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The wonder called Jubril al-Sudani



The ‘Cabal’ in Aso Rock don’t always get the credit they deserve. We say the most uncomplimentary things about them when, actually, the guys are geniuses. Over the Jubril Aminu al-Sudani saga, they have gone and outdone themselves.

Now the whole world is talking about us and comedians on late night American TV shows are making jokes about President Muhammadu Buhari.

Just think of the breath-taking conception of the Jubril project and the flawless execution. It is unbelievable that Nigerians, long derided as serial bunglers, could have pulled this off.

God works in mysterious ways but to have created a Jubril who has Buhari’s almost exact physical attributes – such that he can pass for the president without raising curiosity – must be the 8th wonder of the world.

When I contemplate how many months the Sudanese impostor has been embedded in the Presidential Villa, I break out in cold sweat at night.

But what I find most impressive is how the Cabal managed to track down this doppelganger in some dark corner of Africa, ready and willing to be pressed into service in Nigeria without much ado. This surely rates as the 9th wonder.

Credit for that must go to Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) leader Nnamdi Kanu for providing the intelligence. Never mind that not too long ago he was calling leading lights of the Cabal zoo keepers. In the dark, shadowy world of espionage anything can happen: even bitter foes can swap information when conditions permit.

Remember that shortly before vanishing form these shores Kanu constituted the Biafran Intelligence Services or something in that general direction. With such resources and far-flung network it would have been a piece of cake scooping the CIA, KGB, MOSSAD, SSS, NIA, MI6 and media – Western and local – to what was, until he blew it open, the world’s best kept secret.

Truly, Jubril is a wonder who deserves an Oscar for his amazing acting skills. He managed in a matter of months to perfectly replicate Buhari’s mannerisms, idiosyncrasies and speech patterns, developed over 75 years without anyone being the wiser.

Imagine, he successfully fooled members of the Federal Executive Council who regularly interact with him and even sometimes travel overseas with him. He managed to pull wool over the eyes of the likes of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, APC national chairman Adams Oshiomhole, governors and the like.

Aside Osinbajo, I accept he could have beguiled these other gentlemen because of their irregular interaction with the president. What I find incredible is that Governors Ibikunle Amosun and Rochas Okorocha fell for his tricks! Given that they virtually moved into Aso Rock in pursuit of lost gubernatorial tickets, you would think they would have noticed something fishy.

Come to think of it, the real Buhari would have simply ordered Oshiomhole to hand the APC tickets to the governors’ chosen ones – given how close they are to him. Only a Sudanese could have been so obdurate, as to be taking orders from a mere party chairman. So, if you needed further evidence that there’s more to this Jubril business than meets the eye, this is it.

Jubril and the Cabal are a wonder to have successfully procured the cooperation of First Lady Aisha Buhari – a noted straight talker who shoots from the hip and would not have any truck with monkey business.

Someone who just nearly outed two unnamed powerful men who have grounded her husband’s administration, is not the sort of figure to casually acquiesce in such a grand conspiracy without turning whistle-blower. To have secured her silence is the 10th wonder of the world.

Let’s not forget that Aisha and the Cabal have not always been the best of pals. Her outburst against them back in the day, forced Buhari to openly assure the international community that her influence was limited to the “other room.” But then in power circles there are no permanent friends or foes, only permanent or common interests.

Jubril and the Cabal are a wonder because in their rush to install the usurper, they forgot to put in place an exit strategy. Would the man retire to farm life in Daura or would he be shipped back to the Sudan in a crate in 2023 when Buhari’s second term – assuming he wins in 2019 – expires?

We’ve only been given sketchy outlines of the complicated deal that would keep Jubril in power, presiding over our commonwealth ad infinitum. The only way that would happen is by passing a constitutional amendment that takes away the executive’s two-term limit.

For this to work, Senate President Bukola Saraki, would have to be co-opted. But I doubt that the man, still embittered at his treatment in APC, would play ball. The sheer prospect of another four years of Buhari, or of Jubril carrying on his policies, would surely have the Kwara strongman grinding his teeth in rage. That would leave the Jubril project in grave danger of implosion. Surely, the Cabal wouldn’t want that.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’s still the little matter of 2019 and how the outing of the impostor from the Horn of Africa could affect the outcome of the polls.

An influential church leader has already preached an explosive sermon on the matter demanding answers. It didn’t matter that Buhari had just told Nigerians in Poland that he was not a clone: it was really him in flesh and blood.

Rather than douse the fire, the president’s use of the word ‘clone’ inflamed things. The suspicious insist they never raised cloning but talked about an impostor who is in situ in the seat of power running things. All talk of cloning was simply a clever attempt to muddy the waters!

On social media, diehard believers in the legend of Jubril would have none of the president’s explanations. As one post sagely put it: what do you expect him to say? Did you really think he would admit to being the Sudanese mystery man?

After digesting the comments, it suddenly dawned on me why over 40 million Nigerians have mental disorders according to the Federal Ministry of Health. But the more this saga rumbles on, the more I am convinced that even this figure is a grievous undercount.

As for the PDP, it has not come out to say it believes its presidential candidate would be running against a foreign impostor. I suspect that at the right moment it would raise the grave constitutional implications of the matter and call on INEC to declare force majeure.

What they have said, however, is that the Jubril saga would not have arisen had there been greater openness at a time Buhari was hospitalised in London for over 100 days. Flowing from that, the president is being bashed over the head for making Nigeria the butt of jokes internationally.

But let me respectfully disagree. Even if there was livestreaming of Buhari’s 100 days in London, people would still believe what they want. And that is not unique to Nigeria.

America has one of the highest literacy rates in the world but despite their supposed enlightenment, the cancer of racism caused the Birther Movement to thrive for much of Barack Obama’s presidency. One of the key promoters of the suggestion that the US’ first black president might be a foreigner born in Kenya or Indonesia, is the incumbent Donald Trump.

Even after the official birth certificate showing that Obama was born in Hawaii surfaced, many chose not to believe. Instead, another round of conspiracy theories flared with many carefully scrutinising the document to point out supposed flaws suggesting it was faked.

As far as 2019 is concerned, I would say that Buhari might just be the luckiest man in politics. Given the state of the economy you would expect his foes to focus on that and the security challenges in different parts of the country to embarrass him.

Instead, those who say they want to conduct issue-based campaigns are allowing themselves to get sucked into celebrating the Yusuf story in the vain hope that it would somehow hurt the incumbent and the ruling party.

Unfortunately for them, outlandish stories never toppled anybody in these parts. In the late 80s the activist Tai Solarin got himself into trouble by lending his distinguished voice to the rumour that a certain $2.8billion oil proceeds had evaporated from the federation account. The story was part of the fuel that fired up the SAP riots at the time.

After he was grilled by a panel of inquiry as to the source of this weighty allegation, he said he picked it up from Ebony magazine. Sadly, there was nothing of the sort ever published by the paper. He equally said he heard it in the Molue bus! The Ibrahim Babangida regime ruled for several years thereafter, while a respected and honourable man was ridiculed and humiliated.

The opposition can continue offering Nigerians comic relief by giving life to the Yusuf tale by moonlight. But they may wake up on Election Day to discover that they have wasted time chasing shadows and have not offered the electorate a reason to oust the incumbent.

On the other hand, they could get back to the serious business of discussing the challenges facing our people and make this a competitive race.

The choice is theirs. They may be presently enjoying the jokes of American comedians Jimmy Kimmel and Trevor Noah, but what matters is who laughs last come February.

Culled from The Nation

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