Tinubu: See eight presidents, prime ministers who fell during public ceremony

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President Bola Tinubu’s Wednesday fall at Eagle Square, Abuja, has generated huge wattage. Mr Tinubu was at the centre of another unflattering public attention after the 72-year-old tripped, fell and hit his head on the floor of a parade vehicle.

The incident has sparked debate among Nigerians on social media about the well-being of Mr Tinubu, whose health was the centre of attention throughout his election campaign in the build-up to the February 2023 presidential poll. 

However, Mr Tinubu will be the first, and probably the last, leader of a country to experience such an embarrassing fall. History is replete with a collage of presidential falls by heavyweight leaders of the world.

As netizens continue chattering about Mr Tinubu’s fall, below are eight other presidents and prime ministers who fell during public events.

1. Joe Biden: Like Mr Tinubu, the 46th U.S. president’s physical capability is of major public concern. In June 2023, Mr Biden fell down on stage while handing out diplomas at a graduation ceremony for the US Air Force Academy. He was reported to have stumbled on a sandbag, which tripped him. The 81-year-old, who survived the incident without being hurt joking, told reporters that he “got sandbagged.”

2. Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, slipped and was so close to landing on the floor during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2019.  He was on the stage with UN Secretary General António Guterres and other world leaders when Mr Xi slowly started to fall before he was rescued by security personnel.

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3. Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader who loves to display his aura, saw himself on the floor during a 2019 hockey game he played in. He was doing a victory lap around Sochi’s Bolshoy Ice Dome and applauding fans when he slammed on the floor. 

4. Robert Mugabe, the late Zimbabwean Prime Minister, saw himself flying down a red carpet in 2015 upon arriving at the country’s capital city of Harare. Some journalists were forced to delete videos and photos of the incident to suppress the embarrassment.

5. Gerald Ford, the 38th U.S. president, was captured falling down by the media while disembarking from Air Force One during an overseas trip to Salzburg, Austria, in 1975. “Thank you for your gracious welcome to Salzburg, and I am sorry I tumbled in,” Mr Ford said.

6. Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the 26th Danish prime minister, landed on her knees and hands while walking down the stairs during a 2015 visit to France’s Elysee Palace. She let out a scream as she slipped.

7. Boris Johnson, the former United Kingdom prime minister, was a victim of an epic fall after he tripped and landed on the floor during a charity tug-of-war game at a World War I commemoration event with Britain’s armed forces in 2015.

8. Margaret Thatcher is another former United Kingdom prime minister on the list. In 1982, during a political meeting in Beijing about negotiating the future of the then-British colonial territory of Hong Kong, Ms Thatcher slipped and fell while leaving the Great Hall of the People.

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1 Comment

  1. All these APC Social Media Urchins always defensive at the slightest opportunity had it been it was GEJ or any other person, it would have been taken as something else 😕😔

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