I have had a hard time figuring out what was going through the mind of presidency spokesperson, Garba Shehu, when he issued the following statement:
“I think there are two things here; one is to say that the president is responsive to the enormous support and commitment of his own people that had come out in their numbers to see him and he just decided that he couldn’t go on riding in a black vehicle and he came out and walked the distance.
“The second thing, he is curious that 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 well-being, to continue in office is a settled matter
“I think that if people want to campaign against him they should do so on issues that are of significance to Nigerians. The president is fit, he is healthy; he is good to go for second term.”
Shehu and his fellow courtiers in the presidency are famous for issuing plenty of banal, irresponsible statements. You have to say this one ranks up there among their silliest because it was totally uncalled for, ill timed and asinine.
The most annoying thing that came out of Shehu’s 'show of fitness' statement is that a handful of presidential aspirants have been flaunting pictures of how fit they are at a time of a crippling economy, decrepit infrastructure, poor power supply, soaring unemployment and rising inequality.
Hence in one Sallah break, we have essentially reduced a most important and decisive election for our country to a fitness circus.
It’s just seven months before the presidential elections and you would think the contenders should be taking on themselves on policy proposals, the Boko Haram and herdsmen crises and of course an economy that is so moribund, businesses have been packing up shop and sending millions into the unemployment market.
We can do better and we should indeed do better. I am looking forward to the first presidential debate starring candidates Buhari, Atiku, Saraki, Sowore, Moghalu and Durotoye. Let’s stop with the crap that is the fitness Olympics and focus on the issues and the issues only.
Our country is on the brink as it were. The least our presidential contestants can do is treat this season with all the seriousness it deserves. They really must think we are stupid with their silly fitness regime photo-ops.
One more fitness picture of a presidential aspirant and I'll flip.