President Muhammadu Buhari has described the claim that he was dead and replaced by one Jibril from Sudan as a joke that was not funny.
Buhari said this in a documentary shown Friday night at a dinner organised by his family and very closed associates, to celebrate his 80th birthday tagged “Celebrating A Patriot, a Leader, an Elder Statesman” at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He bemoaned that some Nigerians have a way of creating humour to feast on something they do not understand.
According to him, the rumour of him being Jibril was the work of mischief makers.
Asked by the interviewer if he heard about the crazy rumour a while back that he was not Buhari, he replied “Yes! People said I am Jibril from Sudan. I didn’t bother with the name. Nigerians have mischievous ways of explaining themselves.”
Asked how he finds such things funny, the President said: “No. It’s not find the name ‘Jibril from Sudan’ funny because those who made those statement, they just want to be cheeky. They want to distract attention from the main issue.
“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.”
Buhari also said he will not miss Aso Rock much because he was being harassed and that his efforts to make the country better was not good enough and appreciated by some people.
On what he will miss about the presidency, Buhari said: “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. Because 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 they are some people who want to be clever by half.”
President Buhari revealed that he lost two of his children by his late wife to sickle cell anaemia and that was why when he wanted to remarry, he insisted the second wife must be AA genotype, so that his children will not inherit the S from his AS genotype.
On his part, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo described the president as a forthright, good and kind man, as well as an exemplary leader.
He also noted that the president would made a very good entertainer in retirement because of his wackiest sense of humour.
The VP recalled how the president used jokes to calm him down and rescind his decision to submit a letter to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), to investigate allegations of corruption leveled against him.
“Mr. 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 they were some allegations that were made against me. And I was so angry, so 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, even 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 praised 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.”
Former Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, 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.
Amosun 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.
“Somebody that loves his family, Nigeria; he is a nationalist. President Muhammadu Buhari will always think about others. In his own little way and even in his humorous way, he will always not just think about himself. He is somebody that is not bothered about all these worldly things he is already a contented human being.”
Similarly, Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi described President Buhari as a detribalized 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.
He said, “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, Mr President that could have done it. Because when you say something, you do it.”
Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, who also graced the occasion, thanked President Buhari for sacrificing a lot for the progress of Nigeria.
He said: “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 the belongs to the class of leaders who came and served their country with commitment, dedication patriotism and honesty.
He likened him to leaders like “Charles De Gaulle of France, Franklin Roosevelt of America, Winston Churchill of Great Britain and Buhari of Nigeria.”
The APC flag bearer who was in attendance 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 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 entire 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.
She said: “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.
He is a man of Integrity and transparency. I have been interacting with him for several years.”
Emir of Kazaure described the President as Mr. Law and Order who once denied him, the opportunity to be given a generator to make his job as the secretary of the then Petroleum Trust Fund, easier in other to avoid submitting reports late because he was using candlelight to work, because as he was not entitled to one according to the law.
He said: “If you are looking for Mr law and order, you have found him in President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; (Ọjájá II) also spoke about President Buhari’s dedication and commitment to the growth of democracy.
Also present were governors of Katsina, Aminu Masari and Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari and members of the cabinet, family members, captains of industry including Chairman of AriseTV and the Thisday Group, Nduka Obaigbena among others.
The highlight of the event was when the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, led other members of the President’s cabinet to present a giant birthday card and cut the birthday cake as they rejoiced with him on his 80th birthday.