*Insists former Lagos governor’s official age doubtful
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
A former National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mark Jacob, at the weekend took a swipe at the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, describing him as unfit to be the country’s next leader.
Jacob who spoke when he appeared on Arise Television, THISDAY’s broadcast arm, maintained that given the complex nature of the country and the deterioration in all sectors, Nigeria requires a hands-on person to pilot its affairs.
Jacob expressed doubt over the official age of the APC leader, alleging that from official records in the public space, the politician is only about seven to eight years senior to his (Tinubu’s) first daughter.
He remarked that rating Tinubu over the PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, was a wrong calculation, stating that he only made inroads in the north during the primaries of the APC.
The ex-legal adviser maintained that when it comes to the general elections, Tinubu would not stand a chance in the north, stressing that the perception that he already has President Muhammadu’s votes in the north locked-in was a myth.
“He will make some little efforts. In fact, if it was Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, it is very possible that some young people, some very active people in the north would have supported him. But for Tinubu, what really does he have that can be compared to Atiku?
“The campaigns are already on. Just go on social media. If you understand Hausa, what they are now saying is that we are going from father to grandfather and that is what the APC is giving us. Nobody will buy that in the Nigeria of today.
“We have suffered enough in the past seven years in the hands of a baba. We cannot in all honesty, as Nigerians, hand over Nigeria to a grandfather who appears frail and has difficulty managing even his frame.
“This country is too complicated to be handed over to somebody who has difficulty managing his health, his life, his person. If you manage a very big company aimed at making a profit, you will be careful who you hand over the running of the company to if you want to make profit.
“Nigeria is a serious business concern and cannot be handed over to persons who are having challenges,” he pointed out.
Reminded that Atiku is at least six years older than Tinubu, Jacob remarked that put on the same race track, Atiku will outrun the former Lagos governor, since according to him he’s fitter in all respects.
“Does he (Atiku) look older than him (Tinubu) if you put them on the race track? His current age is what he has decided to show you and some of us are aware that he’s seven years older than his daughter by the information in the public domain.
“When did he marry? When did he give birth to his daughter? She’s 61 and he’s 69. How can we play with Nigeria like that? People must take this country seriously and people must be serious as to who will handle this very complicated country in the next few years. We can’t joke with it and we cannot toy with it,”he added.
Noting that the country is currently at a precipice, the lawyer explained that if Nigerians are serious, they must go beyond the mundane and look at the serious issues at stake, including the candidates’ health.
“How can we hand over our country to persons who can on even simple issues like age not be very forthright when it’s very apparent that it’s different from what you are swearing that you are in your declaration of age. It’s not correct and it’s not fair to the country that we just joke over these things,” he declared.
Away from Tinubu, Jacob said that this time , Atiku must consult widely on the issue of his running mate, noting that in 2019, the choice of Peter Obi was not applauded by most of the governors, a development that impacted the outcome of the election.
He stated that the candidate must be a result of consultations, including agreements with PDP governors, the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) as well as the Board of Trustees (BoT) members.
He expressed joy that Atiku remains a very good politician who knows the right thing to do, stressing that the choice of the running mate to Atiku will be a purely political decision.
He maintained that Obi, may also not go far because his support is allegedly coming from one zone, but admitted that the votes of the PDP may be diluted by Obi.
Jacob stressed that many people who initially rooted for a president of eastern Nigeria extraction are now disappointed since even the delegates from the South-east didn’t vote their own during the special convention.
According to him, nobody will stick out their neck for a cause when even Igbo people did not vote their people during the meeting.
Out of the 90 votes from the South-east, he said Anyim got just about 20, adding that of the 200 in the PDP, the Igbo aspirants got just a few with many voting for Atiku.