All Progressives Congress presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu again defended his fitness, saying that no sick person can successfully go on seven journeys like he did on Umrah.
Tinubu made the statement in an interview with Kano’s main independent radio station, Freedom Radio, in Saudi Arabia shortly before returning to the country.
Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca that takes place at any time of the year, unlike Ḥajj, which has specific dates according to the Islamic calendar.
The former Lagos state governor arrived at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, on Sunday evening, where he was warmly welcomed by his loyalists and party supporters.
The APC candidate insisted he is fit for president, adding that his critics had nothing to sell but lies and speculation.
He said, “I have just finished performing Umrah. I did the seven rounds of tawaf and the seven trips between Safa and Marwa by myself. Can a sick person do that? That is stale news, my brother.
“The people who are making those insinuations have nothing to say but lies and nonsense. I moved around, spoke on different platforms, and was on my feet for hours to address different audiences. They used to say that I couldn’t walk. They said I couldn’t stand, but they’re embarrassed.
“Since the campaign began, I have gathered more original ideas than anyone. I have demonstrated knowledge, experience and a great capacity to be aware of the country’s issues. And this work deals with ideas and issues related to the leadership of our country. I have what it takes to be the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and I ask the people of the country to have trust and respect for that, look at my background and past assignments. I want to serve the country and serve the country very well.”
While revealing his Umrah trip as a spiritual rebirth, he stated that the country is in dire need of prayers.
“It is a personal journey. It is a journey of spiritual rebirth. I like to come for Umrah from time to time. It is an opportunity to connect with Allah Almighty, Lam ya lid wa lam yulad. We need your guide. Nigeria needs prayers and that is why we are here praying for our country, for ourselves and for society.”
This is even as he defended his introduction of public meetings and political engagements, saying that holding rallies across the country is not enough to win the 2023 presidential election.
“We are reaching out to each and every Nigerian. We decided that rallies are not always enough. We need to involve all Nigerians from all parts of the country and in all sectors of our socio-economic life. We have hired businessmen, farmers, miners, industrialists, artists, labor leaders, etc.
“Because of the commitments we are having, it is clear that we are going to win this election. As the election approaches, the signs are clear and that is why our opponents are nervous. Now they have resorted to selling fake news and quoting some of my statements out of context just to score cheap points.
“I was recently asked about removing fuel subsidies and I said I’m going to make sure we end the waste and get the money back to the people who really need it. This is a position that almost all the candidates agree on. We all agree that the subsidy regime is abused and the rich are favored more than the poor. He has to go. I couldn’t have objected to people expressing their own position on the matter.
“I believe in consultation and in the guarantee of democratic values and norms. I respect people’s opinion and would not take part in quashing dissenting views or any legitimate protest. I myself am a veteran of protests. So why should I say that people should not embark on a well-intentioned protest? There is no excuse for that and there is no intent to abuse power,” he said.