Muhammadu Buhari's democratic rebirth

Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s President-Elect

Nigerians with a grounding in British history have found their analogy for General Muhammadu Buhari’s epic struggle to regain power in the legend of Robert the Bruce.

Before inflicting a humiliating defeat on the British at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314, the Scottish king drew courage from a spider, grappling to spin its web across the roof of a cave. The spider only succeeded after three attempts, inspiring the maxim: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, again.”

General Buhari, who is among a clutch of former generals who rose to prominence in the turbulent aftermath of independence in 1960, first came to power in a coup in 1983. Professing himself a born-again democrat, he made three previous attempts to win it back at the ballot box, each time gaining only about half the votes he needed.

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