Of clones and cloners


The issue now trending within Nigeria and abroad is the rebuttal by President Muhammadu Buhari about his identity crisis, bordering on cloning. For several weeks now, the identity of the President has become a matter of public scrutiny. It all started with the claim by the loquacious anti-Buharist named Femi Fani-Kayode. The self-styled saviour of the Igbo race now on the lam, Nnamdi Kanu, also weighed in, insisting that the gangling man had answered his final summons in December, last year, while on medical trip to London. And that another gangler named Jibril, a Sudanese national, had been shopped to replace him at the Aso Rock Villa.

Now, which one do we go for… replacement or a clone? I reacted to the replacement riddle in my write-up in this space two weeks ago, trying to debunk the claim. For starters, I have never seen an indigene of Sudan wearing light skin as Buhari.

Well, it took Mr. President a trip to faraway Krakow, Poland, where he participated in the 24th session of the Conference of the COP24 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to open up on the controversy. He told a cross-section of the Nigerian community resident in that country that he was real and not a clone. Neither was he the much talked-about Jibril from Sudan.

His words: “It’s ignorant and irreligious to say I am cloned. It’s real me; I assure you. I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong.”

Now that Buhari has finally declared publicly that he is real, spirit, soul and body, leaving the doubting Thomases to eat their hearts out, I think we should have a comic relief about the cloning shenanigan.

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Take it or leave it. We have all passed through a cloning process at one point or the other in our lives. Circumstances, necessities, etc, play critical roles in producing cloners and clones. In other words, a cloner is one who creates clones, while the products are the clones.

I make bold to say that we are all clones. And politicians are the most susceptible to cloning. I will start with Buhari himself. Before he joined partisan politics in the race to the 1999 presidential race on the platform of the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), he was his original self. When he abandoned the party and formed the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) ahead of the 2011 presidential polls, he was cloned. Then, two years to the titanic 2015 general elections, he metamorphosed into a clone of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Surely, that is the final stage of his political cloning.

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is perhaps the most cloned among the contenders in the ongoing rat race to the Aso Rock Villa. As far as I can recall, having been cloned out of the PDP upon falling out with his principal, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he re-cloned, so to speak, into the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) which originally had the broom as the party symbol and contested for the 2007 presidential joust. He lost.

He cloned back to the PDP and fought former President Goodluck Jonathan hammer and tongs to get the party’s presidential ticket in the race to the 2011 election. He missed it but remained a PDP clone until the celebrated amalgamation of the four political parties, namely ANPP, CPC, ACN and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) that threw up the APC. Dissatisfied with his re-cloning in the APC, Atiku cloned back to the PDP to give another shot at the Villa.

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In fact, virtually all notable Nigerian politicians have been cloned. Even Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the statue-loving Governor of Imo state, is a clone. He first cloned into Action Alliance (AA). Then, he re-cloned into the PDP and gave the late ex-President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua a big fight in the race to the 2007 presidential poll, coming second. He then re-cloned into APGA before cloning into the APC.

Controversial Senate President Bukola Saraki was a PDP clone. He re-cloned into APC during the amalgamation only to clone back to PDP. Speaker Yakubu Dogara followed Saraki’s footsteps and re-cloned from APC to PDP. So also did Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue state, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state, and Abdulfattah Ahmed of Kwara state. However, Governors Nyesome Wike, the massively-built Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa state and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state are among the South-South clones in the PDP that are not clonable yet to another party like the APC. Ditto their cloned counterparts from the South East.

Cloning is not restricted to politics in this country. In the religious circle, Christians go through cloning process from time to time. Those who step out of the Orthodox Church system into the Pentecostal bandwagon and assumed the born-again status automatically become clones. An apostate of the two major religions is also a clone. Anyone who changes his names for whatever reasons including marriage is a clone as well.

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Also, anyone who transforms her looks by herself via make-up to the extent that her spouse or kid(s) would not recognise her is a clone. Then there are those who hire make-up artists to clone their looks. In a similar vein, we have ladies who are obsessed with their vital statistics. Cloners (you call them plastic surgeons) are engaged to pump them up from figure 1 to the much desired figure 8. So also are those who demote their bodies from “orobo” to figure 1!  In all of these artificial transformations, they don’t care a hoot about the health complications most likely to result from there.

Lest I forget, another cloning process for women is pregnancy, caused by men. Unhappy with their transformation after delivery, the shape-conscious ones storm the gym in desperation to clone themselves from amorphousness to their original shape.

I am not ashamed to admit that I have been cloned and re-cloned in my life journey, professionally. First, I was cloned into the New Nigerian Newspapers, Kaduna (where I cut my journalism teeth), then to The Nigeria Standard Newspapers, Jos, then to the defunct Jos-based Sun Newspaper (which I co-founded), then to the LEADERSHIP, Abuja, (as an external editorial board member and columnist), then to Blueprint as editor-at-large and now Managing Editor.

So, you see, we are all clones in one way or another and, therefore, have no right to finger anyone as a clone.  Happy cloning, friends!

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