Age Controversy: I thought I was 74 but was told I’m 75, says President Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday stirred up a fresh controversy over his real age when he said he thought he was 74 but was told he was 75.
Buhari spoke when the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammed Bello, led a delegation to pay him Christmas homage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President, joined by state governors and other top government officials, celebrated his 75th birthday penultimate Sunday.
He was said to have been born on December 17, 1942, in Daura, present day Katsina State.
While thanking his guests for the visit, Buhari recalled the health challenge that kept him away from the country for months earlier in the year and admitted that 2017 had been a tumultuous year for him.
He, however, noted with delight that God had answered the prayers of Nigerians as the rainy season was good and farmers recorded bumper harvest across the country.
It has been a tough year for Nigeria and I hope next year will be a much more prosperous one.
“But God listened to the majority of us, the rainy season was very good and some states have got very good information from home; I never knew that the people from Kano who are more resourceful used to go to my area and hire farms, this year nobody hired farm, and nobody regretted it.
“And again the second one from the Gov. of Sokoto State said all the people that really registered early to perform last pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia were farmers. But he didn’t tell me if they took additional wives.
“But I am very pleased that people have gone back to the land with very good harvests,’’ he said.
Buhari used the opportunity to commend religious leaders for partnering with government in ensuring peaceful co-existence among the diverse ethno-religious groups in the country.
He stated that reports reaching him from security organisations across the country indicated that the religious leaders had been assisting the security agents in the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the society.
“I thank you very much for coming, especially the religious leaders.
“I am very pleased you are doing your best from the intelligence I am getting to make sure that people live as good neighbours and good Nigerians,’’ said the president.
The President said he had recovered well from the sickness because he obeyed his doctors who instructed him to be eating and sleeping well.
He said, “I am very grateful (to you) for taking time out on a very important day to come out and spend it with us.
“It has been a tumultuous year. I am thinking I am 75. I thought I was 74 but I was told I was 75.
“I have never been so sick, not even during the 30-month civil war that I was stumbling under farm of yams or cassava.
“But this sickness…I don’t know, but I came out better. All those who saw me before said I look much better when I came back.
“But I have explained it to the public that as a General, I used to give orders. But now, I take orders.
The doctors told me to feed my stomach and sleep for longer hours.
That is why I am looking much better.”
The delegation and Minister of the FCT, Alhaji Musa Bello, had earlier thanked God for not only restoring the President’s health, but also making him stronger and better looking.
He said: “This is the third homage and we have never seen you better as you look today.’’
The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), FCT Chapter, Mr Jonah Samson, lauded the Buhari administration for its performances in the fight against corruption and insurgency in the country.
Samson, who also commended the administration’s efforts towards ensuring security of life and property of citizens, urged the government to provide additional employment opportunities to address youth restiveness in the country.