The All Progressives Congress (APC) has defended its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu’s recent appearance at Chatham House, saying he disappointed those expecting “glitches”.
At the London-based policy institute on Monday, Tinubu discussed some of his plans in the areas of defence, economy, education, and technology, among others.
Mixed reactions however trailed the appearance with many criticising the APC candidate’s decision to delegate some of his allies including serving governors and lawmakers to answer questions posed by participants.
The APC’s Deputy Director, Media and Publicity, Ali Ali, during a live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, lauded the party’s standard bearer.
“I would say he did very well as expected, maybe to the surprise of his traducers who thought as usual, there would be one or two glitches and they would latch unto that and make a feast out of it,” he said.
“But you can see that he spoke well and, of course, naturally, people react differently. Some would applaud and some would naturally condemn. Such is the enigma called Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“A lot of people say his cognitive abilities are on the decline and they make a feast out of it. You see all kinds of memes on social media. But occasionally, it happens to people – senior moments, they call it, I think, in medical terms. It happens to the best of people.”
Ali queried the rationale for arguments that Tinubu’s cognitive abilities were on the decline and that the APC stalwart played it safe by redirecting questions addressed to him.
In his response, the spokesperson, Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation, Daniel Bwala, argued that the entirety of Tinubu’s campaign had been plagued by a series of gaffes.
“These gaffes are not just misspellings or mispronunciations,” he said. “They are gaffes of fundamental issues which reflect, for example, the cognitive ability of that person. The constitution is clear about who wants to be the president.
“Now, you are talking about somebody who was asked personalised questions regarding his age. Do you need somebody to speak to someone about your age? Where they there when you were born?
“You have, for now, in the media space, about three different dates of birth. There is 1952, 1954, and I think 1953 or thereabout. And you have not cleared that.”
Bwala also criticised Tinubu’s failure to directly answer questions posed to him as well as his absence from presidential town halls in Nigeria outside of events organised by his party.
“About education, if they are asking you questions about individuals that are older than you, after you have made the intervention, you can say, ‘I want ABC to add further.’
“What he is doing is that he is saying, ‘Nigerians, I want you to vote 5, 10 or 12 of us. And a man who does not have regard and respect for the freedom of the press – look at the constitution, the freedom of the press is as important as fundamental human rights.
“He has abdicated the responsibility of appearing before the Nigerian press, but he went to what he called the rest of the world to appear before them,” he said.