Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari denied claims that he had died and was replaced by a Sudanese impostor.
He spoke for the first time regarding the rumor that had been going around on social media for months. Buhari is running for re-election in February 2019 elections in Nigeria. He spent five months in the UK being treated for an undisclosed illness.
Some of his political opponents and many social media users circulated the theory that he had been replaced by a lookalike from Sudan called Jubril. There is absolutely no etvidence to back the claims, however videos suggesting the “clone-replacement” scenario have thousands of views on Facebook and YouTube.
“It’s the real me, I assure you. I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong,” Buhari told Nigerians in a town hall session in Poland on December 2nd. He was there while attending a conference and he was asked about Jubril.
“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,’’ he said. Claiming that those who said he was replaced by a clone were “ignorant and irreligious.”
The Nigerian President will turn 76 on December 17th. The presidency circulated Buhari’s comments in an emailed statement entitled “It’s Real Me, President Buhari Responds to Cloning Allegation.”
In 2017, the President was reportedly being treated in London for three months, after which he completely vanished for two months. During his absence, his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, ran the country.
In April 2018, Buhari had a joint press conference with Donald Trump in Washington. He read his speech for a “piece of paper, hardly raising his eyes and appearing frail in stark contrast with Trump’s energetic bombast.”
“He gave short, artless responses to obviously planted questions from pro-government Nigerian journalists. According to the Financial Times, after their meeting Trump commented that he never wanted to meet someone as “lifeless” as Buhari again.”
In August 2018, while in Abuja with French President Emmanuel Macron, Buhari looked far better, smiling as he gave “unscripted” remarks.
Buhari’s victory in the upcoming elections is not assured. Many Nigerians are disillusioned by a lack of progress made by Buhari’s administration. Promises to fight corruption and restore security have not been fully met. Nigeria has serious struggles with the Boko Haram group. In July the Guardian revealed that “thousands of people who had fled Boko Haram were being sent back to the ruins of their houses in unsafe garrison towns,” in an attempt to persuade voters that the group had been defeated.
Considering a recent report released by Bloomberg, which claims that Putin’s “chef” Yevgeny Prigozhin is doing his “magic,” to ensure Russian influence in the region, it will not be a surpruse that some mainstream media will come at some moment with a speculations that the “mysterious” situation with Buhari is a part of GRU special operation.