Akin to the 2008 hotly contested American presidential race when Republican candidate Senator John McCain spent better part of his campaign responding to issues relating to his age, the same episode is being repeated in Ghana and Nigerian, the two sister West African nations who seem to have common history, common ancestry and common destiny. Both presidential candidates of Nigeria?s opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and Ghana?s opposition New Patriotic Party have been caught by what many have termed the ?McCain diseases.?
General Muhammadu Buhari, 73, and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 71, have both contested Presidential elections on at least two to three occasions without success.
In this seemingly last attempt, since gaining their respective party?s mandate they have been constantly pushed by the weary citizens of their respective countries to respond to their age and fitness.
Again, not long ago, the two counties have lost their serving Presidents through death.
Speaking at the launch of his fourth time flag bearer bid, Nana Akufo-Addo could not avoid responding to the issue of age when he stated ?I am profoundly grateful that so many people consider me worthy to lead this promising nation of ours, even at the young age of 70. I do not know what 70-year olds are supposed to feel like but I feel well, my body is in good shape; my mind remains as sharp as it ever was.?
He has constantly been reported in the media of sneaking out of the country to the United Kingdom for medical attention, an incident that has caused his office to issue several denial statements.
Similarly, Nigeria?s leading opposition candidate, Gen Muhammadu Buahari is also reported in sections of the Nigeria media to have been flown to London for medical attention, a charge he and his handlers have forcefully denied.
Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose was reported to have said ?as against the claim of the APC that Buhari was on a short working visit to the UK, Buhari is being treated at a hospital located at Cavendish Street, Cavendish Square, W2 London West End, London.?
But Gen Buhari has dismissed the report, saying ?I am in London with Senator Bukola Saraki, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State for a short working visit. I just finished talks with the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in his country home. I would be having another meeting with the Awujale of Ijebuland soon. Apart from this, I am also visiting some friends. As you can hear from my voice, I am hale and hearty with some of my friends around me.?
Rumors of his ill-health and trip to London for medical assistance have been widespread to the extent that in an attempt to deflate the rumors, his publicists, trusted aides and wife have all joined the fray.
In response to questions on her husband being hospitalized, The Guardian newspaper quoted wife of the former Military strongman, Aisha Buhari, to have said ?He?s home, well and sound. No, he?s just come here to rest. He?s just here to have a rest, at least few days? rest, before he goes back to the business.?
One of Gen Buhari?s trusted allies who doubles as Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has also denied the reports, saying Gen Muhammadu Buhari is in a better health condition than President Goodluck Jonathan and is therefore, fit to rule Nigeria.
His campaign office also issued a statement detailing his visit to London, stating that “General Buhari would hopefully give a talk at the prestigious foreign policy hub, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatam House in London, the spokesperson for his campaign, Garba Shehu.?
The statement added that wide speculation by supporters of the ruling People?s Democratic Party (PDP), that Mr. Buhari was actually ferried out to receive medical attention because his health was failing.
Source: The Alhajj