Person of The Year: Mohammadu Buhari

imageFOURTH time was the charm for a charmed year. But the man did not seem so charmed at first. His quest at once rippled with doubt and optimism.

He was a zealot. He was a prude. He was a disciplinarian. He was an airhead. He was full of dictatorial impulses. He loved the south less. He loved the Christian less. No, he was lied against. He was a fair soul, if a little misunderstood. he hHe He ran this country once but not well. He ran this country once and we knew how to behave in public. He was a romantic pessimist. He knew how to pull a fractured country together. We need others, not him. He alone had the star to cross the bridge ahead.

It did not seem so charmed when the year began. Prophesies and fears of apocalyptic dimensions ran through the country. Nigeria would not survive the elections. Each region bore its own demons. In the south-south, we heared threats that echoed the blood and bones of its militant past. In the north, the religious goons of Boko haram flared with guns and guts, making mincemeat of the Nigerian army and laying waste whole villages and threatened to make mincemeat democracy in the region. Who would or could vote? How many electoral booths could survive the bonfires of the reckless? Southwest fizzed with OPC and other youths in disarray.

Other threats blared. The elections were put off. Army backed the government of the day. But beneath all these were fissures of ethnic and religious allegiances perceived to be queuing behind the major political parties, APC and PDP. Yet, when the elections came, a tall, ramrod figure won, making a number of firsts. The first time he would win. The first time a president would fall to a gale of electoral rejection. He rode a coalition of multi-ethic and multi-religious urgency and became president. The would watched, lined up behind a nation, and peace replaced fear. A startling hush.

A change mantra, however, that throbbed the campaign became a source of anxiety once he settled in. His party showed stress early and he rode the charge of an off-handed executive. In the battle for the senate and House of representatives. In appointment, charges of ethnocentric bias waqs replaced by a cabinet whose balancing did not get sufficient praise.

He marched slowly for a nation in search of an urgent change. His cabinet would not be named until pressures mounted. His economic steps are seen as asphyxiating commerce while reining in a footloose system ripe with corruption. Fuel queues return amidst fears the corruption Turks of subsidy are having their way. Also, big names seem to be coming into disgrace over money spent without appropriation or decency. Anxiety at the beginning. Anxiety as the year ends.

For personifying the anxiety of change across the country before and when he became president, Muhammadu Buhari is The Nation’s Person of the year.

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