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OPINION: Nnamdi Kanu and the Jubril obsession

By Pascal Oparada

There is nothing else that seems to occupy the mind of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, other than to prove that the man in Aso Rock is an impostor.

Since 2017, Kanu has been relentless in his quest to prove to Nigerians and indeed, the world, that President Muhammadu Buhari is not who he claims he is.

This claim was intensified when Buhari travelled to London for over 154 days on a medical trip.

Kanu Claimed that Buhari died because of his undisclosed ailments in London and arrangements were made to have him replaced by a certain Jubril Al-Sudani from Sudan.

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This particular claim and many others are what have pitched him and his goons against the Nigerian government, culminating in his arrest and arraignment and eventually self-exile.

Kanu is relentless. He has this obsession that seems to be driving him to the edge. His supporters have bought into the Jubril theory wholesale.

He is also convincing. He would juxtapose photographs of a ‘sick Buhari’ and and a ‘robust-looking Jubril’ to drive home his point.

During the preparation for the 2019 general election, a coalition of Journalists drawn from the best media houses in Nigeria gathered in Lagos under the aegis of CrossCheck Nigeria.

Their primary aim was to fight misinformation and fake news. Aided by First Draft Uk and International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), the team of journalists went to work and labored tirelessly to debunk fake news littering the Nigerian media space prior to the election.

One of the first tasks of CrossCheck Nigeria was to prove that the man in Aso Rock is who he said he is – Muhammadu Buhari

In a story titled: “Has President Muhammadu Buhari died and been replaced by an impostor?” The journalists went to work, using cutting edge technology to verify or debunk Nnamdi Kanu’s assertions.

In the viral story, CrossCheck Nigeria traced the origin of the claim on the internet and how it exploded.

According to the report, the earliest mention of the claim of an imposter was in a Twitter post by user @sam_ezeh on September 3rd, 2017. A video outlining the claim has was shared more than 5,000 times on Facebook and Twitter. In it, Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), told his followers that Buhari had died.

“The man you are looking at on the television is not Buhari… His name is Jubril, he’s from Sudan. After extensive surgery they brought him back,” the report said.

Influential Nigerians including a former aide to the then President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri and former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode both repeated the claim, giving energy to Kanu’s assertions.

CrossCheck Nigeria’s story doused the claim, especially as it was used by the then incumbent to score political points.

But that claim has been rearing its head once in a while.

When President Buhari addressed the country over the Coronavirus pandemic, Kanu went to work to say Buhari spoke to Nigerians from Sudan, ‘his home country.’

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It was a very laughable statement because Nigerians have become wiser and savvier with the use of technology.

But what is actually driving Kanu? What is his reason for being so obsessed with Buhari? What does he want to achieve?

Many have said he wants to tell Nigerians that they are fools and have been led for over five years by an impostor who is laid back and does not have his hands on the throttle of leadership in the country.