In part, the presidency has itself to blame for the speculation over Buhari’s health given its poor handling of the president’s illness. While away in London for over 150 days on “medical leave,” the presidency provided very little details of Buhari’s well-being. A frail audio message from the president did little to inspire confidence among citizens who have already experienced the trauma of a president dying in office this decade. More than a year after his return from London, the nature of the president’s illness remains undisclosed.

By denying the rumors of his death and the preposterous idea of being cloned, Buhari has only given new life to the rumors ahead of a competitive election campaign and now moves his health to the top of the agenda as a talking point for opposition candidates. His clumsy denial has predictably made headlines among local papers and—for the first time—an incredulous international media.

It’s the latest in a string of communications gaffes that have trailed Buhari’s presidency which range from blaming the country’s high unemployment on lazy youths to accusing Nigeria’s diaspora of sullying the country’s international image.

The president’s gaffes also tend to happen only on foreign trips given Buhari’s perceived preference for speaking to foreign press. Back home, Nigerians have typically only heard from the president during formal national broadcasts on public holidays. Indeed, since being elected, Buhari has largely shunned televised media chats with Nigerian journalists—a tradition among presidents since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999. President Buhari has so far only had one.

Sign up to the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief here for news and analysis on African business, tech and innovation in your inbox

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.