Olusegun Obasanjo has said he does not subscribe to the opinion of a cross-section of Nigerians that a purported impostor described as ‘Jibrin from Sudan’ was masquerading as President Muhammadu Buhari.
The former Nigerian leader, who has been a fierce critic of the Buhari administration, however, believes there is something amiss about his distant successor.
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Leader of the proscribed secessionist group (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has repeatedly fuelled conspiracy theories about President Buhari’s ‘body double’ from Sudan, on his propaganda broadcast channel, Radio Biafra.
Mr. Kanu argues that ‘Jibrin’ was transformed to resemble and replace President Buhari, whom he claimed had died in a London hospital.
The conspiracy theory resonated amongst thousands of followers of the Biafra group, who reckoned that the president now looked younger and healthier in his public appearances after his protracted stay in a London medical facility.
In a virtual interview with prominent academic Toyin Falola on Sunday, Mr. Obasanjo stated: “I’m not subscribing to the people who say we have a new Buhari from Sudan or something, or that nonsense.”
He, however, averred that Mr. Buhari’s widely perceived lacklustre handling of critical national issues was particularly disturbing, as his estimation of the president’s abilities (having worked with him during the military era) was fairly impressive.
“I thought I knew President Buhari because he worked with me. And I use to ask; is it that I had not read him well or read him adequately? Or is it that he has changed from the Buhari that I used to know?” the former Nigerian leader said while fielding questions on the turn of events under the Buhari regime.
Mr. Obasanjo noted that although he was aware of the president’s deficiency in the knowledge of economics and foreign affairs, he had thought that Mr. Buhari’s heroics in the military could be useful in tackling corruption, insecurity and other strains that have left the country’s economy hamstrung.
“I did not know the nepotic tendencies of President Buhari. Maybe because he was not exposed to that sort of situation when he worked with me,” Mr. Obasanjo added while urging the president to wake up to his responsibilities if he had any intention to leave a legacy for posterity.