Focus on Africa: Buhari's game of clones
Is Nigeria's current president Mohammadu Buhari or a clone? An extraordinary story has been trending on social media in Nigeria that the man now in charge of the country is not Buhari but a lookalike from Sudan called Djubril.
The man currently living in the presidential Aso Rock Villa in Abuja is in Poland for the Katowice 24 Climate Summit. He told a group of Nigerians who came to welcome him that he was the real Buhari and not a Sudanese impostor.
The remarks, greeted by a roar of laughter from his audience, broke the silence over the rumour which had been circulating on Facebook for months that the real Buhari, who spent five months in Britain undergoing treatment for an undisclosed illness, was no longer alive.
"I'm the real Buhari"
"I assure you, it’s the real me", Buhari pleaded with his guests, while taunting the ignorant and irreligious people spreading the rumours. He asserted that he is strong and preparing to celebrate his 76th birthday.
Joy Idam Aja is a popular blogger with the Abuja-based Weekenders’ magazine. She told RFI that the Buhari cloning saga was trending everywhere even in secondary schools, churches and markets around the country.
Joy says that skeptics were pointing to stark differences in the physique and speech patterns of the two Buharis while others accused a cabale of kingmakers for cloning the new one on the passing of the original president.
According to the Nigerian blogger, some have not ruled out the theory that the cloning was carried out in connivance with the British, which, in their view, is why Prince Charles and his wife visited Nigeria in November.
In the video viewed thousands of times on YouTube and Facebook, President Buhari also tried to minimize the tough times he is facing to defend his much criticized record on security and economic fronts.
"If I am getting harassed by anyone, he underlined, it is my grandchildren, who are getting too many". Not many Nigerians are likely to believe him and certainly not the record 78 candidates, who will challenge his bid for a second term in the 2019 elections.
Buhari is certain to be attacked from all sides for failing to end the Boko Haram insurgency which has claimed 27,000 lives since 2009; his poor job creation record with an estimated 10 million young people unemployed and for worsening graft in Nigeria. Under Buhari's watch, Nigeria fell 12 places in Transparency International’s perceptions of corruption index.
Marc Amarere is the executive editor in charge of news operations at the Nigerian national broadcaster AITV in Abuja. He claims that while the cloning allegations first made by Biafran separatist leader Kanu Nnamdi Kanu cannot be substantiated, his bustling enthusiasm about his upcoming 76th brithday will be transformed by his political rivals into electoral weapons against him.
Has Satan relocated to Lagos?
Also in Nigeria, social media is buzzing about four conmen who allegedly exhumed the body of their landlord before selling his property.
Punch reports that the suspects who included two of the man’s relatives and longtime tenants kidnapped the crippled son of the deceased thinking he was the only surviving child before committing the abominable act.
The newspaper reports that the fourmen - aged between 45 and 60 - appeared before a Yaba chief magistrates’ court in Lagos on Monday where they face charges of conspiracy, kidnapping, breach of peace, forgery and false assumption of authority.
A resident of the sprawling Nigerian economic capital with a population of 21 million inhabitants and a housing deficit of more than 17 million units reacted to the story, calling it a sign of the times while another lamented that Satan had relocated to Lagos.