Buhari: People wished me dead, lobbied Osinbajo

 …says ‘I’m real, not cloned’

President: I’ll celebrate 76
VP: Nigeria’ll soon become nation of abundance
Gowon: God answers genuine prayers
For the first time in several months after his existence and true identity have been questioned, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared that he is real and not cloned as being speculated. Various reports, particularly in the social media, had alleged that President Buhari was dead and is being represented in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, by one ‘Jubril’ from Sudan. Speaking in Krakow, Poland, during an interaction with Nigerians at a town hall meeting, President Buhari said many people had hoped that he was dead.

The president also declared that some people lobbied Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to be his deputy, presuming that he (Buhari) was dead. Buhari, however, did not disclose the identities of those plotting to be vice president to Osinbajo in the event his rumoured death was true. A Nigerian had sought to know from the president himself if he was the real person elected in 2015 to lead the country or if the rumour about his death was true. Responding to the enquiry, Buhari stressed that: “It’s real me, I assure you.”

The president, according to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, promised to celebrate his 76th birthday on December 17 with strength and agility. He said: “I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong.” President Buhari described the authors of the confusion about him as “ignorant and irreligious.” According to him, “A lot of people hoped that I died during my ill health. Some even reached out to the vice president to consider them to be his deputy because they assumed I was dead.

“That embarrassed him a lot and, of course, he visited me when I was in London convalescing… It’s real me; I assure you. “If I am getting harassed by anyone, it is my grandchildren, who are getting too many.” Reports indicate that many Nigerians, including the elite, had believed the rumour of the president’s alleged imposture in Aso Rock. Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, last week, created a scene in Abuja when he joked about the ‘Jubril’ rumour. Atiku, who was invited to the microphone to address members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) when an unidentified member shouted: “Jubril must go!”

seemed to have been caught unaware, hesitated before responding: “Which Jubril? Is it the one in Sudan or the one in Abuja?” The former vice president’s comment was followed by spontaneous laughter from NEC members and other persons present at the meeting. Yesterday’s clarification by President Buhari himself may have put to rest the rumour that has since filled the political space ahead of the 2019 general elections. President Buhari, at the meeting in Poland, also reiterated that his government will continue to remain focused and deliver on the three focal points of his campaign in 2015: security, economy and the fight against corruption.

“Those in the North-East will tell you that in spite of the recent setbacks, there is a difference between the time we came and before. “We are not doing badly on security, economy and agriculture. We have virtually stopped the importation of food, especially rice and we are saving a lot of money. “We now have food security and that has come with fiscal security, because a lot of young educated people have not regretted going back to the farms and earning a respectable living. “I am afraid, this is not receiving good publicity, but a lot of people in the rural areas are enjoying the benefits of our interventions in agriculture,” he said.

President Buhari, who is in Poland to attend the UN Climate Change Conference, COP24, reaffirmed that no territory of Nigeria is under the control of Boko Haram terrorists, calling on Nigerians to remain vigilant and supportive of Federal Government’s efforts to ensure security of lives and property in the country. While acknowledging that it has not been easy financing the security sector in the country, the president said the Nigerian Armed Forces were equal to the task. The president noted that it was regrettable that herdsmen and farmers’ clashes in the country have been politicised, assuring that the Nigerian government will continue to prioritise security because that is what many investors consider first before investing in the country.

On the fight against corruption, he said all recovered stolen assets will be sold and the proceeds returned to the treasury for the benefit of Nigerians. On women representation in his government, the president told the gathering: “I have plans for all Nigerians.

I am not a male chauvinist. If I’m a chauvinist, will I give the finance ministry to women?” In his remarks, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Poland, Mr. Eric Adagogo Bell-Gam, praised Nigerians living in the country for being worthy ambassadors of the country. Among those who met President Buhari were Mr. Larry Ugwu, an artist and curator, who has lived in Poland for 40 years and has contributed immensely to promoting Nigerian cultural heritage in the Polish society; Anthony Egwuatu, a Gynaecologist, who has lived in the country for 30 years and Mr. Olomofe Larry, a human rights activist, who has fought for justice for fellow Nigerians in the host country, among several others. The event was put together and anchored by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora.

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