Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, says he did not find the “Jubril of Sudan” joke about him funny.
The Nigerian leader said this in a documentary — “celebrating a patriot, a leader, an elder statesman” — that was screened on Friday night at a private dinner organised by his family and close associates to celebrate his 80th birthday.
In 2018, Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra started a rumour that Buhari had died and one Jubril from Sudan had been impersonating him as Nigeria’s president.
The rumour first surfaced when the president returned to the country after spending 103 days in the UK, treating an undisclosed ailment.
Buhari said in the documentary that the rumour was the work of of some mischief makers to demonstrate their cheekiness.
Asked if he found it funny, the president responded in the negative, adding that it was a ploy to cause distraction from the main issues.
He further said that some Nigerians have a way of creating humour to feast on when they do not understand something.
“Yes! People said I am somebody from Sudan. I didn’t bother with the name. Nigerians have mischievous ways of explaining themselves,” Buhari replied to the interviewer when asked about the incident.
“No. It’s 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.”
Commenting on the issue for the first time in 2018, Buhari said though some people hoped that he had died, he was “real” and “will still go strong”.