Is old age the only feature of campaign?

SIR: An unnecessary debate has been the moot point these days in the wake of All Progressives Congress’ announcing Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as party’s presidential candidate in the coming elections on February 14, 2015. 

  As in other climes, especially the Third World, party candidates in Nigeria are also experiencing attacks on their personality, where their political and religious views are of lesser consideration of the masses in comparison with their personal background and features, predominantly age; same is particularly the case with Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. 

  Buhari worked in different capacities and positions, both civil and military. On the one side, he served the military for 22 long years, and on the other side, he served as Governor of North Eastern State as well as Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources, though both of these civilian services were also rendered during his military career. Gen. Buhari demonstrated his skills and abilities as an administrator, reformer and Head of State during 1975-85, during the course of which he also had to face corruption charges and serious allegations of mismanagement and poor administration. In those capacities, his services won for him supporters in Nigeria, who appear to be anxious to see him as their next president.

  However, his (old) age has become one of the most unpleasant features of the present campaigns, a factor he could not reverse or make alteration. True, that an individual could introduce reforms in his policies, thinking, viewpoints and code of action; somehow, age, height, gender and ethno-racial backgrounds are the immutable features of one’s personality, none of which could be modified. A man is completely helpless with regards to defending the trait that is absolutely beyond his control. 

  Nigerians are well aware of the bitter reality that their motherland has been facing serious threats and challenges of extremism, ethno-racial prejudice and hatred, while nefarious campaigns have been launched by miscreants in Boko Haram and other terrorist groups and organisations. It is time the nation demonstrated more rationality and prudence, while electing their next president; where past performance and capabilities of the candidates must be made a priority instead of just deciding the fate of the country on the basis of age and tribal backgrounds of the presidential candidates. The right decision taken by the voters and supporters in the choice of the most competent person as president signposts a brighter future.   

• Mujtaba Zaidi, 

Lahore, Pakistan.

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