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2023: El-Rufai Backs Muslim-Muslim Ticket

Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has described critics warning the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, against settling for a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, as being pathetic.

Tinubu had scored 1,271 and defeated 13 other aspirants to become the APC presidential flagbearer at the party’s special convention.

El-Rufai, who is one of the contenders for the slot of the APC vice president, made the statement during a monitored political programme on Channels Television on Friday.

While disclosing that he faced a similar dilemma during the build-up to his election in Kaduna State, El-Rufai stated that he settled for another qualified Muslim woman as running mate and won.

The governor emphasised that it is high time Nigerians started looking beyond religious affiliations, adding that what matters is competence and delivery of good governance.

He said, “I don’t look at people from Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian angle. Most of my closest friends are Christians.

“It was Pastor Tunde Bakare, a Pentecostal pastor, that took me to the CPC, not President Buhari. I’m very close to Bakare. I’m very close to many Christians.

“I don’t think the business of governance has anything to do with religion. I think we should look for the best person for the job. A person that will get the job done and let him do that.

“I’m the wrong person to ask because, in my State, I picked a very competent and qualified woman as a running mate in the 2019 election, but just because she happens to be a Muslim, people were calling it ‘Muslim-Muslim ticket’ and they said we were going to lose, but we won overwhelmingly.

“This fixation of Nigerians on religion instead of conscience, capacity and capability is quite sad and pathetic and I urge you as the media, please take religion out of governance. I don’t think we should be looking at religion.

“Let’s develop this country… Nigeria is at crossroads; we face very serious dangers in security, in economic meltdown…but all people are concerned as far as who will be President or Vice President is concerned, is religion. It’s so sad. It’s not our religions that will solve our problems.”

The development was coming in the wake of criticism from a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal.

Lawal had warned the leadership of the APC against fielding a Muslim as running mate to Tinubu.

The former SGF had insinuated that Nigerians were still conscious of ethno-religious factors in politics, adding that it was the same reason that made the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to dump the choice of Tinubu as running mate in 2014.


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