almost one hundred per cent certain that Gen. Buhari will contest the next elec­tion but it is up to the APC members to make that decision. I am one of those who have spent the last few years, trying to convince him, asking him to contest again and I think I have almost convinced him. My hope is that he will throw his hat in the ring as soon as possible. You know he is my candidate and I have not hidden that from anyone.

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