The presidency has reacted to the claims that President Muhammadu Buhari will limit his performance as leader of the country because of his age.
Nigeria's leader has lamented in the interview after the African Union Summit end that he had not become the president when he was younger.
He said: “I wish I became head of state when I was a governor, just a few years as a young man. Now at 72, there is a limit to what I can do.”
On its turn the Peoples Democratic Party Media Watchdog has called for the resignation of the president.
Answering to the development Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman said the president’s statement in Johannesburg was misread.
He said: “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.”
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While he admitted that the president made the comment, Adesina said it was not an admission that Buhari was too old to cope with the demands of his position.
Adesina said while at 72, the president could not be called a youth, but he has in quantum the wisdom, patience, temperance and forbearance that age brings.
The presidential spokesman added that Buhari had brought all these virtues to the presidency to make a quality in national life.
The statement says in part: “The President, who had served as a military governor of the then North-Eastern State at 33 years old, 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, 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 symbolised 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.”
He added that at 72, the Buhari persona has not changed. Adesina said the President stayed “the simple, honest, incorruptible patriot he has always been.”
The presidential media aide added that because Nigerians earnestly desired change, that was why they voted for him overwhelmingly at the general polls in March. He said all the virtues and values of the Buhari persona would be deployed into governance in the weeks and months ahead.
He reminded that the Nigerian community in South Africa was enslaved as Buhari spoke with them on Monday.
“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,” Adesina concluded.