The Septuagenarians Who Run The Presidential Race
Nigeria News takes a look at the major presidential candidates, their ages and state of health.
Until he became the Nigerian president three years ago, Muhammadu Buhari had kept his health status private.
He travelled to the United Kingdom for a regular check and for three consecutive times that he ran for the presidential seat, he failed.
No one could really say if those dissaponting hours affected his state of health. Buhari would always challenge the outcome of those elections at the court. He never won any of the polls through litigation.
Fortunately, he won the 2015 general election at 72 to become the oldest Person that would ever become Nigerian president.
Not even former President Olusegun Obasanjo who became the country President at 62 was closer to Buhari’s age.
Even though Obasanjo’s age is contestable, the former President rose up to the challenges of running the most populous Black nation.
He gave it his all, time, energy and intellect and bowed out in his early 70s.
The late President Umoru Musa Yar’adua, despite his young age, could not cope with the pressure of the presidential seat.
His ill health, which he was able to manage while serving as the Katsina State Governor deteriorated so fast as soon as he became Nigerian president.
The challenges of the seat weighed him down. He died on the seat.
Yar’Adua’s death ushered in former President Goodluck Jonathan, a young and the most academically qualified President Nigeria ever produced.
We all know what happened to Jonathan. His regime was marred by a high level of impunity, looting of public treasury and corruption. Though agile with no records of ill health, Jonathan’s lack of political will to control the excesses of those who worked with him silenced his administration.
Nigeria has not been lucky because Buhari who eventually took over from Jonathan spent almost half of his first term on medical tourism.
He confessed that he had never been so sick.
The pressure of his new office compounded his state of health and made him seek treatment abroad where he stayed for over 100 days.
The president is Hale and hearty now but the pace at which he runs the government is so slow and irritating in this modern age.
The real issue here is that Buhari, 75 will be contesting against another Septugenarian, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, 71.
Atiku looks fit anyway but there is no doubt that age is telling on him. One needs to listen to Atiku about five years ago and compare his speech to what he says today.
The former customs chief has lost his eloquence, audibility and emotion that a good leader must possess.
This is what old age has done to him. And now that Nigerians will be going to the poll next year, the election is between two septuagenarians.
Not that there are no other qualified young candidates in the coming election, they lack the funds, the clouts and the tricks to muscle out the old brigades.
What is wrong with Africa?