Buhari’s comments on age misinterpreted, say Presidency, APC
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s statement to the Nigerian community in Johannesburg, South Africa, regarding his age was taken out of context, the Presidency claimed yesterday.
Buhari, at a reception on Monday night to mark his attendance at the just concluded 25th Summit of the African Union (AU), had told Nigerians resident in South Africa that because of advanced age, he might not be in the best position to effect some of the things he would have done at a younger age, without the support of Nigerians.
Reacting to the widely quoted speech in yesterday publications, however, his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said in statement in Abuja yesterday that the President’s position was taken out of context, as it did not mean he was too old to cope with the demands of his office.
“Speaking extempore, because he wanted to ‘speak from the heart,’ the President urged them to be good ambassadors of Nigeria, a country he went to the warfront to keep together,” the statement read.
“Still extolling the virtues of our country, Nigeria, the President, who had served as military governor of the then North-Eastern State at 33, declared: ‘I wish I became Head of State when I was a governor. Now at 72, there is a limit to what I can do.’
“The above comments have been reported by some newspapers to mean that the President was saying he was too old to cope with the demands of his office, far from it. As the saying goes, ‘old wines are tasty’ and the President Buhari we have today is a man like old wine that has got tastier.
“At 72, yes, he can’t be called a youth, but he has in quantum the wisdom, patience, temperance and forbearance that age brings. And all these virtues he has brought to the Presidency to make a difference in our national life.”
He quoted the Buhari as assuring the Nigerian community there that his administration would make a positive impact on the country, noting that insecurity, as symbolised by insurgency, would be brought to an end, corruption fought to a standstill, and employment created for the teeming army of the unemployed.
Also, the economy would be revived, and the quality of life of Nigerians take an upward swing again, but these would not come by a sudden flight, rather, in the life of this administration.
According to him, at 72, the Buhari persona has not changed, “he remains the simple, honest, incorruptible patriot he has always been. And because Nigerians earnestly desired change, they voted overwhelmingly for him at the general elections in March.
“All the virtues and values of the Buhari persona will be deployed into governance in the weeks and months ahead. The Nigerian community in South Africa was enthralled as President Buhari spoke with them on Monday.
“In fact, leaving the venue was an effort, as they swarmed round the President, who shook hands with as many of them as he could. They took his message well, that is the essence of good wine. It gets better with age, and it is a message for all Nigerians, both at home and in the Diaspora.”
Also, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has described as “a product of poor thinking and deliberate mischief the statement credited to the
so-called PDP Media Watchdog asking President Buhari to resign because of his comments over his age.”
In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said if the authors of the statement had understood simple English, taken the pains to engage in deep thinking and contextualized the comments, they would not have rushed to the press to ask the President to resign.
‘’What President Buhari was saying, which was lost on those who issued that jejune statement, is that only his love and passion for the country could have made him, at his age, to come out of retirement to seek the office of President, over 30 years after he presided over the affairs of the country.
‘’For 16 years, Nigerians gave the PDP the benefit of the doubt to move the country forward, but instead, the party put Nigeria in reverse gear at a high speed, spinning it towards a doomsday that was only averted when Nigerians showed the PDP the red card. This is what necessitated President Buhari to continuously seek the country’s highest political office, so he can help put the country on a forward march again. Nothing else matters, not for him the excitement of an
office he previously held and the quest for personal accomplishment.
If the country had been well managed, President Buhari will not at 72 be crisscrossing the whole world seeking solution to Nigeria’s problems, it said.
APC said within three weeks of his inauguration, President Buhari has succeeded in returning Nigeria to the comity of nations, to such an extent that world leaders are now so eager to engage him on how to assist his country in key areas, including security and the fight against corruption.
‘’Within three weeks of President Buhari’s inauguration, he had done what the PDP government could not do in six years: Invigorate the fight against Boko Haram by rallying a regional and global front against the terror group. Today, the US has pledged to give $5 million for the fight against Boko Haram, in addition to other material support. This is apart from the support that has been pledged by the G-7 for Nigeria’s efforts to quell the insurgency.