When did religion become an issue in Nigeria? This was the question Adams Oshiomhole asked yesterday during a chat on a cable television.
He was giving an insight into the ongoing debate on same-faith ticket.
The one-time All Progressives Congress (APC) national chairman said a Muslim-Muslim ticket can only become an issue if it will affect freedom of worship.
Taking on those championing the opposition to the choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as running mate to the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Oshiomhole said Nigeria was at its best when religion did not feature.
According to him, those hiding under the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) umbrella to criticize the APC ticket decided to toe that part for personal interest.
He said: “You do not expect people who had expectations and when they suddenly found out that their expectations were not met, not to sing another song. Some of them have personal interests.
“Those crying out had the opportunity to canvass and vote one of the Christian candidates during our primaries. But, it is on record that those whipping the sentiment of religion led Asiwaju’s campaign knowing full well that he is a Muslim.”
Oshiomhole, who spoke in an interview on Arise TV, urged Nigerians to be wary of those trying to plunge Nigeria into religious crises.
He described the anti-same-faith crusaders as “Christians by mouth and devils by heart” and accused them of trying to incite religious violence.
He stated that the APC presidential standard bearer has shown religious tolerance in his family.
Oshiomhole said: “This country has survived religious wars. Even people who are on record of being prosecuted for misappropriating money that a Muslim President appropriated in favour of Christian children who were displaced. They are now the new voice of Christianity.
“So, we must distinguish between Christian by mouth and devil by heart who wants to see Nigeria engulfed in a war that nobody can win.
“Asiwaju has a Christian wife of about 40 years and is happily married. Is that not an example of what the nation should be?”
On when the same-faith ticket can become an issue, the former Edo State governor said: “If we have a Muslim-Muslim ticket, will that affect freedom of worship? If the answer is yes, then, there is a serious issue. If we have a Christian-Christian ticket, will that affect the freedom of Muslims, if yes, then, there is a problem.”