Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari has finally broken his silence about a rumor that has circulated on social media for months.
Last year, Buhari spent five months in the UK to receive treatment for an undisclosed illness. During his absence some of his political opponents and others started to circulate a theory that the president – who is running for re-election in February – had been replaced by a lookalike from Sudan called Jubril.
Even though there was literally no evidence to substantiate these wild claims, videos about the conspiracy theory have been viewed thousands of times on YouTube and Facebook.
According to The Guardian, Sunday, Buhari finally addressed the allegations during a town hall session in Poland where he was asked about Jubril during a conference.
“It’s the real me, I assure you. I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong,” Buhari told the Nigerians in attendance.
“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.
Here we have a supposed old man between 76-85 yrs that suddenly switched his writing hand from left to right.
Could the @AsoRock handlers of Jubril clarify this mix-up?
— Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (@MaziNnamdiKanu) November 25, 2018
Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of secessionist group Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), is said to have been one of the public figures fueling the rumors.
In one instance, Kanu shared two images of Buhari, but one picture had been reversed, to allege that the Nigerian leader, who is right-handed, was using his left hand, thus “proving” that he had been replaced by a body double.
Buhari added in his response that people who instigated the gossip, such as Kanu, were “ignorant and irreligious”.
On a lighter note the Nigerian leader also shared that he was looking forward to celebrating his birthday on Dec. 17 stating, ‘‘If I am getting harassed by anyone, it is my grandchildren, who are getting too many.’’
A clip of Buhari answering the question, while his colleagues laugh, has been posted to the president’s Twitter account, to his 1.76 million followers.
One of the questions that came up today in my meeting with Nigerians in Poland was on the issue of whether I‘ve been cloned or not. The ignorant rumours are not surprising — when I was away on medical vacation last year a lot of people hoped I was dead. pic.twitter.com/SHTngq6LJU
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) December 2, 2018