Since the arrival of President Mohammed Buhari from his UK medical trip several months ago, there has been a rumor on the social media about his death, and subsequent replacement with a clone from Sudan by certain people in his government. With the 2019 election fast approaching, some of his political opponents have rekindled the rumor in an effort to score cheap political points against the President. The theory has it that President Buhari had died in the UK during his treatment and had been replaced by a lookalike from Sudan named Jubril.On Sunday, the President of Nigeria had however refuted insinuations that he passed away in a UK hospital and had been switched with an impostor from Sudan. This was the first time he would be talking about this rumor that has been making the rounds several months.
President Buhari, who is seeking re-election into office in February 2019, was in the UK for five months last year undergoing treatment for an ailment that has not been made public. Following his prolonged stay abroad before returning to the country to continue his presidential duties, it was widely reported online and further spread by some of his political opponents that he had died during the treatment.
So far, there has not been any concrete evidence to support the claims. However, a few videos claiming this is true on the Internet have been shared and viewed by thousands of people on Facebook and YouTube.
“It’s really me, I assure you. I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong,” the president said in a town hall session organized in Poland. Buhari made the statement while attending to questions about Jubril at a U.N. conference in Poland on Sunday.
“A lot of people hoped that I died during my ill health,” he continued, expressing further that the mischievous people who spread the rumor about him being cloned were “ignorant and irreligious”.
The Nigerian presidency has since circulated Buhari’s response in a report that was titled “It’s Real Me, President Buhari Responds to Cloning Allegation”.
Many keen observers of developments in Africa’s most populous nation have praised the president for speaking up, at last, saying that his continued silence on the subject matter hasn’t done the nation any good. Rather, his silence has only been heating up the polity unnecessarily.
President Muhammed Buhari has been in the office since May 29, 2015, after defeating an incumbent, former President Goodluck Jonathan in a keenly contested election. He won the election in 2015 under the umbrella of the All Progressive Congress (APC) after three previous failed attempts in 2003, 2007 and 2011.