Jubril from Sudan: That joke was not pleasant — President Buhari
• Says, I Won’t Miss Aso Rock Because Of Harassment That My Best Is Not Good Enough
• Family, Friends Celebrate President At 80
President Muhammadu Buhari has described the claim that he was dead and reportedly a body double, called ‘Jibril Aminu from Sudan’ that is occupying the presidential villa in Abuja, as a humour taken too far and not funny.
President Buhari bared his mind in a documentary shown, on Friday night, at a private dinner organised by his family and 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, adding that the development was the handiwork of some mischief makers to demonstrate their cheekiness.
Asked 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.”
On how he found such jokes bandied around, the President said: “Is not funny because those who made those statement just want to be cheeky. They want to distract attention from the main issues.
He said: “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.”
President Buhari said contrary to widely-held opinion in some quarters, he would not miss the Aso Villa much, because “he is constantly being harassed as his efforts to make the country better is not good enough and appreciated by some people.”
“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. 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 there are some people who want to be clever by half.”
In proposing a toast for the celebrant, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo described President Buhari as forthright, good and kind man, and exemplary leader.
Osinbajo jocularly noted that the president would make a good entertainer in his retirement because he also possesses tremendous sense of humour.
The Vice President further painted the picture of how President Buhari deployed a great deal of jokes to calm him down and particularly, rescinded a decision to submit a letter to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), to investigate allegations of corruption levelled against him .
“ The 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 there were some allegations made against me. And I was so angry. 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. 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 further commended 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 eulogising the President, former Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, who 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 nationalist. He doesn’t think of himself, he is a contented human being,” he said.
“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.
In the same vain, Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi described President Buhari as a detribalised 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, “Second Niger Bridge, which 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 South East are still savoring and is only you, the President that could have done it. Because when you say something, you do it.”
Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, who attended the occasion, thanked President Buhari for sacrificing a lot for the progress of Nigeria.
“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.
He said President Buhari belonged to the category of leaders who came and served with commitment, dedication patriotism and honesty.
He further likened him to leaders I’m in the mold of “Charles De Gaulle of France, Franklin Roosevelt of America, Winston Churchill of Great Britain and Buhari of Nigeria.”
The APC flag-bearer, who attended to occasion with his running mate, Kashim Shettima, said: “The leadership you have demonstrated reminded me of the speech you gave at the Primary Convention when you won the nomination. You thanked the people with all humility and said even if you had the money, you would not have paid. But that is because, they know who you are, a man of integrity, great commitment, transparent and a exceptional humility.”
Tinubu prayed that “God will continue spare you to see the history as you want it for the country, the ship of this nation will be on the right course. You will live long to enjoy a nice evening of democracy that you brought about.
“When you talk of Permanent Voters Card (PVC), card reader, transparency and honesty in the electoral process like you did, we can only promise not to let you down. Enjoy 80 till you celebrate other birthdays.”
The President’s eldest daughter, Fatima Buhari, who spoke on behalf of her siblings and the 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 that. 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.
“He gave us everything, love, care, good education and all.
“He is blessed 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 good will messages from traditional rulers, who all eulogized President Buhari as a man of integrity and a huge sense of humour. Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, said the president has done a lot and the results will manifest much later after his must have left the scene.
He described him as the promoter of traditional institutions and for preventing the returned artefacts of Benin Kingdom from being relooted, 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.