Nigeria's president Buhari improving with age

2015-06-19 05:48
Nigeria's APC presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari. (File, AP)

Nigeria's APC presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari. (File, AP)

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Lagos - Nigeria's new 72-year-old president is improving with age, his spokesperson said on Thursday, in response to reports that the leader had suggested it would limit what he could achieve during his tenure.

Three weeks ago Muhammadu Buhari took office as president of Africa's most populous nation and its top oil exporter. He must contend with an ailing economy hit by low crude prices and an insurgency by militant Islamists Boko Haram.

Buhari, yet to announce his cabinet, is likely to keep the oil portfolio for himself rather than trust anyone else with the source of most of the country's revenue and an industry mired in corruption scandals.

"As the saying goes, 'old wines are tasty' and the president Buhari we have today is a man, like old wine, that has got tastier," said his spokesperson, Femi Adesina.

His comments followed a rash of newspaper opinion pieces questioning Buhari's energy and ability to lead, after the president said he wished he had become head of state when he served as a military governor, aged 33.

"Now at 72, there is a limit to what I can do," Buhari was quoted as saying.

The president's spokesperson did not deny that Buhari made the comments, but said they had been misinterpreted.

"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," said Adesina.

The spokesperson said Buhari had "the wisdom, the patience, temperance and forbearance that age brings".

Buhari is a former military ruler who took charge of the country for 18 months following a military coup in 1983.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  muhammadu buhari  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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