Its presumptuous to say that, at 72 Buhari is too old to be president just as it is an exercise in self-delusion to think his age doesn’t matter.
His “I’m hale and hearty” declaration should have come with a caveat: It should have read, “I’m hale and hearty for a 72-year-old.” Alas, being a former soldier he could actually be in better shape than most 65yr-olds and that is still too old by public service standards.
There is a reason why a retirement age is set for different sectors of the economy.
In most countries, the retirement age for public servants is 65. There was a lot of hue and cry recently when it was said that workers would have to work until the age of 68 to qualify for State pension in the UK. Imagine what the reaction would be if the government proposed that the new retirement age would be Buhari’s age, 72?
The retirement age for members of the federal Judiciary in Nigeria is 70years and 65years for those working at the State judicial level.
Imagine the outcry if someone’s idea of revamping the fortunes of the national football team is to recall the USA ’94 squad. Calling the likes of Finidi George, Emmanuel Amunike, Jay Jay Okocha, Peter Rufai, Samson Siasia and Benedict Iroha back to camp. Ridiculous, won’t you say?
S.252(1) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act says, “Any person who is appointed or to his knowledge proposed to be appointed director of a public company and who is 70 or more years old shall disclose this fact to the members at the general meeting.”
While S.252(2) provides that: “Any person who fails to disclose his age as required under this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of N500.”
The Act does not say a Company director should not be older than 70years but provides that anyone who is older than 70years and who is serving as a Company director or about to be appointed as one should notify members of the company and failure to do so is an offence.
The reason behind this provision is simple, after the age of 70 a person’s physical capabilities become restricted and in some cases the ability to make quick rational decisions become compromised.
So why are people saying a 72yr-old man is not too old to be the president of a country?
Before PDP sympathisers begin to feel vindicated, here’s the bitter truth: The reason people are paying lip-service to Buhari’s age is because they want a change from a party that has ruled Nigeria for 16-years and has left the country worse-off than it was when they took control of government.
Nigerians have to make a choice between a 72-year-old former military dictator and a 57-year-old discredited politician under whose nose 300 schoolgirls were abducted by a terrorist group that has taken control over a portion of the country.
The average person would rather not work longer than it’s necessary so why do they want to give the most important job in the land to someone who’s past the officially recognised retirement age?
A lot of Nigerians don’t appreciate the mental and physical demands of being the president of a country. Leadership in Nigeria has sunken to such an abysmal depth that most people would settle for any candidate with a modicum of integrity, which is a vital ingredient missing in the Nigerian leadership structure.
One of Nigeria’s most respected politicians, Governor Fashola of Lagos State, ignored the glaring irony of his opposition to a 60yr-old man contesting to become governor of Lagos State. The irony being that his own Party, APC, is fielding a 72-year-old to contest for the Presidency.