Over three months ago my neighbor stopped me as I was about entering my house to chitchat about Nigeria. Being a journalist, people who know you almost always want to tell you something or want you to tell them something. They want to tell you their opinion or want to hear yours. This chatty neighbor was the first person to tell me President Buhari is not really Buhari but some other guy she called Jubril, and he is from Sudan, she confided.
As outrageous as this may sound a lot of people believe it. I really thought it was one of those stories that would go away with time but since then the story has spread all over. Not long ago, in fact few minutes ago, I heard Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB leader, was saying the same thing too just few days back.
When President Buhari was seriously ill in London, half the country never wanted him to come back and they didn’t just show it, they expressed this everywhere and anywhere, even on social media. For the period he left the country for medication, the perception has been that everything in country improved. The killings by Fulani herdsmen, which was one of the major problems then usually stops when he is not in the country, people felt more comfortable and homely. Soon as he arrives, the Fulani herdsmen strike, the polity is heated by argument between those who support him and those who are not his supporters, all these divisive issues comes up in an already divided nation after a very bitter election in 2015.
Since becoming president after the election that he won, President Buhari barely cared to bring all the nation together. In fact his utterances, appointments, body language and action just keep plunging the country apart. Some people started calling for restructuring of the nation as they feel the country isn’t working. Vice President Osinbajo was more accepted all over the country.
When President came back to the country after his first medical treatment after many people thought he wouldn’t survive, he didn’t last long but had to go back. A lot of Nigeria saw his emaciated body, the man could barely walk, before he left for London, he came shortly, a little transformed. This transformation from an old sickly man to a healthy man was too much for some people who just see it as impossible. So someplace somewhere someone started the story that this certainly isn’t President Buhari, it couldn’t be, it is his double, he looks shorter, has bigger ears, he is fairer, how they gave the supposedly new guy Jubril and how they know he is from Sudan is what I can’t fathom.
As fantastic as this story seems, some people actually are buying into it, and these are not just illiterates, very educated people. I don’t think President Buhari and his people are sophisticated enough to pull that one. No, I don’t think even the CIA and KGB can easily pull this one. This is not espionage books or novel. In reality these things are not like that.
I am sorry to disappoint you, I don’t think there is any Jubril from Sudan. There is only one Buhari and he is the president