THE headline of this article is a phrase people use from time to time, particularly when a younger man wants to marry an older woman. More so if she is much older. So they brush the years in between as ‘just a number,’  and therefore not important enough to affect the relationship.

Tinubu

The birthday of the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, which is celebrated with an annual policy roundtable, was held in Kano State on Monday. It was the 12th  Bola Tinubu Colloquium, and it has raised  dust on account of how old he really is.

All the congratulatory adverts in newspapers said they were celebrating his 69th birthday. Then the questions and jokes started. Many believed that he was much older, with some saying his daughter was 60 years old, so how could he be 69 years?

According to an online paper, as many tweets went viral about Tinubu’s age, attempts have been made to edit Bola Tinubu’s profile on Wikipedia. In fact the attempts  were about 84 times and mostly on the age,  that it  made its top editors to lock the page and make it impossible for public to edit.

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When people announce their birthdays on social media, it is : “I am plus one today.”  Even some birthday adverts don’t’ indicate the years. This is how human beings run away from years but want to live long.

However, if what they are alleging is true, then it is not as strange or as shocking as people make it to be. But because he is a public figure and not an ordinary politician, whatever he does is news and he is expected to live above human frailties.

People are known to falsify their age in order to extend their retirement age, gaining few years, but which would definitely come!  While some are caught, some slip by, only that the irony is that they cannot change their true age; they look and act their age.

One old woman once told me that even if you don’t have a child,  when you see a big child of your age mate, you would know that you are old. You can’t say: “He is not my child, so  I am not old.” Because you are old enough to be the father or mother.

Old age is not something people look forward  to.  Oh, they want to see their children grow up and see their grandchildren, but it is ageing that they lament about even though it is a progression from birth, childhood, adolescent, adulthood and the downhill towards old age.

Human beings find it hard to accept the inevitability of growing old  unless one dies young, that is why you see many  beauty products that promise you would be 18 years old when you are 50 years.

Even the so-called slimming teas, the picture on the packs are of very young girls,  may be not even up to 20 years, with flat stomach, and you are made to believe that you would look like them.

Perhaps the pressure to look younger than your age is more on women, because they grow up to believe from parents and the society that if they look old or are ‘old’, their husbands would look for younger ones to marry. Even if the husbands are older by more than 10 years.

When they give birth, they are made to tie cloth tightly around their stomach to make their stomach go back to its size, or else their husbands would think they old and no longer fashionable.

As for men, some that want to marry  a very young girl would dye their hair, wear T-shirts, jeans and would not say their true age. In one such  case,  a man in his 40s told a 19-year-old girl that he was 28 years old.

Anything is possible where you see a 60-year old man as a Youth Leader of  a political party, and see obviously aged men, claiming they are ‘youth’ and fighting for the youth, and you wonder: “Where are the youth?”

When people announce their birthdays on social media, it is : “I am plus one today.”  Even some birthday adverts don’t’ indicate the years. This is how human beings run away from years but want to live long.

Despite the beauty products, surgeries and the many other ways to ward off the inevitable, age may just be a number, as they say,  but a number nonetheless in the long run.

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