“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 rumors are not surprising. When I was away on medical vacation last year a lot of people hoped I was dead. I can assure you all that this is the real me!”- President Muhammadu Buhari, 2nd December, Krakow, Poland.
Some are convinced by these words from the man who says he is Buhari but there are still many who, like the biblical Thomas, have their doubts.
I can hardly blame them because a clone will not say that he is a clone and neither will a body-double say he is a body-double.
It is in the same way that a vampire will not say he is a vampire, a tyrant will not say he is a tryrant, a genocidal maniac will not say he is a genocidal maniac and a mass murderer will not say he is a mass murderer.
And neither will an ethnic supremacist or religious bigot ever admit to being an ethnic supremacist or a religious bigot. The blanket denial of ugly and hidden truths is the first law of the scoundrel and the natural habitat of the dictator.
Such is the way of those that have been intoxicated with power and that live by deceit, cunning and guile: they lose all sense of logic, reason and rationality and they flourish in a dark world of intrigue, subtefuge, deception, delusion and illusion.
Seven examples will suffice: Adolf Hitler claimed to be a democrat, Pol Pot claimed to be God-fearing, Atilla the Hun claimed to be an angel, Ghengis Khan claimed to be benevolent, Josef Stalin claimed to be a deliverer, Idi Amin claimed to be the messiah and Augusto Pinochet claimed to be a peacemaker yet history recalls that all seven were nothing but hideous bloodthirsty monsters and cold-blooded mass murderers.
An eighth example is that of the reigning Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Highness Mohammed Bin Salman, who, in the light of mounting evidence to the contrary, claims that he is a just and compassionate ruler who had nothing to do with the gruesome murder and dismemberment of the American-based Saudi journalist, Jamal Khasshogi in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey.
If there was ever a case of wilful self-delusion, unadulterated mendacity, byzantine intrigue and good old-fashioned double-speak, this is it. Sadly such deceitful, sociopathic and barbaric behaviour is not limited to those distant climes.
Many of those in Nigerian politics also betray this trait and are also afflicted with this sad and sorry disposition.
There is always a hidden truth, an angle, a grey area or an unseen dimension to everything that a Nigerian leader or politician says or does. It is in the light of this that I submit the following.
If President Muhammadu Buhari really wants us to believe that he is not Jubril Aminu Al Sudani I challenge him to have a two-hour inter-active no-holds barred live media chat on national television.
I challenge him to take off his hat and let us examine his head and hair.
I challenge him to let us measure his ears and inspect his earlobes.
I challenge him to conduct a one hour non-stop conversation in Fufude, the Fulani language, on national television.
I challenge him to explain how it is that he is now a good deal shorter in height than he was two years ago.
I challenge him to tell us how it is that two years ago he looked like his Minister of Information’s (Lai Mohammed’s) grandfather, but today he looks like the Minister’s grandson.
I challenge him to explain why he has not been going back to the United Kingdom for regular medical check-ups after his “miraculous” recovery from a strange and debilitating illness that ravaged and wrecked his body and that almost sent him to his grave.
I challenge him to call out Eric Stuart Joyce, the former Brirish MP, former Army officer and former MI6 agent, for declaring him dead sometime last year and for accusing the Nigerian intelligensia, authorities, media, intelligence agencies and ruling elite of being complicit in the conspiracy and the Nigerian people of being the most gullible and naive in the world.
I challenge him to explain why he did not appear with any of the key world leaders in any of the official pictures during his last trip to Paris.
I challenge him to explain why President Donald Trump described him as “lifeless” and ordered his staff never to bring him before him again.
I challenge him to explain why the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, claims that two faceless, nameless, shadowy, strange and all-powerful individuals, whose shoes other government officials “lick”, are running the affairs of our country and not him.
I challenge him to explain why he has refused to give one formal press interview to Nigerian journalists and on Nigerian soil for the last two years.
I challenge him to deny the fact that body-doubles were often used in the civilised world during the 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s for security reasons and they often represented Presidents, Prime Ministers and Heads of State at official functions and events.
Finally I challenge him to tell us whether it was a coincidence that Haibu Almu, the Nigerian Consul-General to the Sudan and NIA agent that allegedly discovered Jubril Aminu Al Sudani and proposed him as a credible and convincing body-double for the ailing Buhari in 2016, was suddenly knifed to death in Khartoum in May 2018 just a few weeks after his alleged role in the whole sordid “body-double” saga was made public.
I do not believe that Buhari is a clone but I do believe that the body-double allegation and rumour is worthy of our attention and consequently needs to be thoroughly investigated, explored and examined.
Though I cannot vouch for the veracity of this allegation and rumour one thing is clear: a significant number of Nigerians do not believe that the man in Aso Rock Villa is the Buhari that they know and, rightly or wrongly, their perception is that there is something fishy going on.
Given their disposition and suspicions, I submit that there is only one course of action that can settle this raging issue conclusively and bring closure to it: a DNA test organised and administered by a highly respected and certified foreign medical practitioner who must be jointly approved and appointed by the World Health Organisation, Medecins Sans Frontieres
and the Red Cross and who must conduct this crucial assignment under the direct supervision and auspices of the United Nations.
A jocular and dismissive statement from the distant shores of Poland saying “I am not a clone” will not make this matter go away. And neither will a predictable affirmation from the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Chris Ngige, that the President is the real Buhari provide the necessary evidence or assurance.
