By Patience Danjuma
President Muhammadu Buhari has broken his silence on the allegation that he had died and one Jubril from Sudan had been impersonating him.
The rumor first surfaced when the president returned to the country after spending three months in the UK, treating an undisclosed ailment. Supporters of the president had dismissed it, attributing it to propaganda and it eventually died down. But the issue resurfaced in the buildup to the 2019 elections.
Speaking in Poland where he is attending a climate change summit, the president told some Nigerians living in the European nation that he would soon celebrate his 76th birthday.
“A lot of people hoped that I died during my ill health. Somebody just thought I am cloned, … it is real me I can assure you. This is the real me… I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong,” Personal Assistant to the President, Bashir Ahmad, quoted Buhari as saying.
This is the first time that Buhari would speak on the controversial issue.
The President used the occasion to reiterate that his government will continue to maintain focus and deliver on the three focal points of his campaign in 2015: security, economy and the fight against corruption.
‘‘Those in the North-east will tell you that in spite of the recent setbacks, there is a difference between the time we came and before.
‘‘We are not doing badly on security, economy and agriculture. We have virtually stopped the importation of food especially rice and we are saving a lot of money.
‘‘We now have food security and that has come with fiscal security because a lot of young educated people have not regretted going back to the farms and earning a respectable living.
‘‘I am afraid, this is not receiving good publicity… but a lot of people in the rural areas are enjoying the benefits of our interventions in agriculture,’’ he said.
President Buhari reaffirmed that no territory of Nigeria is under the control of Boko Haram terrorists, calling on Nigerians to remain vigilant and supportive of the federal government’s efforts to ensure the security of lives and property in the country.
While acknowledging that it has not been easy financing the security sector in the country, the president said the Nigerian Armed Forces were equal to the task.
The President noted that it was regrettable that herdsmen and farmers clashes in the country have been politicised, assuring that the Nigerian government will continue to prioritise security because that is what many investors consider first before investing in the country.
On the fight against corruption, he said all recovered stolen assets will be sold and the proceeds returned to the treasury for the benefit of Nigerians.
On women representation in his government, he said, ‘‘I have plans for all Nigerians. I am not a male chauvinist. If I’m a chauvinist, will I give the finance ministry to women?”
In his remarks, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Poland, Eric Adagogo Bell-Gam praised Nigerians living in the country for being worthy ambassadors.