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Kanu and Rabbi Harry Rozenberg in Tel Aviv

It’s time for Nnamdi Kanu to “switch” his story

19 November 2018

Nnamdi Kanu, the fugitive leader of separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), was back on his regular Saturday evening slot on Radio Biafra.  He had earlier billed his broadcast on Twitter as “The Switch: How the ruling cabal transformed Jubril Aminu into the new Buhari”.

Kanu’s theory is essentially that President Muhammadu Buhari died last year in London from illness and the “cabal”, masterminded by the president’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari, didn’t want to relinquish power to vice president Yemi Osinbajo.  So they “imported a Sudanese to preside over the lives of 180m people”.   According to this outlandish theory, Buhari was buried in an unmarked grave in Saudi Arabia, while the cabal brought in a shorter and younger man, “Jubril Aminu al-Sudani”, an “impostor” to replace the president.

If the name “Jubril Aminu” sounds familiar to some Nigerians it is because there is a Jibril Aminu, an academic who was minister for education and then petroleum between 1989 and 1992.  He was also the senator for Adamawa Central from 2003 to 2011.  Could he have been the inspiration behind Kanu’s choice of name for the “Sudanese impostor”?  The IPOB leader claims instead that it was God aka “Chukwu Okike Abiama” that revealed to him that the person masquerading as Buhari was “Jubri Aminu” from Sudan.

Kanu, who claims that “the restoration” of Biafra is a divine mission, used his close to three-hour broadcast to “uncover the truth”.  He started by claiming that Buhari/Jubril didn’t attend last week’s Armistice Centenary event in Paris that had many world leaders in attendance. “Jubril did not attend the actual summit because all security agents know he is not Buhari”.

Kanu seemed to be confused or may have been trying to blur the issues.  There were two events in Paris last week.  The first Paris Peace Forum was held from 11-13 November.  The French government blurb noted that: “With international tensions on the rise, it is becoming increasingly urgent to find solutions to global issues. Given this challenge, France is holding the first Paris Peace Forum from 11 to 13 November 2018. This forum aims to bring together global governance stakeholders with a view to bolstering multilateralism and collective action.”

There was also the Armistice Centenary in Paris in which world leaders gathered to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.  There were events at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, visits to veterans’ cemeteries and so on.  This involved the leaders of the major powers that fought in that war – the US, France, Germany, Russia and so on.

None of the information from the Nigerian Presidency, before and after the event, suggested that Buhari was going to France for Armistice Day.

So Kanu’s usage of Buhari’s absence (“not on the official list of dignitaries”) from the Armistice Day commemoration as evidence that he is “Jubril” and part of a grand conspiracy to deceive Nigerians was on shaky ground.  Kanu had also tweeted earlier about the absence from Armistice Day events.

However, the claim was that Buhari was in Paris for the Peace Forum.  There were pictures from the presidency to that effect.  That said, there were no videos of Buhari addressing the event.  Kanu used this to justify his claims and suggested any pictures could be doctored.

The Presidency’s picture of Buhari in Paris

He then went on a rant that took in a film recommendation – “Django Unchained”, with Samuel L Jackson playing the “House Negro” character.  Kanu said the Fulani (Buhari’s ethnic group) are “the House Negroes to the British”. He added: “Find time to watch Django Unchained. After watching it, if you see a stupid black man walking down the road, you will kill him”. He added more “insights” like “Africa is poor because black people are wicked”.

Whatchu talking about Kanu? Samuel L Jackson as Stephen in Django Unchained.

On democracy, he claimed that it was something “Hausa/Fulani don’t understand” and they “can never be democratic”. Then he castigated the “Yoruba media” for “brown envelope” journalism and “writing rubbish”.  According to Kanu, if a cow was brought into Aso Rock, the presidential villa and the Fulani cabal said it was a human being, the “Yoruba media” would repeat it is a human being.  So “Arewa [northern Nigeria] and Yoruba should be in the same country.  Let them forge themselves to death”.

For Buhari to prove that he is not “Jubril from Sudan”, he should speak Fulfulde, the Fulani native tongue, remove his cap and address the press.  Kanu claimed that “Jubril” had a full head of hair while “the late Buhari” was bald.  One had to marvel at how Jubril, who needed “extensive plastic surgery” to be “switched” into Buhari, couldn’t bother to shave his head.  But logic is not always present in Kanu’s world.  Then there was the claim about that the “real” Buhari was either taller or the same height as Senate President Bukola Saraki and the fake one is shorter.  This would only fly with people who are not that perceptive.  Saraki was always taller than the president.  The Senate President is either 6’3”/6’4” and Buhari is about 6’ or slightly above.

Saraki next Buhari on the campaign trail in 2014

Kanu also wanted presidential spokesman Femi Adesina to be locked up for peddling the alleged lie that “Jubril” went to Paris.  “Nigeria is a den of criminals.  We black Africans are evil.  That’s why we are black.  Jubril proves beyond doubt that the black Africans are lower than animals.”  At several points during the broadcast, Kanu “switched” from “Jubril” was not in Paris, or he went to Paris but was not at any meeting with world leaders.

The thing about Kanu is that he is convinced beyond all doubt that an elaborate scam was executed with the swap of an allegedly dead Buhari with “Jubril”, while he couldn’t get the simple facts right.  He claimed that former US president Richard Nixon was impeached.  Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment.  Kanu said Pablo Picasso was a French painter.  He was Spanish but lived for most of his adult life in France.  Then there was the minor issue of the two different summits in Paris – Armistice Day and Peace Forum.  When Kanu can’t get those basic details right, including the height of the president and senate president, how could he be right about a complex issue of replacing a dead president with a man from Sudan?

Kanu said his “operation to expose the impostor will continue”.  But for how long?  How much more of it could his listeners take? It was getting rather tedious.  He moved on to playing the tired record about Buhari not having a secondary school certificate, claiming it is an “INEC [Independent National Electoral Commission] requirement”.  It is not.  The constitutional requirement is for the president to be educated up to secondary school level.  There is no requirement for him to have a certificate.  Continuing down this path only shows up Kanu as ignorant.

The real story about Buhari’s certificate wahala

The IPOB leader’s voice got louder as he rambled on and he seemed to be more agitated, perhaps feeling that the “Jubril” story was stretching the bounds of credulity with his audience.  At this point, Kanu called for “Jubril to be arrested”, claimed “Buhari is dead” and they should “convene a government of national unity” before holding a referendum on Biafra secession.  If his call was ignored, he threatened to “reveal DNA results” to prove his case, and this will result in a “descent to anarchy for Nigeria and indeed the whole of West Africa.  He promised his next broadcast will be in video format because he had stuff the audience would need to see.

Needless to say that his call will be ignored and it will be interesting to see if he matches his bluster with more compelling evidence.  While the claim that the person people think is Buhari is an impostor makes for good propaganda to undermine your opponent, it is hardly resonating with the wider public, either among Igbos, that would make up the majority if Biafra came to fruition, or the rest of Nigerians.  It is increasingly looking like Kanu would have to switch to a new story, because the tall tales about “that thing from Sudan” are getting played out.

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