We demand to know the true identity of the person presiding over the affairs of our nation and, if it is indeed Jubril Aminu Al Sudani, we wish to know where our beloved President Muhammadu Buhari is and what they have done with him.
No matter how absurd these questions may appear to be to some, this is a democracy and we have a right to ask them.
Yet the truth is that nothing surprises me anymore in Nigeria and consequently I believe that anything, including the absurd, is possible.
If we can elect a man that cannot produce (and in my view never had) a WAEC certificate as President and one that can celebrate the fact that he was awarded an “attestation certificate” from WAEC in 2018 at the ripe old age of 80 (yes 80), then the assertion that we are being ruled by a body double is entirely possible and cannot be completely ruled out.
That is how degenerate and degraded our country has become over the last three years and six months.
The worst atrocity that the President, the Federal Government and the ruling APC party has inflicted on us as a people over the last 42 months is not the genocide that we have suffered under them, it is not the mass murders and it is not the ethnic cleansing.
It is not the fact that our country is now the most dangerous place for women to give birth to in the world, it is not the fact that we now have the highest illiteracy rate in the world and it is not the fact that more Nigerian children are out of school than any other country in the world.
It is not the fact that Nigeria now has the highest number of child brides and practising pedophiles in the world, it is not the fact that there are now more beggars in the streets of Nigeria than any other country in the world and it is not the fact that Nigeria is now the highest producer of HIV positive babies in the world.
It is not the fact that 40% of our people and 70% of our graduates are now unemployed, it is not the fact that 50% of Nigerians are now living in extreeme poverty, it is not the fact that our stock market has lost over 2 trillion naira in one year and it is not the fact that our country is now the poverty capital of the world.
It is not the fact that we are now the third most terrorised nation in the world and it is not the fact that we are now home to the first and fourth most deadly terrorist organisations in the world.
It is not the fact that over the last three years and six months the naira has depreciated by over 150% and it is not the fact that our government is attempting to bribe voters with public funds in the name of “trader-moni”.
It is not the humiliation, abuse of power and vengeful and vicious persecution that those of us that dared to resist them over the last three years and six months, that had the courage of our convictions and that remained loyal to our party have been subjected to.
It is not the storming of homes, arbitary arrest and unlawful detention of key opposition figures, it is not the harrasment of their family members or the freezing of their bank accounts and it is not the fact that we have sank lower than ever before in our entire history on Transparancy International’s international corruption index.
It is not the fact that Priti Patel, a British Member of Parliament and the United Kingdom’s former Minister of State for International Development, has warned foreign investors not to invest in Nigeria because the Government refuses to obey court orders and it is not the fact that the International Criminal Court at the Hague (ICC) has accused the Nigerian military of committing crimes against humanity.
It is not the fact that we are now more divided than ever before along religious, ethnic and regional lines and it is not the fact that the Federal Government has destroyed our economy and thrown 14 million people into penury and unemployment over the last three years.
It is not the fact that they have emboldened and strengthened Boko Haram, it is not the fact that law and order has broken down under their watch and it is not the fact that they have consistently nurtured, supported, assisted and protected the cruel and murderous herdsmen.
It is not the fact that they have lied to the Nigerian people and to the world that they have defeated Boko Haram, it is not the fact that the West African branch of ISIS now carries out terrorist operations in various parts of our country and it is not the fact that a new and utterly ruthless Malian militia now carries out terrorist operations in the north west.
It is not the fact that they have insulted CAN, marginalised Christians and humiliated the Church and it is not the fact that they are shielding and protecting military officers and Boko Haram members who committ atrocities.
It is not the fact that they have slaughtered thousands of Shiite Muslims and it is not the fact that they have demonised IPOB, labelled it a terrorist organisation, butchered thousands of its youths and sought to destroy it even though its members have never threatened violence, attacked or killed anyone, waged an armed conflict on the state or carried guns.
It is not the fact that 13.5 million Nigerians voted without a PVC in the 2015 presidential election and that 75% of them did so in the states where Buhari “won”.
It is not the fact that they have wilfully refused to sign the Electoral Act Amendement Bill, it is not the fact that they have blatently refused to heed the patriotic call for restructuring of the country and it is not the fact that they have looted, stolen and plundered more public funds than any other government in the history of our country.
It is not the fact that one of the greatest sons of Africa and one of the most respected and reverred world leaders and elderstatesmen that has ever lived, President Olusegun Obasanjo, recently and rightly said when commenting on the performance of the Buhari administration that “only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption, lack of focus, insecurity, nepotism, brazen impunity and denial of the obvious”.
It is not the fact that every single Nigerian former Head of State and President has given the Buhari administration a vote of no confidence and has refused to endorse them for a second term.
As frightful, scandalous and unacceptable as all these failings are, not a single one of them demeans, diminishes and damages us more than the possibility that, for the first time in our history and indeed the history of the entire world, a massive multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation such as ours is saddled with a President that many genuinly believe is not who he says he is and that some believe is a foreigner and a body-double!
Femi Fani-Kayode is a lawyer, a Nigerian politician, an evangelical christian, an essayist, a poet and he was the Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to President Olusegun Obasanjo from July 2003 until June 2006. He was the minister of culture and tourism of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from June 22nd to Nov 7th 2006 and as the minister of Aviation from Nov 7th 2006 to May 29th 2007. He runs a syndicated column on The Trent. He tweets from@realFFK.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.