By Chris Zumani Zimba
Some opposition leaders in Nigeria want the public and voters to believe that the real Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari already died either last year or this one when he was hospitalized for 3 months abroad while the current one is fake, a lookalike born from a ‘foreign body’ replacement called “Jubril” from Sudan. The development has made President Buhari to answer questions of physical proof and show evidence that he is original and real from Nigerians in Europe where he is attending a climate change conference.
The growing political development about Buhari and “Jubril” in Nigeria is typical of African politics of hate, malice, envy, brutality, hostility and enemity as well as witchcraft where many political rivals wish and pray for the death of the office bearer so that they take over. The rumours of “Jubril” presenting himself as Buhari had been widely shared online with more than 500, 000 views with some lead opposition political leaders presenting some digital evidence that Nigeria is being governed by a either a dead or fake president.
Mr Buhari, who is in Poland attending a UN climate change conference, was asked about the rumours during a meeting on Sunday with Nigerians in the country. In response, Mr Buhari, who will celebrate his 76th birthday on 17 December, said those spreading the rumours about his health and identity were ”ignorant and irreligious.” ”A lot of people hoped that I died during my ill health. Some even reached out to the vice-president to consider them to be his deputy because they assumed I was dead… “That embarrassed him a lot and of course, he visited me when I was in London convalescing… It’s [the] real me; I assure you,” Mr Buhari added.
A former aide to Mr Buhari’s predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, is among the high profile individuals who have promoted the rumours that the real Bbuhari died while the current one is fake or lookalike.
Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of secessionist group Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), has also been fuelling the rumours, AFP found. In one instance, Mr Kanu shared two images of Mr Buhari, one reversed, to allege that the Nigerian leader, who is right-handed, was using his left hand – “proving” that that meant he was a body double.
A scene from the 1997 film “Face/Off” has also been used by those promoting the rumours to show how a dead Buhari’s face could have been transplanted to a body double.
According to an AFP Fact Check investigation the rumours began late last year and have appeared on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Posts promoting the rumours have been viewed more than 500,000 times.
The 75-year-old Mr Buhari, who is seeking re-election in February next year, has been beset by ill health since taking office in 2015. He was on “medical leave” in the UK for three months in 2017.
Chris Zumani Zimba is a prolific Political Scientist, Analyst, Author, Blogger, PhD Scholar, Researcher and Consultant. Besides being the CEO and Managing Consultant at Chrizzima Democracy University (CDU) in Zambia, he analyses African politics weekly on Voice of the Cape Town, South Africa every Wednesday at 16:45hours CAT. So far, he has authored more than 10 political and academic books as well as published over 100 well researched articles.