By Asunmogejo Yusuf Olawale
An analytical look at the social media space depicts an ocean full of different kinds of species. Amongst them are the eatable and friendly and amongst them are the wild and dangerous. Analogically speaking, this can be likened to what we are experiencing in the social media space today where rumour mongering and fake news are the food of many Nigerians. The social space has now become an avenue to flood the minds and thoughts of innocent Nigerians with fake news.
One of the news that went viral on social media, was the news about the death of Mr. President, as a sign of his silence on the crises that rocked the #EndSARS protests across the Nigerian States.
Although the news once visited the social media space in January 2017, when he left Nigeria for a 7 weeks medical trip to London to seek fresh treatment as a serious effort to treat an ear infection. While he was away, the expectations of Nigerians on briefings about the well-being of the president was defeated. This left many uninformed members of the public with no chance than to spread the fake news of Buhari’s death.
After about 7 weeks into the medical visit, the president found his way back home to steer the ship of the nation. The news took another dimension when Nnamdi Kanu the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) claimed that Mr. President has been cloned and replaced. He made it known to the public that the president has been replaced with Jibrin Aminu Al-Sudani. One of the supportive allegations peddled against the federal government was the resemblance of some of the body parts of Buhari to that of Jibrin Al-Sudani.
Taking a recount of the differences that flooded the socials in recent times, three major parts of the body to reckon with in the allegations were the “Ear”, “Hands” and “Noise Bridge”. In one of Mr. Kanu’s tweets in late 2017, he stated outrightly that how on earth is it possible for a supposed old man between the age of 76-85 years of age will suddenly switch his writing hand from left to right.
To back up his claims, he aided his tweet with two pictures showing where Mr. President has written with two different hands. This tweet left many Nigerians flabbergasted as no verifiable source has ever claimed Buhari to be ambidextrous. This tweet also left many Nigerians with a lot of questions to ask about how possible it was to switch writing hands.
To clear the air, the presidency discredited the allegations of Mr. Kanu and labelled it as mere “Ignorant” and “Irreligious”. To substantiate this fact, Mr. Bashir Ahmed in his tweet on December 2, 2018, shared a video of Mr. Buhari in Poland where he attended the UN Climate change conference to answer the rumours preached against him.
In the said video, it was that Mr. President’s right hand was in action as opposed to Mr. Kanu’s claims. The President also affirmed being the one talking at the event. He reaffirmed that he was neither dead, cloned nor replaced.
For more clarifications, another shot was shoot at the fake news propagandists by Senator Shehu Sani, a federal Kaduna lawmaker, where he mentioned on his Twitter page that Buhari has no double. He claimed in his tweet that “There’s no one and nothing like Jibrin El-Sudan. Buhari “Ceaser” is healthy and has no double. But you can literally refer to Jibrin as an imaginative and mythical character in Shakespearean Nigeria. It is natural to creatively invent characters and promote conjectures in our theatre of the absurd”.
Extra and assiduous actions taken to analyse the video shared by the IPOB leader came out to be false, photoshopped, and an instrument to disintegrate Nigerians. Although some of the IPOB members aggregated their facts with supportive pictures to strengthen their claims, the subject of improbability in the event of the impossible must always be the truth. To say, THIS IS FALSE!
Another turn on the ear of Mr. President being likened to that of Jibrin was mischievously stretched on the social space. In September 2017, Reno Omokri, a former aide to Former President, Goodluck Jonathan also subjected Buhari’s identity to questions with images showing some physical differences in Buhari’s identity.
Further fact checks into the said picture, indicated that there were no questionable differences in the identity of Mr. President. AFP confirmed that the shared pictures were photoshopped and should not be given public credence.
To move this argument to a larger scale, politics in the Nigerian sphere is not a friendly one. The opposition is always a counter to the ruling. There is no way something as sensitive as this would have happened without receiving outcries from the oppositions especially when it was crystal clear that the 2019 elections were fast approaching.
To recall, Buhari visited the 36 Nigerian States in sound health and mind to campaign for votes from the Nigerian people. “Is this not enough to reshape their minds?”
Let’s reshape the crookedness of the romour mongers with the following points as to why the news about Buhari’s death/clone should not seat in the mind of rational and radical thinking Nigerians.
Firstly, it will be termed theatre of the absurd to claim that Mr. President is dead when the likes of BBC, Al Jazeera, Fox News, to mention but a few, did not mention and even carry out an objective Investigative process on the news. To strengthen this, the only news source that has paid credence to this news is the Biafra Radio which is the radio for the proscribed indigenous group. The point is not far fetched. We all know that if Buhari had died, that means he truly died in London. It will be rational to state that local radio will not be the first to break the news in the wake of the event. In light of this, the source is false and treacherous.
To underprop this position, Buhari’s daughter Hanan, who wedded some couple of weeks ago saw the occasion graced by Mr. President. The simple question to ask the actors of disintegration is ” How much was Aisha Buhari paid to pose with a man that was never her husband?” or to Hannan to accept a man that was never her father?
Let’s hark back to a picture purportedly showing Aisha Buhari affirming that the man in Aso Rock is not her husband. This news flooded the social space during the rave of the #EndSARS brouhaha. An evaluative analysis by Africa Check confirmed that the said picture was fake and photoshopped to distract the government from the business of governance.
In the same vein, Mr. President has continuously visited First World Countries in recent times for diplomatic engagements, and none of the intelligence of the USA, Britain, Russia, to mention but a few have come out to support the position of all these outrageous Machiavellian manoeuvres. How on earth can Nigeria parade a clone for diplomatic visits, United Nations meetings, etc without any raise of alarm. This is indeed laughable, ludicrous, and preposterous.
To add it up, the speech given by the president was baited to be prerecorded, fruitless, and insensitive in the media space. Without taking any sides, an objective analysis will be for the propagandists to bring out substantial and supportive facts to brace up their assertions. Was there any action to this effect?
It is no news that the media space is a volatile environment that houses insensitive speeches and actions, it is therefore imperative as law-abiding citizens to always ascertain the veracity of the news before joining the news train. The spurge of these fake news has aggravated social vices in the Nigerian communities and the whiplash has left an unhealing mark on the rank and file.
To note, fake news peddlers and rumour mongers are agents of destruction and destabilisation with the sole aim of disintegrating the harmonious collaboration of the Nigerian regions. The big question is: ” If they don’t stop now, when will they?”
Donate to News Live
Your donation will be much appreciated. It will help our journalistic efforts.