Buhari stated this in Abuja on Thursday in a meeting with no fewer 200 pastors from the 19 northern states under the aegis of Northern Christian Leaders Eagle-Eye Forum.
Giving a background of his stewardship as a military Head of State, he said that all that mattered to him then were competence, integrity and fairness to all.
“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.
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, 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,” he said.
Buhari restated that 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,’’ he stressed.
He said that he had a balanced cabinet with key positions, including Finance, Energy and Defence, occupied by Christians, in addition to 11 of the 19 governors he appointed.
“My most memorable recollections of subordinate service was under Christian bosses, the finest our country had then, and among the most respected today.
Indeed, one of the best appraisals I received in the course of my military career was from Gen. T.Y. Danjuma.
Let me state this categorically that I, Muhammadu Buhari, as an individual, and as president of this great country by the grace of God, if 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 or Christianise Nigeria or support anyone with such intention.
Sharia cannot therefore be the law of Nigeria,’’ Buhari assured.
He said that as a religious nation, the burning of places of worship “constitutes one of the vilest forms of abomination to all those who believe in God.’’
Also speaking, Buhari’s running mate, Yemi Osinbajo, pledged to re-enforce feeding in all primary schools in the country.
`”In our land today, we have reports that 110 million people are extremely poor, and poverty knows no tribe or religion.
Corruption has made us lose so much money. In Osun, it costs N2.6 billion to feed children of school age,’’ he said.
The Chairman of the Forum, Habu Aminchi, urged Christians to come out en-masse and vote for candidates of their choice.
Aminchi charged all Nigerians to continue to pray that God would restore the country’s glory in all fields of human endeavour.
“I can tell you with that everything will be okay; the economy will bounce back, businesses will boom and even offerings will increase,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that highlights of the event were the singing of a hymn by all and the presentation of a Bible to Buhari and Osinbajo.
NAN also recalls that Buhari, in furtherance of his campaign for the presidency, met with the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Nigeria on Wednesday to allay their fears on religious freedom.