Buhari’s comments on age misinterpreted, say Presidency, APC

Buhari at AU sumit

Buhari at AU sumit

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.

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  • Ukoh Sunny

    Just like the devil nothing comes for free,,,what’s $5m gonna do????f***en US

    • New Nigerian

      $5m is not zero dollars, the cash & kind is very much appreciated. We have been budgeting trillions of naira, early this year the military asked for $1b and the national assembly approved it…we know what the problem is, it was a business for some people at the expense of all Nigerians. Now that that merchants have been removed from government, we should finally see the results of our resources judiciously managed.

  • omibiga

    APC should accept that Buhari made a truthful comment in tandem with his acclaimed honesty. Even the British Prime Minister would not interpret that statement any other way. For Lai Mohammed to think he can insult Nigerians by claiming we all do not understand simple English is simply making a fool of himself. If they wanted Buhari to say exactly what they want, they should write all his speeches or let him speak in Hausa so that the rest of us who do not understand simple Hausa/Fulani would not be burdened with these increasingly embarrassing glitches.

  • Izeobor

    This is what Nigerians will be enthralled with in the nexty 4 years of this govt – reinventing the English language by Buhari. Adesina said it correctly ‘old wines are tastier’. He forgot to say it loud that ‘Buhari is an old wine in a new bottle’, sekina.
    A misfit. He should do what Abubakar used to do by sending Zik to represent him on a world stage. Send Osinbajo to represent him outside Nigeria and speak Arabic in Nigeria.

    • New Nigerian

      Femi Adesina created some problems with his communications and he will learn. First, for even providing a response to the “kite flying” by the rogue PDP element (as we now know that Metuh have distanced PDP from the communications calling for Buhari to resign). The light-hearted banter for President Buhari was just that, context matters in all communications. Second for likening President Buhari, a muslim to old wine. To which I wrote an open advice to him –

      “Femi – It is not politically correct to compare President Buhari to a wine. I know the saying, but never forget he is a Muslim to whom tasting wine is haram/forbidden and common sense dictate that you factor this into your communications…and also most Nigerians are Muslims and cannot relate to your choice of analogy, which may come across as offensive …which defeats the purpose of the communications I know this is a honest mistake, but learn.

      There was nothing wrong with what President Buhari said – He cannot run around like when he was 42, the last time he was head of state – we know that, we don’t need him to run around. we voted for him massively for his wisdom, integrity, incorrigibility and family values – We are Nigerians and we are used to having wise old men run our towns, cities and country…and we know what those sages bring. So you need not respond to the juvenile absurdities of some PDP-rogue elements (as we now know that Metuh have distanced the party from them).

      Good luck as you handle your new position, but update your self on the person, character, sensibilities of your principal and audience so that your communications can have the right impact and meaning.”

  • New Nigerian

    Lai is spot on. Adesina may benefit from some tips from Lai on succinct communications that states things the way they are – Femi Adesina should also try not to be too colourful in his analogies.

  • nmomah

    What Buhari said was very much in order. How many people over the age of 50 can do what they did in their youthful age? Can anybody fault for instance, an ex supper eagles player who retires from active football, say at the age of 40 years and still expects the same player to run round the field with younger players in their 17 or 18 years old in a soccer game? Buhari’s age has nothing to do with his ability to perform his official responsibilities as a president. Even at his age of 72 years, he is now actively cleaning up all the mess that a younger president created for the country in the past six years? Look at the respect the international community is giving to Nigeria now, in addition to their willingness to help fight all the maladministration of the PDP’s sixteen years evil governance of the country. Is anyone surprised, the vigour with which the EFCC is now carrying out its statutory responsibilities? that is the handiwork of Buhari. We all should pray to GOD to give the president the goodwill, sound health, wisdom and humility to serve the country for the benefit of every Nigerian.