Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has described the rumour about President Muhammadu Buhari being dead and replaced by a certain Jibril from Sudan as ridiculous, citing the rumour as one of the ways in which social media is being abused.
The rumoured death of the president, which has been found to be false and without any evidence, was forcefully pushed by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
But speaking at a youth mentorship session in Ogun on Sunday, Obasanjo recalled how someone once approached him, asking if he believes the rumour.
He said: “Somebody came to me, in very high hope, and said, ‘this talk about Buhari not being Buhari…’. I said, ‘do you believe this?’ He said, ‘well, it is in the social media’. I said ‘Buhari died and we will not know that Buhari has died? And they will bring us somebody from Sudan to be Buhari?’
“It’s ridiculous to the extreme. But you have it in social media and you see people believing it. Social media have done good, but it can be abused and misused.”
The rumour is filled in part by Buhari’s taciturn approach to governance and the presidency’s refusal to disclose the President’s health status whenever he goes on a medical trip. The President had to personally dismiss it in 2018 while speaking at a town hall session with Nigerians in Poland.
He had said at the time, “It’s the real me, I assure you. I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong. 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.”