Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has stated that when he opposed the plan to foist a Muslim-Muslim presidency on Nigeria in 2014, he acted in the national interest and believed Nigeria was bigger than anybody’s ambition, including that of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Saraki, in a statement signed by the head of his Media Office, Yusuph Olaniyonu, on Friday, in response to the speech by Tinubu in Abeokuta on Thursday claiming that Saraki and others opposed his desire to be running mate to President Mohammadu Buhari in the 2015 elections, noted that he will oppose any plan that causes a religious crisis in a multi-religious country like Nigeria.
“When I and other leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014 stood against having a Muslim-Muslim ticket, it was not a decision targeted at any individual or group but one taken in the national interest. Asiwaju knows this and he is just being mischievous by presenting this decision as something aimed at stopping his ambition.
“Let me make it clear that the decision to oppose the plans by some people to make APC present a Muslim-Muslim ticket in 2015 was in the national interest and I will take the same stand today, tomorrow, and any other day. My stance is based on the fact that such a ticket is not good for the unity of the country and will further accentuate one of our fault lines.
“Even Asiwaju Tinubu knows that I am a man who does not shy away from standing for what is right. He knows that I don’t follow the crowd and I take a stand based on my conviction of what is good for the country and what is not good for her. It is also obvious that I have paid prices for this stand.
“The opposition to a Muslim- Muslim ticket was not targeted at Tinubu or any other person. It was a decision that even all party leaders know helped the victory of the party and also worked for the unity of the country. That decision is not about self but national and collective interests. It is a decision which served the purpose of the people of Nigeria and I have no regret supporting it,” Saraki stated.
While expressing surprise that Tinubu refused to move on and still sulked over what happened in 2014, the former Governor of Kwara State added that the APC presidential aspirant had become so fixated on the Muslim-Muslim ticket issue of 2014 that he worked so hard to stop the emergence of Saraki as Senate President in a move he considered as retaliatory.
Saraki also stated that after he was elected Senate President, Tinubu maintained an adversarial position against the eighth National Assembly, initiated covert and overt measures aimed at undermining the federal legislature, and set the executive against the legislature.
“Despite calling himself a democrat, he continued to support every effort to frustrate the eighth National Assembly and thwart its efforts to provide good representation to Nigeria. He was the architect of several moves that set the Presidency on a collision course with the National Assembly.
“At a time, he would twist issues and make false claims in his quarterly press statements aimed at making the National Assembly under my leadership look bad. Now, Nigerians know the truth. We can only urge Senator Tinubu to look at the bigger picture on all matters and stop viewing all issues within the prism of his ambition and personal interest,” Saraki stated.