Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, says the President, at 75, is not too old to run for a second term in office.
Speaking via Skype on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, Adesina pointed out that Beji Caid Essebsi, President of Tunisia, assumed power at the age of 88, way beyond Buhari’s current age, and that Donald Trump of the United States of America was 71 when he became President in 2017.
Essebsi will be 92 on November 29 and is currently the second oldest Head of State/Government in the world, behind Queen Elizabeth of England.
Adesina noted that Buhari is not against young people running for the top office, himself having led the country as a young man, even though “they [the military]shot their way into power”.
The President “spoke about the age he got to power (in 1983), what he didn’t add was that they shot their ways into power. Now, that is not possible again. That is not needful again. Now you have to be elected. You have to convince the people to elect you and that is what matters in a democracy,” Adesina said.
When he was reminded of countries like France and Austria whose presidents are young people, Adesina agreed that “the world is getting younger, but it’s not by a sudden flight. It’s by transition, which should be seamless”.
“We will get there, no doubt about it. We are going to get there. But power is never ceded, people have to take it,” he said.
“The not-too-young-to-run bill is in the works, and I know that when it comes to the executive, it will likely be signed into law.
“The President himself has young people round him; he has young children; he has young aides and all that, so the young will always be given an opportunity.”
Buhari and the APC boycotted the political debate organised in 2015 for presidential candidates of select political parties, but Adesina said it would be too early to say whether he would participate in the 2019 debate.
“Mr President will make up his own mind whether he would want to engage in a debate or not. It’s too early,” Adesina said, while also maintaining that Buhari “will never allow politicking to affect governance”.