By Raymond Eze
There is no gain saying the fact that all mortals are indebted to death. In Nigeria’s history, the fate of losing sitting or former Presidents and other prominent leaders has befallen us a number of times. Among such incidences were the deaths of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello (the Sardauna of Sokoto), General Aguyi Ironsi, General Murtala Muhammed, D.r Nnamdi Azikiwe, General Sani Abacha and Alhaji Umar Musa Yar’Adua. In spite of the circumstances of their death, the news at least was never hidden. Some of them, if not all, were accorded state and/or religious rights of honour due them. Presidents die. They are human and mortal.
But President Muhammadu Buhari has not died. He is not dead. He perhaps died only on the social media, Facebook pages and WhatsApp groups. What has become the height of fake news which is now making the rounds started with one Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB. He dropped an allegation that Nigeria’s living President Buhari is an impostor. And the news is spreading like wild fire. The pain is that even lettered people who should know better are buying the story. Nonsense! What could have made these people this gullible? What magic or creative power could have made this new Buhari have retentive memory or power of recognition? This must be a joke taken too far. There is no known technology that can impute his experience in the military, identification of associates, friends and relatives as well as experience in office if he is an impostor.
Taking ill is not synonymous with death. If so, all that had taken ill before would have been dead. And perhaps the earth would have been empty because people fall sick every second. It baffles one that some people take their hatred for the President to the extent of wishing him dead. These haters should know that his family members still love him and want him alive, if not as President but as a father, a husband, a grandfather or an uncle etc. But proponents of this fake news won’t have any of such. They are rather engrossed in their infamous act of spreading fake news. They hate the President that, even if he is standing before them, they would prefer to believe that he is a ghost or an impostor as it is in this case.
The masterminds of this ignoble act have attempted to convince their gullible audience through non-existing physiological comparisons. They maintain that he was sick beyond recovery. So how could he have recovered? To them, no miracle or medical efficacy could have restored his health, otherwise how can he look chubby after his sunken jaws and cheeks closed up in good health. Some have also gone to the extent of alleging that the Queen of England even commiserated with the country over the purported death. Others said the AU had a minute silence in his honour. Unbelievable! And no international protocol observed for or accorded him? For crying out loud, are these no longer World affairs that could not have been hidden from international focus? Or did all the CNNs and BBCs of this world also die along with him? If the Queen commiserated with the country, who received her as the chief mourner? It is important to put on record that President Buhari is an accomplished man, a member of the Kastina Emirate, a retired General of the Nigerian Army, former Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. His death would, no doubt, be celebrated as done in the case of personalities of his class. He is indeed an accomplished person. The man is ain’t going anywhere yet. Life and death are beyond humans and their knowledge and abilities. Death is beyond our control.
It has become obvious some people would have asked Buhari to die or take his life were that to be in their hands. Some others have insinuated that Buhari does not look sick anymore neither does he go for medical check-ups as he used to. Why are you disturbed? This is an unusual and unsolicited care for the President. And sure, not out of love. Only mischief smells here. What is really the annoyance of these President haters? Are they really angry that he no longer travels often to seek medicare or are they pissed that they can no longer use that against him?
The presidential campaigns for the 2019 general election has begun and so much thrash of this nature would be spilled on gullible individuals with the aim of defaming their opponent and canvassing for votes. This type of dirty politics is not healthy for the growth of democracy in the country and Nigerians must beware. Although every individual is entitled to their opinions, it is disappointing for some interests to easily buy into the fake narrative being propagated by mischief makers who do not wish the country well.
This is obviously not the best of times for the country. Some misguided groups or persons, for their selfish interests, are selling a toxic idea to the vulnerable. This, at a time like this, is capable of setting the nation aflame. It is believed that Buhari has supporters. Who can say what kind of negative narratives they may have against their political opponents. And what if they have and decide to use it, who can imagine the extent to which it may go. Nigerians should be guided. We must join hands together to resist the unfolding propaganda in the interest of national unity and stability.
Everything is not politics. This is not the time to play politics with the life of our President.
•Eze writes from Enugu via: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.