Posted by Garba Ahmed, Kaduna | 12 March 2015 | 3,049 times
The All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Major- Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, has dispelled insinuations that he is a religious fanatic.
“In all my life, I have never supported extremism of any kind and nowhere in my record of service to this nation can this false toga, which political opponents have tried so hard to put on me, can be substantiated.” He said.
Contrary to reports that he may impose the Muslim legal system on Nigeria if he becomes President, Buhari noted that the nation's Constitution identifies the Shariah law as synonymous with customary law, applicable only in matters of personal status such as marriage, divorce and inheritance.
“This has been the case since the 1999 Constitution and just as no one can make any customary or any other religious law the law of Nigeria, Shariah cannot therefore be the law of Nigeria,” Buhari affirmed in a message he sent at an APC presidential interactive session with religious leaders, at the Hamdala Hotel.
The programme attracted Muslim and Christian clerics as well as the party's Vice Presidential candidate, Pastor Yemi Osinbajo, and the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, who read Buhari's message.
According to Buhari, “wicked propagandists continue to spread vicious lies about me for political gain, including the claim that I once asked Muslims not to vote for Christians.
“This must be the height of absurdity. How can I ever say that, when whoever votes for me would be voting for the Christian running with me on the same ticket?
“I would like to solemnly declare that in spite of what our detractors say, I am not a religious fanatic of any sort.
“For me, the issue of religion was and should always be a matter of personal conviction and this approach to religion has defined my work and interactions all my life, including my tenure in office as military Head of State.
“The religion of all those I worked with was never a factor in their progress or in what happened to them.
“All that mattered then and should still matter today, are competence, integrity and readiness to be fair to all.
“Government has no business preferring one religion to the other as the role of government is to protect lives and property of citizens and to respect and protect their constitutional rights.
“One critical freedom that every government must strive to protect is the liberty for citizens to exercise their faiths, Christians and Muslims or others, in a lawful manner without fear or hindrance and to prosecute those who use religion as an excuse to destroy homes, schools and places of worship.”
•Photo shows Buhari
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