Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu
Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu

Nigeria's president jokes about fall during ceremony

Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu has made light of his fall during Wednesday’s Democracy Day ceremony, saying it was his Yoruba culture on display.

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Mr Tinubu slipped and fell over at an official event to mark 25 years of democracy in the country.

The president, 72, fell as he climbed the steps on a vehicle which was supposed to take him around Eagle Square in the capital, Abuja.

He had to be helped to get back to his feet.

Later in the evening, while giving a speech at the banquet dinner organised as part of the day's events, the former Lagos state governor noted he was all over social media after falling.

“Early this morning, I had a swagger and it's on the social media. They're confused whether I was doing buga or doing babanriga [referring to two popular dance moves in Nigeria]," the president said.

"But it's a day to celebrate democracy while doing dobale [yoruba term for bowing to greet elders] for the day. I'm a traditional Yoruba boy, I did my dobale."

One of his aides described it as a "mild misstep" and said the president had been able to continue with the rest of the day's programme.

"He immediately went on with the ceremonial rounds. No issues,” wrote presidential aide Dada Olusegun on X.

Mr Tinubu’s closest challenger during last year’s election, Atiku Abubakar, expressed his sympathy.

“I sincerely sympathise with President Bola Tinubu over this unfortunate incident as he was set to review the parade on Democracy Day. I do hope that all is well with him,” he wrote on X.

Popular politician and activist Shehu Sani said it was no big deal, and that the incident showed the president was no different to anyone else.

“Not Just President Tinubu, anyone alive can trip and fall; it happened to President Biden and Fidel Castro. Presidents are human beings and mortals.”

X user Arinze Odira said the fall was "scary to watch".

Another Nigerian, Charles Awuzie, posted on Facebook that he got emotional after seeing the clip.

“Whether it is President Biden or President Tinubu, I usually feel hurt when a human gets hurt in the place of service. I wish the president well.”

While most Nigerians have expressed their sympathy and best wishes, for some it has reignited questions about his health, which were raised by his opponents during the campaign for last year's tightly contested election.

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