President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday “demonstrated his fitness” to continue in office.
After Eid-el-Kabir prayers in Daura, Katsina State, he shunned protocol, and amid cheers from hundreds of well-wishers who lined the route, the president walked 800 metres from the prayer ground to his private residence.
“I think there are two things here,” said Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu.
“One is that the president is responsive to the enormous support and commitment of his own people that came 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 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.
That the president has proven his fitness and wellbeing to continue in office is a settled matter.”
Shehu advised people who wish to campaign against the president to do so “on issues that are of significance to Nigerians,” because “the president is fit. He is healthy. He is good to go for a second term.”
Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, had suggested last week that the president should not seek re-election on account of his age.
“We love President Buhari and that was why we supported him in 2015 unconditionally. 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 disposition, probably because of his old age or health condition.
That is why Nigerians are yearning for younger ones to lead this country,” Tambuwal said.
Buhari also received members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who paid him a courtesy call.
Describing the visit as a Sallah tradition he “looks forward to the most,” he reaffirmed faith in the scheme saying: “I think the NYSC is one of the best things to happen to Nigeria, because it gives young Nigerians opportunity to see and know different parts of the country.”
He noted that for many of the youths, being “brought to the desert or near the Sahel region is a difficult thing” but admitted the experience would leave them with fond memories.
The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, meanwhile, urged Nigerians to live in peace with one another.
He made the call while addressing people of the state, shortly after he led prayers at the Kofar Mata Central Eid ground in Kano.
Nigerians, irrespective of their political and religious inclinations, must promote peaceful co-existence, to ensure economic growth and development, he said.
The monarch also called on wealthy individuals to support the less privileged.
He said there was the need for the people to pray for the peace and progress of the state and the country as the 2019 elections draw nearer.
He charged unemployed youths to engage in meaningful ventures, to become self-reliant and contribute to national development. The people were also enjoined to obtain voter cards to enhance their participation in the polls.
Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello admonished Nigerians to be patient, saying the economic policies of the Buhari administration would soon yield dividends.
He made the appeal in his Okene country home after Eid-el-Kabir prayers.
“The National Bureau of Statistics record shows that the economy of the country is growing on a daily basis, so Mr. President is doing a good job,” he said.
He expressed confidence that Buhari would win another term in office because “Nigerians believe in him and this is evident in the conduct of all the recent by-elections in the country.”
Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, on his part, joined the Muslim community at the Central Mosque, Owerri Road, to celebrate the event, and called for special prayers for Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other leaders in the country.
He was received amid jubilation by Muslim faithful, including Commissioner of Police Danmallam Mohammed; the Director, Department of State Services (DSS); and Sarkin Hausawa, Alhaji Abukakar Yusuf Sambo.
“As you celebrate in this season of sacrifice, may we all continue to see one another as brothers and sisters for the good of our dear state and our dear country Nigeria,” Ugwuanyi said.
The climax of the event was the presentation of a ram to the governor to celebrate the feast as a friend of Muslims.