President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, demonstrated his fitness to run for a second term by trekking 800 metres from the Eid praying ground in Daura to his private residence.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that, after the Eid prayers, President Buhari shunned protocol and opted to trek 800 metres, acknowledging cheers from Nigerians who lined up on his home route to catch a glimpse of him.
A presidential aspirant and incumbent governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, last week alleged that Buhari was “too old’’ to rule the country beyond 2019.
According to Tambuwal, “President Muhammadu Buhari is just too old to be Nigeria’s leader, despite his integrity and impeccable character.” Tambuwal stated this during a solidarity visit of students and youth in Sokoto, last week.
“We love President Buhari and that was why we supported him in 2015 unconditionally, and while doing that, we are too sure that he will seek re-election after his first term. But when things are wrong, we have to tell him.
“We still believe in his integrity, patriotism and courage, but these are not enough for a leader.
“We all know that there is a vacuum in the government occasioned by his indisposition probably because of his old age or health condition.
“That is why Nigerians are yearning for younger ones to lead this country.’’
However, Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said the trekking by the president was a positive response to Tambuwal’s diatribe.
“I think there are two things here; one is to say that the President is responsive to the enormous support and commitment of his own people that had come out in their numbers to see him and he just decided that he couldn’t go on riding in a black vehicle and he came out and walked to the distance.
“The second thing, he is curious that these days, one or two people who are aspiring to be president are campaigning on their youthfulness and good health.
“I think the president has done one thing today – that the issue is not how old one is but how fit he is ; how healthy he is. Now that the president has proven his fitness and well-being to continue in office is a settled matter
“I think that if people want to campaign against him they should do so on issues that are of significance to Nigerians. The President is fit, he is healthy; he is good to go for second term,’’ he said.
In a similar development, President Buhari, Monday, urged Nigerians, in his Eid-el-Kabir message to the nation, to rise above personal, group, sectarian and other interests.
Buhari urged all Muslims to use the occasion for sober reflection and self-examination and strive to be good ambassadors of their religion by upholding high moral values
He reminded Muslims that ‘’this felicitous occasion of Eid-ul-Adha is a remembrance of the submission of Prophet Ibrahim to Allah, his Creator by which he taught the world the value of sacrifice in relating with one another, and when it comes to nation-building.’’
“We must sacrifice for others and remember always those, who are less fortunate than ourselves,” the President declared.
President Buhari explained that religion is a major factor in influencing human behaviour towards good conduct and actions.
He, however, regretted that selfishness, greed and corruption have overwhelmed human souls to the extent that people abandon their religious beliefs in pursuit of their greed.
The President stressed that fighting corruption is a task that must be done in order to protect the larger interests of the ordinary Nigerians, who are the worst victims of diseases, poverty, malnutrition and other afflictions.
Buhari noted that surrendering to corruption is not an option because it destroys society and progress of nations.
“Even if some people hate you for fighting corruption, you should not chicken out from the task as a leader because doing so is a betrayal of public trust,” he said.
On the current economic challenges facing Nigerians, the President reassured that such are temporary because the welfare of the people is the main thrust of the change agenda of the administration.
The Nigerian government has declared Tuesday and Wednesday as public holidays for the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.