Now, Senator Ajayi Boroffice rose to the rank of Professor before joining politics. But his dismissive fallacious response to the Buhari versus Jubril saga testifies to the fact that not every academic is an intellectual because for the latter, and not necessarily for the former, open-minded quest for truth is the overarching value, the summum bonum, that must guide human activity in all its ramifications.
To be clear, I have not asserted that Nnamdi Kanu’s claim that Presiden Buhari is dead and has been replaced by Jubril Aminu Al-Sudani is true or that he has provided conclusive evidence for it. Rather, I affirm that the information he has released thus far is provocative and telling enough to warrant closer scrutiny by both investigative journalists and government agencies responsible for dealing with such matters. Moreover, Nigerians themselves ought to champion the call for resolving this issue definitively through both official and unofficial channels. Unfortunately, they are among the most docile, ignorant, fickle-minded, unthinking, disunited and pachydermatous set of human beings on earth, a situation that has been exploited and used by successive mediocre administrations since 1970 to inflict pain, suffering and hardship upon them.
Those lampooning Kanu and making uninformed tendentious comments about the falsity of his allegations often assert that if indeed Buhari had been replaced by a look-alike impostor, why has none of the governors and ministers revealed the truth? More crucially, how come the impersonator interacts with foreign heads of government and dignitaries without any of them questioning his identity? Clearly, if truly Buhari was dead and has been replaced by someone else, it is such an explosive secret that would be known only by a very small select group or the so-called cabal, that is, by members of the innermost sanctum of the caliphate and their most trusted southern collaborators.
Hence, it would be naïve to expect that because one is a governor, minister or APC stalwart and so on the person would automatically be privy to such a top-level secret. Besides, those who might want to reveal the truth would rather keep silent to avoid being killed. Incidentally, by hiding the nature of President Buhari’s illness, Lai Mohammed and others, (including Buhari himself who in 2009 demanded the resignation or impeachment of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua because of his fragile health) opened the door wide for all sorts of speculation about the President’s health condition. If the presidency had been honest and transparent about the issue with Nigerians who, it must be noted, are the ones vicariously paying Buhari’s medical bills, perhaps the people would have had good reason to believe official denials of Kanu’s allegations.
Meanwhile, some time ago when Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun, governors of Imo and Ogun states respectively, threatened to disclose publicly what they knew which would have devastating effect on the APC, many Nigerians suspected that they might be referring to the alleged impersonation of President Buhari. The way I see it, the presidency mishandled the issue right from the beginning: most times Buhari’s handlers either lied or were economical with the truth concerning his health status.
On the issue of foreign leaders and dignitaries not weighing in on the matter, it is really laughable that so-called educated Nigerians expect, by a warped logic and ringing ignorance of how such issues are handled in international relations, that Donald Trump, Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Nana Akufo-Addo, Mahamadou Issoufou or any foreign dignitary interacting with Nigeria’s President would tell the world that “This Buhari is not really Buhari,” even if it is true. Every world leader engages with whosoever functions officially as the President or Prime Minister of a given country in accordance with well-established international protocols as long as there is no one else from the same country parading himself or herself as the legitimate leader backed by a significant mass of the citizens including, more crucially, a segment of the military. Consequently, even if Trump or any other world leader has any reason to think that President Buhari had been replaced by someone else, none of them would reveal it to the public or do anything about it for that matter. Naturally, and rightly too, it is left for the citizens of the country in question to mount pressure on the relevant authorities to investigate the matter and provide definitive closure to it. So, it is rather silly to dismiss Kanu’s claims on the ground that Buhari (or Jubril) still interacts with foreign leaders as if nothing is amiss.
As I said earlier, rather than the puerile disclaimer from the “presumed” President Buhari in Poland, he could easily have refuted Nnamdi Kanu by removing his cap so that his hairline could be seen, spoken Fulfulde uninterruptedly for about thirty minutes with a Fulani fluent in the language, and revealed the nature of his ailment so that medical experts can determine, citeris peribus, the probability of his full recovery. Failure to seize that clear opportunity to shut Kanu up for good (and, by implication, inflict irreparable damage on his credibility) is indicative that there is more to the current President than meets the unwary eye.
