Presidency Has Risen In Defence Of Muhammadu Buhari’s Age Gafe As Both PDP And APC Decry Calls On The President To Resign On Account Of Admission Of Age Limitations
Patrick Osadebamwen & Dyepkazah Shibayan, Abuja
The presidency yesterday differed with President Muhammadu Buhari, who had, while addressing the Nigerian community in South Africa, said there was not much he could do at 72. Buhari had regretted that he became president at a time when age was no longer on his side, expressing the wish that this opportunity came his way when he was much younger.
But in a statement yesterday, his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina,said that despite the president’s admission, his age was indeed a blessing to Nigeria. Adesina, who noted that the President was being honest in his admission, however stated that Buhari was better in old age. According to him, “Wine tastes better with age”.
Comparing Buhari to wine which gets better with age, Adesina said reports of the President’s admission indicating that he was too old to lead, were “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, the 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.
“The President assured the Nigerian community in South Africa that his Administration will make a positive impact on the country. And that he would do. “Insecurity as symbolized by insurgency will be brought to an end, corruption will be fought to a standstill, employment will be created for the teeming army of unemployed, the economy will be revived, and the quality of life of Nigerians will take an upward swing again. These will not come by a sudden flight, but they will happen in the life of this administration. “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, that was why they voted for him overwhelmingly at the general elections in March, this year. All the virtues and values of the Buhari persona will be deployed into governance in the weeks and months ahead”, he explained.
Meanwhile, leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has distanced itself from a group which described itself as the PDP Media Watchdog, which had called on the president to resign. The party said it had no relationship with the group even as it pointed out that it did not permit the group to use any of its symbol nor speak on its behalf. National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Olisa Metuh said this yesterday in a statement.
“This group is absolutely unknown to the PDP and has no connection whatsoever with our party at any level, neither is the content of their statement a reflection of the position or stance of the party. “For the avoidance of doubt, our great party has not authorized this group to use its name, acronym or logo to issue statements or make public pronouncements on any matter and we caution those behind them to henceforth desist from such immediately. “The PDP therefore distances itself from the embarrassing statement by this group wherein it called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign and went ahead to use offensive and denigrating language on the person and office of the President of our great country.
“This is completely unacceptable and against the posture of the PDP to engage only on robust and credible opposition while constructively offering alternatives to the programmes and policies of the APC-led government, preparatory to our return to power in the next four years”, the PDP said. The party however noted that “the attitude of this group is a direct consequence of the approach adopted by the APC in denigrating and insulting our immediate-past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
“Though we know that former President Jonathan suffered such fate in the hands of the APC, we shall not repay them in the same coin as such is not part of our tradition and value as a party”. But APC disagrees. It described as “product of poor thinking and deliberate mischief the statement credited to a so-called PDP Media Watchdog asking President Muhammadu Buhari to resign because of his comments over his age.”
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said if the authors of the statement had understood simple English, taking the pains to engage in deep thinking and contextualise 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,” Mohammed noted.