The Presidency has moved to clarify the statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari in South Africa, where he said he wished he was President at a younger age.
His spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said in a statement yesterday that he didn’t mean to stay he was too old to be in office.
Adesina however insisted that like old wine, the President has become better with age.
“On Monday evening, President Muhammadu Buhari spoke with the Nigerian community at the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Speaking extempore, because according to him, he wanted to “speak from the heart,” the President urged them to be good ambassadors of Nigeria, a country he went to the warfront to keep together.
Still extolling the virtues of our country, Nigeria, 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 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 statement read in part.
According to Adesina, 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 symbolized 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.
“At 72, the Buhari person has not changed. He remains the simple, honest, incorruptible patriot he has always been. Nigerians earnestly desired change, that was why they voted for him overwhelmingly at the general elections in March this year. All the virtues and values of the Buhari persona will be deployed into governance in the weeks and months ahead.
“The Nigerian community in South Africa was enthralled as President Buhari spoke with them on Monday. In fact, leaving the venue was an effort, as they swarmed round the President, who shook hands with as many of them as he could.
“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,” he concluded.

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