Buhari: Dead Or Alive?

When the fugitive Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu, first propounded the unsubstantiated theory of “Jubril from Sudan” few years ago following President Muhammadu Buhari’s storied ailment and constant medical tourism abroad not a few folks believed him. Mazi Kanu had insinuated that the Nigerian President had died abroad and was secretly buried with the cabal replacing him surgically with one ‘Jubril’ from Sudan or Chad! The late President Yar’Adua had suffered similar fate when prior to his ascension to the presidential throne during ‘Babacracy’ he was rumoured to have died in a hospital abroad. This prompted Baba Obasanjo, desperate to foist the ailing Yar’Adua on Nigerians, to put a call across to the then PDP candidate asking him: “Umoru are you dead?!”

Then (and even now) we never believed the ‘jubril from Sudan’ conundum for reason of lack of hard evidence. We have no substantial material evidence in our possession to believe that retired General Buhari had joined his ancestors in a foreign land and was hurriedly buried only for a double to be surgically ‘produced’ and presented to Nigerians as the real Buhari! If that were to be the case the bubble must have since burst.

While Kanu’s source of information to that effect remained doubtful we hold that it could have been disseminated as a way of sowing doubt or confusion in the minds of the people. As a pro-Biafran agitator Kanu could do anything to demoralise the government and cast doubts about the physical well-being of the Commander-in-Chief if only to score a political point.

While Buhari’s indisposition has taken some legendary twists and turns Nigerians are still not yet told what ails their President and why he is always undergoing medical tourisms and undertaking specialised treatments only the British doctors are capable of handling.

For some unconventional opposition elements, however, dismissing the ‘Buhari-is-dead’ theory as a groundless allegation bothering on hearsay, albeit fraught with national security implication, could be a foolish thing to do given what those with the ‘born-to-rule’ mentality are capable of. Yet we have resolved not to join the chorus.

Presidential infirmity is not something unusual or abnormal. And worse, Presidents had died in office — in Nigeria or elsewhere. And little or no attempt was ever made to hide the tragedy for too long. Presidents Pierre Nkurunziza and John Magufuli (of Burundi and Tanzania respectively) had died in office as a result of their Corona ignorance or dismissal. Yet the executive authorities in Bujumbura and Dodoma made their demise public.

Back home in Nigeria former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had died from Churg Straus syndrome and it was officially announced despite spirited efforts by a cabal led by his wife, Turai, to confiscate power. Goodluck Jonathan rose to power at the presidency when Turai and co failed in their desperate bid to hijack power. Doctrine of necessity or not a successor would have emerged, one way or another, post-Yar’Adua.

The late Maximum ruler from Kano, Gen. Sani Abacha, suddenly died inside Aso Rock and his timely passage was summarily announced despite the June 12 and Abiola saga. So if Buhari had died nothing would have prevented the presidency from issuing a statement to that effect. There would, of course, be politics behind the demise spearheaded by the cabal but in the end they would have no other option than revealing the truth.

All around the world leaders (especially dictators) have some doubles or look-alikes. Notorious despots even go to the extent of surgically fabricating one or two for their personal security reasons. The late Iraqi strongman, Saddam Hussein, had one or two doubles that strikingly bore physical resemblance to him. That could be the reason why when he was caught following the American military decimation of Iraq a DNA test had to be conducted on him to ascertain his true biological identity.

The North Korean strongman, Kim Jong-un is said to have a double. As a controversial reclusive dictator, Kim knows that the outside world cannot be trusted, so he keeps a look-alike in his payroll while defying superpowers and threatening the global peace with his constant missile tests across the Korean peninsula. With the prosperous neighbouring South Korea jittery over the possibility of resumption of military hostilities Kim the ‘rocketman’ not only looks fearless but audacious.

But there are doubles that are natural, just like you have identical twins. That is, people that resemble each other even though they have no biological or parental links. When Barack Obama was in power at the White House as the US President he had a man who could be described as his ‘double’. In all his physical attributes the guy was a look-alike. But Obama never asked any surgeon to make a ‘double’ for him. He never needed one, whether for security reason or whatever.

If ‘Jubril from Sudan’ who replaced the ‘late’ Buhari could speak Hausa language fluently and relate very well with his wife and children; if he could visit Daura and engage his former classmates then such Jubril must be a genius indeed. If the Obasanjos, Babangidas and Danjumas of this world had not found it expedient or urgent enough to tell us that the Buhari they knew before was not the one residing inside the Villa then we have no reason to think otherwise.

While Nigeria is drifting President Buhari is still engaged in globetrotting. He was recently in Paris, France, where he had attended an Africa/France summit on economic recovery amidst Corona pandemic and debt relief. While in the French glittering capital city Buhari’s London-based doctors were reportedly in town ready to check out the other thing wrong in his system. Attending to his medical needs has become a national embarrassment since the President has neither trained any doctor nor built any world-class hospital capable of handling his case.

Is President Buhari dead or alive? Well, we believe the lanky embattled President is alive but not well. However, he could be brain-dead as a result of the acute dementia he is suffering from! He may not be totally in control of his presidential environment and definitely he is not in charge of anything. A surrogate presidency had been put in place by the notorious Aso Rock cabal.

When the late Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, was alive he was said to be the de-facto leader of the cabal calling the shots on behalf of Buhari. But now that COVID-19 had taken him down and out other notable cabal members (Mamman Daura, Babagana Kingibe, Sabiu ‘Idiagbon’ Yusuf) are struggling to maintain a semblance of Buharism prevailing presidentially.

If President Buhari’s infirmity coupled with the ubiquitous security challenges across the federation engendered by leadership failure are not enough grounds for resignation or impeachment then we wonder what else would qualify for one.

SOC Okenwa



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