It is the dawn of political season in Nigeria, and as we approach 2019 general elections, everything that politicians do or say will be given positive or negative political interpretation, depending on who is speaking; all in an attempt to score more political points.
The ‘Not-Too-Old-To-Run’ movement in the Presidency has given Nigerians reasons to believe that their principal and our President is ‘fit as a fiddle’ to vie for the exalted seat of the land for a second time.
The trending word in Nigeria’s political lexicon, both online and offline, is trekking.
The word was popularised by the Presidency when they said President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated his fitness to run for a second term by trekking 800 metres from the Eid praying ground in Daura to his private residence.
After the Eid prayers on Tuesday, President Buhari shunned protocol and opted to trek some 800 metres, acknowledging cheers from supporters who lined up on his route to catch a glimpse of him.
As we are all aware, the age and health of the President are his biggest ‘Achilles heels’ in his bid to retain his seat as the ‘landlord’ or ‘tenant’ of Aso Rock (choose the one you prefer).
Typical of Nigerian politicians, the Governor of Sokoto state , Aminu Tambuwal , last week exploited the president’s physical fitness when he alleged that Buhari was ‘too old ’ to rule the country beyond 2019.
According to him “President Muhammadu Buhari is just too old to be Nigeria’s leader, despite his integrity and impeccable character”.
However, Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, the man who should know better, instead of directing the conversation to the president’s performance in the last three years, reduced a serious governance issue involving the highest office in the land to ‘800 metre trek’ by saying that the President trekking from the Eid prayer ground to his home was a positive response to Tambuwal’s ‘diatribe’.
According to Shehu, “…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.
“Now that the President has proven his fitness and wellbeing, to continue in office is a settled matter.” The protest trek Interestingly, one Isa Mohammed Munlaila, appears to be adding salt to this trekking injury.
He is embarking on a trek from Lagos to Abuja to express his dissatisfaction with the present administration and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Dressed in a black T-Shirt and carrying a box painted in what seemed like the colours of the APC flag, green, white, blue and red, he told journalists in Lagos that the walk is also to protest against the re-election bid of President Buhari.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time a Nigerian is embarking on a long-distance trek for political reasons.
In April 2015, 33-year-old Hashimu Suleiman trekked from Lagos to Abuja to celebrate President Buhari’s election victory.
Also, Abubakar Duduwale, a die-hard fan of President Buhari, also trekked from Yola to Abuja to witness the president’s inauguration on May 29, 2015.
However, it is not all smiles for him as he is still dealing with a leg injury arising from the trip.
I advice Munlaila to learn from the bad experience of Duduwale and stop his trekking ‘expedition’ before it is too late because a stitch, it is said, on time saves nine.
The president’s 800 metres trek also took over Twitter Nigeria.
Here are some tweets.
kkadri kehinde @ kadrikenny He is not walking to impress anybody.
That is what the tenets of his religions preaches..it more rewarding to walk to/ fro the praying ground Diamond @ Diamond49611807 Let us forget about elections if trekking is the measure of fitness to rule and allow all presidential aspirants to trek a long distance for Nigerians to choose d next president,am sorry baba no go carry second to d last na last he go carry.
ify oguiks @ oguiksify My Grand Father trek 4rm my villa 2 Onitsha,if that is is the case my Grand Father can as well be the president of Nigeria Pareal @ PatrickOkouzi PMB is not a cripple dat he can’t trek, he hasn’t broken a world record by trekking.
What is so special abt trek.
Walk & Work are different.