The All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, is unfit to rule the country because of ill-health, the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum, has said.
The organisation said that only people who were not well informed, or have lost sanity, would vote for Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State.
The chairman of IECF and former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, stated these in a statement issued on Tuesday night from the United States, with about one week to the commencement of campaigns.
But the Spokesperson of Tinubu Campaign Organization, Adebayo Onanuga, told The PUNCH that Ezeife was acting the script of the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi.
According to him, Tinubu had been hale and hearty, fit and most qualified for Nigeria’s highest office.
Ezeife was reacting to a recent report published by The PUNCH on Monday, September 12 that about two weeks after his visit to the vice presidential candidate of APC, Kashim Shettima, the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum which he chairs had been seriously divided.
Although the official statement had claimed that it was a courtesy visit, sources said it had thrown the IECF into controversies as members who had been champions of the Igbo presidency and supported the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, remained divided.
The division among the members of the organisation was fuelled by the cancellation of two press conferences earlier scheduled for 1 pm on Tuesday, June 14 and Friday, June 24 2022 at Ezeife’s residence in Asokoro at the last minute, while no explanation was given.
Since that time, the IECF had maintained a deafening silence, thereby fuelling more speculation that politicians may have infiltrated its members.
A dazed member of IECF who does not want to be mentioned confirmed the division but was not sure if it was allegedly sponsored by the APC.
But Ezeife in the statement titled, ‘Why I went to Shettima’, said he visited the former governor of Borno State to assist a businessman whose warehouse was bulldozed by the Borno State Government.
He said that aside from Tinubu “being too old for the office of President of Nigeria”, the Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the former governor had knocked off his chances.
Ezeife said, “Yes, I went, uninvited, to Shettima, I was accompanied by a Maiduguri-born and brought-up businessman of South-East extraction. Why? More than a year ago, a well-built young man came to my office in Abuja crying desperately. He talked like someone considering suicide! He told me that he was finished, that the clothes on him were the only property left for him. He inherited a hotel from his father and built two more hotels by himself. All three hotels and a warehouse were bulldozed by the Borno State government.
“His other properties were also seized. He had helped the campaign efforts of the current Borno State Governor (Babagana Zulum). He also bought a bus for the campaign. He was directed to come and see me. I made efforts to see the Borno State governor but did not succeed.
“Recently, the young man rushed to my office and told me that Shettima, who handed it over to the current governor can influence him to listen to his (the businessman’s) case and do some justice. He told me that if I met Shettima and pleaded with him, the problem would be solved. He added that Shettima was in town (Abuja) that day.
“That if we went, we would meet him at his Abuja residence. As he saw it, my meeting with Shettima would end his frustration, suffering and threat to his life. I did not give it a second thought because the young man spoke from the depth of his heart. I jumped into the car with him and we headed to where he knew Shettima was.
“Shettima received me with great respect and did not keep me waiting too long before calling me in for discussion. I pleaded with Shetima to appeal to his successor for some justice to be done to the businessman.
“He listened carefully and I was amazed by his positive responses which included a commitment to help the businessman directly by himself if the Governor does not do enough. I was elated and I thanked him profusely.
“As we were leaving the office, Shettima bade me goodbye with a handshake. I did see camera men taking pictures of us. But I knew what I went for. I shall go to anybody who can genuinely help a person in life-threatening distress. There was nothing political in the visit. Truly, I do not consider Shettima an opponent in the 2023 presidential election. Why?
“His principal, Jagaban Tinubu, is really not well. Only people who are not well informed, or have lost sanity, will vote for him to go and die in AsoRock.
“Also, Tinubu is too old for the office of President of Nigeria. A very representative group of Northern youths came to my house and declared that nobody above 65 years old should contest for the office of the President of Nigeria.
“The greatest problem of the old is brain power deficiency, especially loses of memory. I explained this to Yoruba youths who proposed my joining the race for President of Nigeria. Should everything have been alright for the Tinubu ticket, it’s Muslim- Muslim nature knocks it out – removes it from consideration.
“I appeal to Nigerians of every ethnic group and religious faith to bow to the will of the Almighty God, who seems to have taken over from our conscienceless politicians, to bring about a new Nigeria, to rescue Nigeria and revive her destiny – the country to which He poured an abundance of His blessings, making her the very most gifted Country on earth.
“Yes, Ecclesiastes says there is a time and a season for everything under the sun. This appears to be the time and the season for the manifestation of the new Nigeria which must develop to a world superpower, raising the respect and dignity of all blacks on earth and participating in, and improving the leadership of the world. God’s design and will dominate man’s will in, and mess up, of Nigeria.”
Onanuga challenged anyone who has a contrary opinion about Tinubu’s perfect health to come forward with proof.
He said, “We have said many times that Asíwájú Tinubu is hale and hearty, fit and most qualified for Nigeria’s highest office. Let anyone who has a contrary claim prove otherwise. Enough of all these malicious statements from quack doctors, saying things they are not qualified to say.
“Like Peter Obi, the Labour Party candidate who groundlessly pronounced on Tinubu’s health without being a medical doctor two weeks ago, Ezeife has merely shamelessly regurgitated his candidate’s statement.
“We know Ezeife as an economist, not a medical doctor unless he is now making a claim to be a quack. We know him as a rabid supporter of Peter Obi. And we do not begrudge him for his political views.
“It is a shame that the 83-year-old tried to hide under a so-called youthful group to canvas for his candidate while knocking out Tinubu and Abubakar Atiku on the ground of age. According to his warped logic, only anyone who is below 65 should lead Nigeria. We are surprised that the octogenarian is making the claim when the leader of the world’s second leading democracy, Joe Biden is close to 80.
“Two years ago, Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia retired at 95 as prime minister. He retired not because of brain power deficiency, but because he had fulfilled his term in office.”