An inside source has told SaharaReporters that religion was one of the key issues touched on in a closed-door meeting between the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, and former South African president, Thabo Mbeki. The two met today in Kaduna, but the subject of their meeting and its outcome were not officially disclosed. 

Former head of state, Abdusalami Abubakar, former South African President, Thabo Mbeki and APC Pres. candidate, Muhammadu Buhari But a source told SaharaReporters that Mr. Buhari assured the visiting South African leader of his commitment to peace and issue-based campaigns, and stated that no Nigerian president can Islamize or Christianize the country. “Buhari told Thabo Mbeki that those playing the religious card were engaged in mischievous propaganda to blind Nigerians from demanding for credible leadership,” said our source.

The source added that the APC presidential candidate told Mr. Mbeki that the manipulation of religion was dangerous, adding that it limited some citizens’ ability to understand the need to salvage Nigeria. “He also told Mbeki that religious manipulation helps corruption to continue to thrive with impunity,” said our source. “Buhari described the issue of corruption and playing propaganda with religion as some of the greatest threats to Nigeria's future and survival as a united country,” the source added. 

Nigeria’s last military Head of State, Abdulsalam Abubakar, attended the Buhari-Mbeki meeting. Our source added that Mr. Abubakar, a retired army general, had facilitated Mr. Mbeki’s visit to Nigeria. The former South African president also held a closed-door meeting yesterday with President Goodluck Jonathan and Mr. Abubakar.

“Buhari made it clear that there is no president that can Islamize or Christianize Nigeria,” our source continued. “He told Mbeki that there was intense manipulation of religion to present him in a bad light, but he declared the plan a failure. He argued that those behind the plan are determined to retard Nigeria’s progress and sense of unity.” 

According to the source, the APC candidate also assured Mr. Mbeki that, as a military officer who fought Nigeria’s civil war to preserve the country, he would dedicate himself to the peace and political stability of the country. 

“He also told Mbeki that his ambition is to ensure that Nigerians, irrespective of their religion, ethnicity or state of origin, find a meaningful life and receive maximum protection from government against any kinds of terror bedeviling the country.

The source said that Mr. Buhari told Mr. Mbeki that he would continue to ignore personal attacks on his person and his family, that he would eschew political mudslinging, and focus instead on the issues confronting all Nigerians.

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