Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday dispelled rumours that he died and his country was ruled by a clone from Sudan.
"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 rumours are not surprising — when I was away on medical vacation last year a lot of people hoped I was dead," he told the Nigerian community in Poland, where he was attending a UN climate change summit.
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 rumours are not surprising — when I was away on medical vacation last year a lot of people hoped I was dead. pic.twitter.com/SHTngq6LJU— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) 2 декабря 2018 г.
"I can assure you all that this is the real me. Later this month, I will celebrate my 76th birthday. And I'm still going strong!"
Buhari, who will stand as the ruling party's candidate in next year's election, added that the speculation stemming from his ill health had spun out of control: some people had contacted his vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, to consider them for the second-highest office in the country because they assumed that Buhari was dead.
Some Nigerians viewed the president's statement as dubious, claiming that a true leader would quash the rumours right before his compatriots in Nigeria — something a clone apparently would not do.
And u decided to respond to the question in Poland? More reason why people actually believe u re cloned, cos only a cloned Leader remains afraid of speaking directly to his followers, but not to worry a few more months and both Jubril/Buhari would b NON ESSENTIALS! #LIFELESS— Akah Peter (@akahpeterz) 2 декабря 2018 г.
I have never seen Buhari respond to questions from Nigerians in Nigeria before? He should do this. May be I was the media when he did that— Abraham Akomolafe (@akomolafetobi) 2 декабря 2018 г.
The fundamental problem with you is that you respond to every critical issue while in foreign land. You keep taking Nigerians at home for granted. #ByeByeBuhari— Deji Ogunsakin (@djogunsakin) 2 декабря 2018 г.
Rumours about his demise spread across Nigeria last year, when the president spent five months on medical leave in London to treat an undisclosed illness. Opposition figures seemingly had a finger in the pie: for instance, ex-militant leader Asari Dokubo claimed that the man who delivered the presidential Independence Day address last October was in fact Buhari's clone incubated in London.
Nnamdi Kanu, an activist who leads the separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra, alleged that the president was not cloned but that he passed away and was replaced by a Sudanese lookalike called Jubril Aminu al-Sudani.