December 27, 2022
President Muhammadu Buhari has described the claim that he was dead and his supposed body double, ‘Jibril Aminu from Sudan,’ was the one occupying the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, as a joke that was not funny.
Buhari said this in a documentary showed on Friday night at a private dinner organised by his family and very close associates to celebrate his 80th birthday tagged “Celebrating a Patriot, a Leader, an Elder Statesman”.
According to him, some Nigerians have a way of creating humour to feast on something they do not understand.
He said that the rumour was the work of some mischief-makers to demonstrate their cheekiness.
Asked by the interviewer if he heard about the crazy rumour a while back that he was not Buhari, he replied smiling, “Yes! People said I am somebody from Sudan. I didn’t bother with the name. Nigerians have mischievous ways of explaining themselves.”
Asked how he finds such things funny, the President said: “No. Is not funny because those who made those statement, they just want to be cheeky. They want to distract attention from the main issue.
“Our main issue is to do the infrastructure, make people aware that they need to work hard to live well. They just want to enjoy life without earning the respect of their community and so on.”
Buhari also said he would not miss Aso Rock much because he is being harassed and that his efforts to make the country better is not good enough and appreciated by some people.
Asked what he would miss about the presidency when he leaves, Buhari said: “I wonder if I am going to miss much. I think I’m being harassed. I believe I’m trying my best, but still my best is not good enough. Because there are people around that think that they can intimidate me to get what they want instead of going through certain systems to earn whatever they want to earn. And they are some people who want to be clever by half.”
President Buhari revealed that he lost two of his children by his late wife to sickle cell anemia and that was why when he wanted to remarry, he insisted the second wife must be AA genotype, so that his children will not inherit the S from his AS genotype.
Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, while proposing a toast for the celebrant, described him as a forthright, good and kind man, as well as an exemplary leader.
He also noted that the president would make a very good entertainer in retirement because of his wackiest sense of humour.
The VP recalled how the president used jokes to calm him down and rescind his decision to submit a letter to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), to investigate allegations of corruption leveled against him.
His words: “Mr. President is a very humorous man and I think he would made a very good career in entertainment one way or the other when he retires.
“One day, I went to him because they were some allegations that were made against me. And I was so angry, so I went to him to show him the letter I had written to the EFCC to investigate. He looked at it and looked at me and because he calls me VP or Professor depending on his mood.
“This time he said, ‘VP, why do you worry yourself about all these people. These people just make all sorts of allegations, they make all sorts of stories up, even they are saying that I am about to get married again. And even some foolish people were waiting at the National Mosque, waiting for me to come and marry again.”
Osinbajo raised President Buhari for leading the nation with great courage, determination and commitment.
“I invite your excellences, ladies and gentlemen, to join me in proposing this toast to an exemplary leader, a forthright and honest man, a good and kind man, and a man who has led this country with great courage, determination and commitment for so many years.
“We pray that the Almighty God will preserve his life for very many years to come and that he will live all of these many years in good health, peace, joy and with the love of all of our country men.”
Also eulogizing the president, former Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, described Buhari as a man with impeachable character, a nationalist, a good listener, a man who loves his family and the country, Nigeria.
“He is a man whom all of us; even his adversaries will agree that this is a man with a flawless character, a man with a good heart, very compassionate, very committed and a good listener.
“Somebody that loves his family, Nigeria; he is a nationalist. President Muhammadu Buhari will always think about others. In his own little way and even in his humorous way, he will always not just think about himself. He is somebody that is not bothered about all these worldly things he is already a contented human being.”
Similarly, Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi described President Buhari as a detribalized person that means well for Nigeria.
“Let me say here that the president is a very highly detribalized personality. He is a man that loves this nation. Every time you meet him, he laments about the level of patriotism of our people. You will see a man that has passion for the people of this country, a man that loves every section of this country,” he said.
Umahi commended the president for what he called, “the miracle of the Second Niger bridge” saying that “Second Niger Bridge is now facilitating the movement of people and goods to the Eastern part of the country this Yuletide season.
“Second Niger Bridge is a miracle that those of us in the Southeast are still savouring and is only you, Mr President that could have done it. Because when you say something, you do it.”
Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, who also graced the occasion, thanked President Buhari for sacrificing a lot for the progress of Nigeria.
He said: “You have been at the helm of the affairs of this country at a critical time. We have seen a life of commitment, dedication, patriotism and honesty. Mr President, you have done well for your country. Our nation has seen the difference, the leadership that you demonstrate.”
He said that he belongs to the class of leaders who came and served their country with commitment, dedication patriotism and honesty.
He likened him to leaders like “Charles De Gaulle of France, Franklin Roosevelt of America, Winston Churchill of Great Britain and Buhari of Nigeria.”
The president’s eldest daughter, Fatima Buhari, who spoke on behalf of her siblings and the entire family, used the occasion to thank her father for investing in their future by giving them the needed training and care for their wellbeing.
“We are deeply honoured to be here celebrating the 80th birthday of our beloved father. I thank Almighty Allah for his mercy and grace, for giving our beloved father long life and good health.
“Baba is someone who money cannot buy. That is one thing we know and he taught us. He taught us humility, loyalty, integrity, dignity and honesty and he has a very good sense of humour. He gave us everything a parent will give his child; love, care, good education, shelter and many more,” she said.
Fatima also described her father as a man with penchant for accountability and a stickler for time.
She said: “He gave us everything, love, care, good education and all.
“He is blessed with 10 children, two of whom are dead, 22 grandchildren whom he gives funny names.
“We have learnt so much from his character like ‘no African time’, he is always prompt. He once left me behind and went on a journey we all planned to go because I was late. Of course, I cried, but I learnt my lesson.
“He taught us accountability. He is always saying bring me back my change. Baba, I’m sorry I am saying all these in public, but we are so proud of you, we love you to the moon and back.”
There were goodwill messages from traditional rulers, who all eulogized President Buhari as a man of integrity and one with huge sense of humour.
Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, said that the president has done a lot and the results would manifest much later after he must have left the scene.
He described him as the promoter of traditional institutions and for preventing the returned artifacts of Benin Kingdom from being re-looted, when he instructed that the artifacts must be handed to the traditional ruler directly.
Oba of Benin said: “President Buhari has done a lot for this country, for the youth and for the traditional institution, and the result will come out much later.
“He is a man of integrity and transparency. I have been interacting with him for several years.”
Emir of Kazaure described the president as Mr. Law and Order who once denied him the opportunity to be given a generator to make his job as the secretary of the then Petroleum Trust Fund easier in other to avoid submitting reports late because he was using candlelight to work, because as he was not entitled to one, according to the law.
He said: “If you are looking for Mr. Law and Order, you have found him in President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; (Ọjájá II) also spoke about President Buhari’s dedication and commitment to the growth of democracy.
Also present were governors of Katsina State, Aminu Masari and Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari; and members of the cabinet, family members, captains of industry, including Chairman of AriseTV and the Thisday Group, Nduka Obaigbena, among others.