By Suleiman Umaru
For years, there have been rumours making the rounds that President Muhammadu Buhari had died and was being impersonated by one Jubril from Sudan. The rumour became pronounced in 2018 when the Katsina born Nigerian President had just returned from the United Kingdom, UK, after spending some months away treating an undisclosed ailment.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President may have ignored the Conspiracy theory or to join issues with those he had described as ‘‘mischief makers and cheeky’’ to avoid distracting him from the main issues of governance of providing dividends of democracy to the people. ‘‘Our main issue is to provide basic infrastructural facilities, to make people aware that they need to work hard to live well’’.
Many believe that the Nigeria President may not have replied the so –called mischief makers or cheeky persons because of his preparation for his 2019, re-election bid. He had won 2019, reelection with a wide high margin over his closest rival Atiku Abubakar, a former Nigerian Vice President during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration and the theOpposition People’s Democratic Party PDP, Presidential Candidate.
But Nigerians in Diaspora could not take it. Recall that an interactive session with the Nigerian Community, in Krakow, Poland, in 2018, giving the rumours that he is not the real Buhari they used to know some years back but one Jubril from Sudan, -his supposed double –Pesident Buhari, he had told them: ‘it is real me, I assure you’‘. He had described the authors of the confusion about him then as ‘‘ignorant and irreligious’’.
He was said to have assured the Nigerian Community in Poland that they have no cause to worry as his government will continue to maintain focus and deliver on the three focal points of his electioneering Campaign in 2015: Security, economy and the fight against Corruption.
He was reported to have said that some people reached out to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to consider them to be his Deputy because they have assumed that ‘‘ I was dead’’. He was said to have told close Associates and loyalists that the Statement from the rumour mongers ‘‘embarrassed him a lot’’ but that was how far he could go. Between 2018 and now, the Nigerian President had not found it necessary to address Nigerians on the issue.
Barely six months to the expiration of his second term in office, the Presidency had produced a documentary ,’ ‘celebrating a Patriot, a Leader, an Elder statesman’’, which was aired on Friday, December 23, 2022, at night at a private dinner in Abuja , the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to celebrate his 80th birthday amidst opposition from Nigerians.
He may have taken advantage of the opportunity provided by Femi Adesina, a Special Assistant , on Media and Publicity and his Team to respond to the weighty rumour regarding to his being impersonated by one Jubril from Sudan to rule the most populous and major oil producing country in in the African Continent. His response to questions put to him in the documentary that he is one Jubril from Sudan clearly shows that he was waiting for a time like this to do so.
In apparent response to a question from the documentary producers led by GFemi Adesina, Special Assistant to the President on Median and Publicity whether he found the claims that he is one Jubril from Sudan, he simply said ‘‘No’’, stating ‘‘ it is not funny because those who made the Statement , just want to be cheeky’’.
The Nigerian President who had said that he won’t ‘‘miss much’’ leaving office for the next Nigerian President after the 2023, general elections on May 29, 2023, had said that he is being’ ‘‘harassed by some people who think they can intimidate the Authorities to get what they want instead of going through established systems to go and learn whatever they want’’.
He had said that the rumour mongers just want ‘‘to enjoy life while earning the respect of their community and so on’’. Nigerians believe that it was a wrong time for the Presidency to have aired the documentary because of the biting problem of fuel scarcity that has lingered for three weeks, leaving millions of Nigerian stranded and complicating their Yuletide plans, across the country.
Critics had expected the Presidency shift the date for airing the Buhari documentary against the backdrop of biting fuel scarcity in the country , but Adesina , a Presidential spokesperson , had appealed to Nigerians not to allow the lingering fuel crisis distract them from the insight of the film would accord them about the Buhari Administration.
He was said to have dismissed those who had called for a shift in the airing of the elder statesman documentary as ‘ ‘armchair critics who would never agree to any auspicious time to roll out any initiative that portrays Buhari in good light’’. Take for instance, the 283.750 KM, rail line, passing through the ancient town of Kano, Jigawa and Katsina, his home state, to Maradhdi, in Niger Republic
.In executing the $1.959 billion rail project connecting Nigerian government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with Mota-Engil Group, a Multinational Engineering and Construction firm. Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and immediate past minister of Transportation, was said to have signed the agreement on behalf of the Nigerian government while Antonio Gvoea,Managing Directorof Mota-Engil Group signed on behalf of the Construction firm in Abuja in 2021.
Are indications that the government
There are indications that the government had spent an additional $ 4.9 billion from the eternal loans approved by the National Assembly to up work on the project to ensure that it is completed before handing over to the next government.
Going by the speed at which the contracting firm are doing the work, the 25 Km, Nigeria-Niger rail network from the Nigria border town of Jibiya to Marahdi in Niger epublic , connecting Kano, Jigawa and Katsina, the three norther states may likely resume operation in May , 2023, before the end of Buharri’s second term in office.
He may have his reason. This is because the next government, if Aswaju Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, for the 2023, general elections lose the elections to Atiku, the Candidate of the PDP or Peter Obi, the Labour Party, LP, Presidential C Flag bearer, the Nigerian- Niger Republic connecting rail link project described as a waste of funds by the Opposition party, may be cancelled.
An angry Hassan Mathew- Kukah, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, who is not amused by the Buhari documentary had said that despite the lofty promises of President Buhari, he is leaving Nigerians far more ‘‘vulnerable than when he assumed office on May 29, 2015 and won his re-election bid in 2019. He noted that ‘ ‘the health of the Nigerian President has improved over the last seven years but wished that ‘‘millions of Nigerians enjoy a fraction of the President’s enhance health through access to better health services in the country’’. He had said that Nigeria has become a tale of two cities with wars between the rich and the poor under the Buhari Administration, noting that’‘ fixing the country the country and getting it back requires courage, honesty truth, humility , trust and firm commitment’’.
He may have shocked Nigerians in his Christmas message as he commended him for the efforts made in the area of ‘‘provision of infrastructure and in seeking to end malfeasance in the electoral processes’’. Notwithstanding the bold achievements by the Administration, he still ‘’prays for a free, fair and credible 2023, general elections in Nigeria’’.