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Body double: Buhari is making it difficult to convince Nigerians that he's not a clone president

    By Vincent Akanmode To make it clear from the outset, I am not an admirer of Nnamdi Kanu, the self-styled leader of the Independen...



By Vincent Akanmode

To make it clear from the outset, I am not an admirer of Nnamdi Kanu, the self-styled leader of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB). Not only because he is leading an outlawed group but also because of the nebulous nature of his mission. His idea of what would constitute his dream Biafra nation is not only outlandish but downright incomprehensible, seeing how more and more individuals and groups that matter in the South East, the supposed stronghold of his dream country, have distanced themselves from him and his movement, leaving one to wonder how he managed to win over some supposedly sane minds now working as his foot soldiers.


One of the products of his propaganda machine is his claim that the General Muhammadu Buhari Nigerians voted as President is long dead and buried. The man who currently occupies the Buhari’s seat at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja, he vows, is none other than a certain Jibrin from Sudan cloned to look like Buhari and continue his reign as the president of Nigeria.


Of course, not a few Nigerians, including yours sincerely, have waved away the idea not just as a laughable outcome of the imaginations of an infantile mind, but also as an assault on the intellect of right thinking Nigerians. How on earth would a foreigner be cloned into Buhari and made to occupy the president’s seat in Aso Rock without anyone interested in the survival of Nigeria getting a hint of the hocus pocus? Kanu’s case is worsened by his failure, in spite of the promptings of well-meaning Nigerians, to provide any clue about Jibrin other than him being a Sudanese. What is Jibrin’s full name? Which part of Sudan does he come from and where is his family compound?


Still, the glaring inactions of President Buhari in critical areas of our national life have helped to lend some credence to Kanu’s postulations, particularly in the circle of narrow-minded Nigerians who are vulnerable to the manipulative tendencies of Kanu and his co-travellers. The serial failure of the President to speak or act when he should makes it difficult for patriotic Nigerians to dismiss the IPOB leader’s claim as an unwarranted distraction.


For instance, the immediate step concerned Nigerians expected the President to take when the news broke of the abduction of more than 500 pupils of a secondary school in Kankara, Katsina State penultimate Friday was that he would rush to the school to impress it on the worried parents of the abductees that the government was concerned about the ugly fate that befell them and their hapless children. A visit to the school to assess the situation first hand would no doubt boost the morale of the authorities of the school and lift the spirit of the distraught parents of the pupils.


It was the least action expected of the President because he was right there in Katsina, his home state, holidaying at the time the incident occurred. That, however, was not to be. While everyone looked forward to seeing him at Kankara consoling teachers, parents and other stakeholders and giving them his word that government would secure their children and bring them back, the pictures that surfaced on the social and traditional media were those of President Buhari inspecting his cattle in another part of the state! Of course, the reports yesterday that the security agencies had secured about 344 of the pupils from their abductors was no doubt a cheery piece of news, but it detracts from the monumental failure of the President in his role as the father of the nation.


Yet, those who are familiar with the antecedents of President Buhari (to be distinguished from General Buhari who held sway as the head of state between 1983 and 1985) would not be shocked by his seemingly lukewarm attitude to the shocking incident at Kankara. After all, he had previously admitted in the public that he is slow to act. About two weeks before the Kankara abductions, members of the deadly Boko Haram sect had stormed a rice field in Zabarmari community in Jere Local Government Area, Borno State, killing scores of farmers in the most gruesome manner, but all the entreaties made to the President for a solidarity visit to the state fell on deaf ears.


Mischief makers have latched on the refusal of the President to visit Zabarmari as an indication that Kanu might have a point in his claim that the Buhari double that currently sits in the Presidential Villa cannot speak Fulfude, the real Buhari’s dialect. “There is no how he would go to a setting like that without speaking Fulani,” one gleefully told the writer and refused to agree when the writer told her that Buhari might not be under obligation to speak Fulfude to farmers in Borno because they are mostly Kanuri. The Zabarmari incident had provoked the members of the House of Representatives to extend an invitation to President Buhari to explain the security situation in the country. But the President, encouraged by his Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, spurned the invitation.


For many days after the EndSARS protests and the resultant violence that shook the nation to its foundation in October with the burning, looting and killing that attended it, Nigerians waited in bated anxiety for the President’s speech, but to the shock of everyone, none was forthcoming. In fact, they had given up hope when the President eventually made up his mind to deliver one which turned out to be as dry and insipid as a bite of unripe plantain. Shehu Sani, a former senator from Kaduna State, summed up the disappointment in a jocular post on his Facebook wall, saying: “You wanted a speech, now you have one and you are speechless.”


Increasingly as one would want to disbelieve Kanu’s postulation that the man occupying the seat of power in Aso Rock is not Buhari but his clone, the President himself has failed to help matters with his taciturn disposition in moments where his voice should be loud and clear.


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