Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari for reportedly walking from the venue of Sallah prayers in Daura, Katsina State to his home as proof of his fitness to re-contest for office in 2019.
Buhari had on Tuesday shunned protocol and opted to demonstrate his fitness to run for a second term by trekking 800 metres from the Eid-praying ground in Daura to his private residence, acknowledging cheers from residents, who lined up on his route to catch a glimpse of him.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said the action of the president was a positive response to an earlier suggestion by Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State that Buhari was too old to re-contest.
Shehu said: “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.”
Bihari walking home after Sallah prayers in Daura on Tuesday.
Tambuwal, who is interested in the president’s office, had said last week that Buhari is “too old” to continue to rule the country beyond 2019
According to Tambuwal, who spoke during a solidarity visit of students and youths in Sokoto, last week, the President is just too old to be Nigeria’s leader, despite his integrity and impeccable character.
But Atiku in a tweet today described the President’s action as pedestrian, noting that walking is not a unique attribute to anyone and should not be used as a measure of fitness.
Atiku’s tweet read: “I regularly jog more than a mile & exercise, but it will be pedestrian of me to ask Nigerians to vote for me because of that. I want my party – the PDP, and Nigerians, to vote for me because I WORK not because I WALK. I will work to create jobs. I won’t walk to create an illusion.”
Atiku, who is a presidential aspirant of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, also attached a photo himself exercising on a treadmill to the tweet.