One of the most popular misconceptions against Muhammadu Buhari is that he is an Islamic fundamentalist.
In fact, one of the most popular memes against him is that he had asked muslims to only vote for muslim candidates, and that he is a supporter of islamizing Nigeria (Source):
As the year 2003 elections draw closer, former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) has called on Muslims across the country to vote only for the presidential candidate that would defend and uphold the tenets of Islam.
Buhari who made the call yesterday at the closing ceremony of the 16th National Qur’anic Recitation competition held in Gusau, Zamfara State told Muslims that they have every reason to thank Allah for restoring the Islamic Sharia under the present dispensation, which he said was destroyed by British colonialists during their crusade in 1903 against the Sokoto caliphate.
Truth is, nothing indicates this perception is backed by reality. He personally addressed this issue in the run up to the 2003 election (source):
…the comment I made was that people in Sokoto know their people, that when the ban on politics is lifted they should choose the people that will represent them responsibly.
This is common sense: if someone aspires to rule this country, he cannot afford to offend even pagans or even atheists—those who don’t even believe in God. These are the people that will vote. How can I say Muslims should not vote for Christians? Then do I expect Christians to vote me, a Muslim?
And I have backed it by facts that I have served the country’s military for 25 years. I did all the command and staff work, as a platoon commander to General Officer Commanding and the only still surviving officer that commanded three of the four commands in the Nigerian Army.
And the Nigerian Army is about 75% Christian and nobody has ever said I took a decision against anybody because of his religion or his tribe. There are other tribes in the whole command.
So, if for politically it sticks that I don’t like Christians, well it is very very unfortunate, but my performance in office at all stages has portrayed me as an impartial person…
The question of me being a Sharia advocate and a hater of Christians has never happened and it will certainly fail.
So there you go folks, Buhari may be many things, but a religious bigot isn’t one of them…
This article was first published here
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