The Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has broken the Nigerian internet in a most unusual way.
The 70-year-old candidate of the governing political party, has been declared “missing” by social media users for quite some time now, since he missed two high-profile events back home in the last two months, amid growing concerns about the state of his health.
Tinubu has often surreptitiously escaped Nigeria’s shores in recent times with his media team coy on his destination, with Paris and London often conjectured as possible alighting points.
To prove however that he’s still alive somewhere and that voters should have nothing to worry about, Tinubu posted a video of himself riding a stationary gym bike (with Asake’s ‘Organise’ humming in the background) from an undisclosed location, with the words:
“Many have said I have died; others claim I have withdrawn from the presidential campaign.
“This is the reality: I am strong, I am healthy and I am READY to serve Nigerians from Day One.
It was all Twitter needed to explode on a night when the Finale of a reality TV show should have dominated discourse.
The politician’s tweet has elicited all kinds of reactions, from the acerbic to the sarcastic.
“This is not London. It’s an old video recorded in Bourdillon Ikoyi, Lagos. Uncle Bola, try another game,” wrote @Govshina.
@MsAdaO wrote: “Back to this video. You just know there’s a cardiologist, Geriatric doctor, Anaesthetists, Radiologist and ambulance in the cut. Whoever signed this off is definitely an OBIdient mole.”
There have also been animations, believe it or not;
And a meme or two for effect;
It’s not been all knocks for Tinubu’s video, however, as some of his supporters have applauded the ‘strategy’ behind it all;
“That Tinubu’s cycling video doesn’t deserve the attention it got. Whoever thought of that video deserves a pay rise. It revived his name on the media space to cause a distraction. A good PR, IMO,” wrote @Egi_Nupe.
At about the same time Tinubu dropped his cycling video, presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, also dropped a similar video of himself dancing to Davido’s tune. That also made it into the conversation.
Nigerians have been wary of the prospects of another physically weak president ahead of the 2023 vote because, as columnist Abimbola Adelakun notes in a recent Punch essay, “Since 1993, Nigeria has had at least six leaders. Three of them ailed — two died in office, and one spent extended time in a hospital abroad.
“The uncertainty and the shenanigan in Aso Rock that accompanied the last days of one of them, President Umaru Yar’Adua, is enough reason never to overlook any presidential candidate’s health status.”
Incumbent Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari, has spent extended periods tending to his frail health in London, since he won a first term in office in 2015.