Consider this: when Barack Obama was contesting for President in the United States, Donald Trump claimed, falsely, that he was not a native-born American. Obama did not make spurious claims about his birth certificate being in the custody of one institution or another or hire a retinue of senior lawyers to sue Trump. He simply provided his birth certificate which served as a decisive falsification of Donald Trump’s allegation. In more serious countries, President Buhari’s conflicting claims about his school certificate are enough to disqualify him from contesting even the 2015 presidential elections. So, if he can be dodgy about something as mundane as a school certificate, why should reasonable Nigerians not be sceptical about his claim that “It is the real me, I assure you.”?
There are other incidents which suggest that it might be foolhardy to dismiss Nnamdi Kanu’s claims without serious investigation. One, Aisha Buhari, the President’s spouse, has repeatedly lamented especially since 2017 that her husband has not been in charge, that a very small group has hijacked her husband’s government. Two, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, a diehard Arewa irredentist, claimed that the current Buhari is different from the one he knew.
Three, “Buhari” sometimes gives the impression that he is unaware of certain basic realities that ought to be at his fingertips as President. For instance, critics insist that his uninspiring performance during the television interview by Kadaria Ahmed, and at other campaign events, stems from dementia. But could it not also be a pointer that, perhaps, Nnamdi Kanu might be on to something that invites closer inquiry?
All things considered, on this very disturbing impersonation issue, although Nnamdi Kanu has not established his claim conclusively – I expect he would at some point present DNA results from US experts – it is unwise to dismiss it offhandedly without looking at the matter closely and dispassionately. Kanu’s non-Igbo traducers often conflate their hatred of the man, of IPOB and Ndigbo, with the message he has been presenting through Radio Biafra. That attitude or approach is completely irrational.
Even if you hate Kanu or his ethnic group from now “till kingdom come,” that is logically irrelevant to the question of the truth or falsity of his claims about President Buhari. It appears that the critical thinking faculty of most Nigerians, including, disappointingly, those peddling high-sounding academic and professional titles, is either dormant or underdeveloped, with the result that sentimental vilification of the IPOB leader has become a substitute for rigorous scientific reasoning.
On the claim that Nigeria is a “damnable zoological republic,” Nnamdi Kanu is angrily making a valid point by using hyperbole. Without any scintilla of doubt, he is disappointed by the fraudulent manner Nigeria came into being and was designed for two levels of colonisation, the first one by British imperialism, the second by Fulani caliphate colonialism.
Like myself, he is thoroughly appalled by the dishonesty, docility, intellectual laziness, cowardice and indiscipline among the Nigerian populace. He is embittered by the geopolitical and economic domination of the south, particularly Igboland, by the Fulani, and he is willing to die for the actualisation of Biafra. The centre of gravity of Nnamdi Kanu’s grouse with Nigerians is that they are afraid to speak the truth and challenge those in power in order to bring about a better society.
Thus, he is rankled by the absence of revolutionary spirit amongst the people, which makes them endure continuously the hardships brought upon them by incompetent leaders. For him, Nigerians lack ideological clarity, and their outlook and attitude to the world are determined by myopic view of the future and craving for stomach infrastructure.
I completely agree with Nnamdi Kanu that eziokwu bu ndu (truth is life) and that a meaningful life can be achieved only through acting consistently in accordance with the truth and strength of one’s moral convictions. He is also right in describing and rejecting the 1999 constitution as a hoax designed by northern military dictators, supported by their factotums from the south, to give the Fulani undeserved advantage, and in demanding a radical reconstitution of the foundational architectonic on which Nigeria is built. But although his agitation for a separate sovereign nation, Biafra, is both morally and jurisprudentially sound, I believe that the quest for confederation might be a more realistic alternative for now given that, ultimately, the actualisation of Biafra may be decided on the battlefield. As it is, I believe that IPOB is not ready yet to confront the Nigerian military headlong.
Overall, if Nnamdi Kanu’s claim about an impostor running Nigeria in the last two years is false, he has done incalculable damage to his person and to whatever he stands for, and he would need to apologise to Nigerians, particularly Muhammadu Buhari. But if true, that would be the biggest deception in post-civil war Nigerian history, followed by the fraudulent 1999 constitution passed off as the creation of “we, the Nigerian people.” To cut a long story short, if both his claims that Buhari has died and was replaced by a foreigner and that Nigeria is a zoo are correct, it means that time is ripe either for the institution of confederation or peaceful dismemberment of the expired Lugardian amalgam called Nigeria. It would be an error of historic proportions to continue with business as usual under the odious circumstances described so eloquently by Nnamdi Kanu.