PRESIDENTIAL candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday night, in Abuja, informed the Catholic bishops that he is not a religious fanatic as being bandied in some quarters.
Buhari spoke during his interactive session with the Catholic bishops under the aegis of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), at the Pope John Paul II Catholic Centre in Wuse 2, Abuja, where he noted that “I would like to solemnly declare that in spite of what our detractors say, I am not a religious fanatic of any sort and I have never been.”Speaking further, he said “all my life, I have never supported extremism of any kind and no where in my record of service to this nation can this false toga, political opponents have tried so hard to put on me be substantiated. Indeed, it is very unfortunate and I feel extremely sad that I have to give this type of assurance.
“My background is in the army and there is no doubt that the military is the most integrated pan-Nigerian institution. And even today, the military is one of the institutions that represent the pride of our nation’s possibilities in unity. Compatriots from every corner of this country come together, work and live together, entrust their lives to each other and integrate their families.“It is a military where many of my dearest friends, from all faiths and parts of the country lost their lives defending the unity of our nation. That was the military I served in and in that military, it was impossible to be a bigot.“For me, the issue of religion was, and should always, be a matter of personal conviction.
This personal conviction 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.“Let me state this categorically, that I, Muhammadu Buhari, as an individual and as president of this great country by the grace of God, given the opportunity to serve, have no personal religious agenda. And I will not entertain, consider or promote the religious agenda of anyone.“I will not condone any initiative that seeks to promote one religion over the other. Neither I, nor my party, or any member of my team has any desire or plan to Islamise, Christianise Nigeria or support anyone with such intention.