Many people who don’t want Tinubu as president harp on his physical fitness. They argue he can hardly walk unaided. They have saved video clips of his unsteady hands. They argue Buhari is hampered by his own medical infirmity. They don’t want his situation to play out again.

Do they have a good point? Yes, they do. It is desirable to have a presidential president. One that can jog the stairs into a airplane like Obama. One that can mount a horse or be a black belt martial artist like Vladimir Putin. One as young and dashing like Emmanuel Macron. One that can sprint on a stadium tartan tracks like Amaechi. One as eloquent and “presidential” as Osinbajo.

Tinubu is none of the above. He has passed his prime, physically. The pertinent question is: is Tinubu’s health that bad that many doubt he would have the time and presence of mind to govern?

From the moment of his return from medical treatment abroad for what has not been disputed to be knee surgery, I really don’t know any presidential aspirant who physically covered more grounds than Tinubu in terms of consultations. He was up and about. Given the noise about his perceived poor health, I began to fear he would slump in one of those consultations. The man just woke the following day to continue to tour country. He did that till he won a hard-fought and physically draining primary election.

I was thinking after the primaries, the man would take about two weeks off to rest. No! He has been visiting the other aspirants to build bridges.

His hand shakes. Oh yes. God blessed certain people with excellent health even at advanced age. My uncle clocked 80 this year. He doesn’t use glasses. He drives himself (drove himself from Oyo Town to Lagos on his 80th birthday), eats and drinks junks and has never had any major health issue, except for accidents. However, many presidents of the world suffered/suffer from diabetes, cancer, polio, obesity and other serious conditions yet they made/make excellent presidents.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was America’s 32nd president. He was diagnosed with polio at age 39 and became paraplegic (lost mobility in his legs). He became wheelchair-bound. Despite his condition, the people of America did not lose sight of his leadership qualities. He was voted governor of his state and later the president of the United States. He served longest term ever in the history of the United States. FOUR TERMS! That was before the law restricts presidents to only two terms.

America is a recognised superpower in the world today. Roosevelt made it so. If Hitler was allowed to run riot, he would not only have eliminated all Jews but would have turned Africa into a semblance of a human zoo. Roosevelt stepped in to save Europe and the rest of the world from maniacal domineering tendencies of Hitler and his co-travellers. That was a man consigned to a wheelchair.

Tinubu doesn’t have the greatest health. We would have preferred his presidency to come ten years earlier but we should focus on his leadership antecedents.

He was a technocrat who rose the corporate ladder to become an exec of a notable multinational. He stood up against military dictatorship and had to go on exile where it is undeniable that he was not only a dissenting voice from abroad, he was actively funding pro-democracy groups in Nigeria.

With return to civil rule, he became governor of Nigeria’s most viable state. He governed with wisdom and large heartedness. While many governors thrived on ethnic and religious sentiments, Tinubu’s Lagos was for all-comers. He appointed cabinet members from across the south-west. He had commissioners and aides whose origins are from Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti. He appointed people from the Northern region. He picked from Kogi and Kwara. He did not stop at that. He picked a commissioner whose origin is Igbo.

Despite being a Muslim, Tinubu’s cabinet was Christian majority. Lagos was a behemoth of a city-state but he adopted policies that set it on the path to normalcy and progress.

Of all the politicians who were either president or governors since 1999, Tinubu is the ONLY one still in control of his structure and has even consolidated nationwide. Where are the other governors of 1999?

Efforts were made to cow him, to blackmail him, to discredit him. His antecedents shine through rather pale into oblivion like most of his contemporaries.

He once shot back at those querying his physical fitness that he is not seeking to become president to run a marathon. May sound a weak response but it’s actually the truth.

What we require from a president is not physical exertion. We need a president to be able to assemble a great team to work with as ministers and aides. We need a president to develop policies that will bring positive turnaround to the economy, security architecture, job creation, infrastructure and our national image.

Tinubu is not a saint and I will never project him to be close to sainthood. In the grand scheme of things, it will be fair to say he cannot be absolved from Nigeria’s problems but so are the leading candidates from other parties.

In my opinion, he is the best man to lead Nigeria at this time. Those shaky hands can steady the ship. That’s a valid irony.

Let’s cut the man some slack.

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