Happy birthday, Mr President
Nigerians have taken to Twitter to celebrate the birthday of President Muhammadu Buhari. Turning 73, Buhari made history as Nigeria’s first democratic president of the 21st century from a party other than the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
— Musawa Fahad (@Musawafahad) December 17, 2015
— Charles Ameh (@engrameh) December 17, 2015
The PDP ruled Nigeria for an unbroken chain of fifteen years from the return of democracy in 1999. With the election victory of President Buhari, the All Progressives Congress swept the legislature, and became Nigeria’s ruling party.
Happy 73rd birthday celebration to president Muhammadu Buhari. We wish you long life & good health. pic.twitter.com/RbioKsbAYr
— PDP Nigeria (@PdpNigeria) December 17, 2015
The stage was set for Buhari’s ascension long before he was elected as president. A schism in the then overwhelmingly dominant PDP under Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency laid the foundations. Smaller opposition parties coalesced around the new faction, and merged to form the APC. This new political party proved a formidable opposition, sweeping the legislature, and taking state by state in successive by-elections. Running on a platform of change and anti-corruption, the former military dictator was swept to power as a democrat. However, since his assumption of office, dissenting voices have begun to ring louder.
Slow and steady or stagnant?
Happy 73rd to Baba-Go-Slow(BGS) a.k.a All mouth,no action…always saying "we will",never said "we have" 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/zfNaB6Ma2l
— Tomide Akinribido (@MrTomide) December 17, 2015
— BribeNigeria.com (@BribeNigeria) December 17, 2015
President Buhari’s style of leadership has led to polarisation among some sections of Nigeria’s population. Buhari’s election, to many, particularly in impoverished parts of Nigeria’s north, a change they could believe in. However, the pace of change has been criticised. The presidential cabinet was not announced until four months after the inauguration. The president’s self-imposed deadline to defeat the Boko Haram insurgency did not come to pass. A sense of frustration with the president’s leadership may have led many to feel short-changed and over-promised. Much of the time since the inauguration has been spent chasing perpetrators of corruption, a mission which has seen high profile figures of the former administration such as the former Petroleum Minister arrested and prosecuted.
The people’s president
— abdulgombe (@abdulgombe600) December 17, 2015
We extend a Happy 73rd Birthday celebration to President Buhari. We wish you long life, good health and wisdom to govern Nigeria.
— DiasporaNigerians (@NIDOQatar) December 17, 2015
Despite some frustration, President Buhari’s status as a ‘man of the people’ has not been diminished. The latest polls showed an approval rating of more than 70%. As the presidential term continues until 2019, the degree of change Buhari can enact remains to be seen. As reform continues to be pushed, and the army makes serious inroads against Boko Haram, President Buhari’s leadership looks set to continue, and remain popular.