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Obasanjo Warns Political Parties Against Religious Insensitivity

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Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has warned political parties and their leaders against the idea of fielding either Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian as presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the February 14, 2014 election.

He said in a terse statement made available to journalists in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Sunday that such an idea was dangerous given the current happenings in the polity.

Although he did not mention any political party or politician in the statement, he appeared to have alluded to an All Progressive Congress, APC presidential aspirant, Muhammadu Buhari’s comment on Saturday that he was not opposed to a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

Buhari has been touted yo be considering Lagos State governor, Raji Fasjola, a Muslim like him as running mate.

Obasanjo’s statement read, “Sensitivity is a necessary ingredient for enhancement of peace, security and stability at this point in the political discourse and arrangement for Nigeria and for encouraging confidence and trust. It will be insensitive to the point of absurdity for any leader or any political party to be toying with Muslim- muslim or Christian-Christian ticket at this juncture”.

According to him, the country could not “at this stage raise the spectre and fear of Islamisation or Christianisation. The idea of proselytisation in any form is a grave danger that must not be contemplated by any serious-minded politician at this delicate situation in Nigeria, as this time is different from any other time’.

Buhari had in an interview published on Saturday by an online newspaper, TheCable, said he had an open mind on a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

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The presidential aspirant argued that he had shown in the past that he was not a religious fundamentalist by picking Christians as his running mates.
His former running mates are a former Senate President Chuba Okadigbo (late); an ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives, Edwin Ume-Ezeoke (late) and Tunde Bakare (a pastor).

“Nigerians will always uncover impossible room for manoeuvre for politicians. I had to face one of the governors during one of our party’s meetings [over the issue of religion]. In 2003, I chose Okadigbo as my running mate. He was a Roman Catholic. He was an Igbo. In 2007, I picked Ume-Ezeoke. He was a Roman Catholic. He was an Igbo. And in 2010, I chose even a pastor. Pastor Tunde Bakare,” he said.

 

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