A few months ago, this online magazine asked for an article on the then (still) upcoming Nigerian elections, which were held on March 28. I accepted, but failed to deliver. Looking back, I now consider that my failure had something to do with being in the arena of my life within my country’s history, in the sense of the famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt.1 It was difficult to write about a complex, a monster, a phenomenon that I was facing while I was engaged with it. I remember writing an errant paragraph or two. The theme was rejuvenation, second acts. The central idea was of young people teaming up with their grandfathers to fight against their fathers.
The chair of the Independent Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, announced the final results just hours shy of April Fools’ Day. The winner of the presidential contest was retired Major General Muhamadu Buhari, who had ruled for twenty months at the head of a junta in the 1980s, whose All Progressive Congress (APC) political party beat the incumbent Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and his People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which has been in power for all of the sixteen years since Nigeria returned to democratic rule. Buhari achieved his win with a margin of well over two million votes. (The APC also wrested control of the upper legislative house from the PDP.)