from Africa in Transition

Buhari Honored with Award

March 2, 2011

Blog Post

Muhammadu Buhari, former Nigerian military ruler and presidential candidate for the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) speaks during an interview with Reuters at a private residence in Lagos February 19, 2011. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

The American Association of University Women New York City Branch has conferred upon Muhammadu Buhari its “Legacy Ambassador’s Award” in recognition of the steps he has taken to empower women and ease their entry into public life. Buhari was head of state from 1983-1985. Then as now, he has a reputation for staunchly opposing the endemic corruption in Nigerian politics. He ran for and lost the civilian presidency in 2003 and 2007, elections that had little credibility. In the aftermath of those polls, he contested the largely fraudulent results in the courts–not in the streets.

Buhari is now probably the leading candidate from the predominately Muslim North during the upcoming April presidential election, a contest in which the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan, is tipped to win. Buhari is a Muslim who takes his religion seriously. For that reason, along with his intolerance for corruption, he is often viewed with suspicion, especially by Christian elites. The AAUW award is a reminder of his liberal record on gender issues. However, the AAUW is not widely known in Nigeria, so the award is unlikely to have much political impact leading up to the campaign.

h/t to Jean Herskovits