Thursday 16 April 2015

TIME magazine names Buhari, Ezekwesili, Chimamanda and Boko Haram leader Shekau among world’s most influential people

TIME magazine has named the president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, alongside three other Nigerians among the world’s 100 most influential people.

Mr. Buhari was named alongside a former Nigerian minister, Oby Ezekwesili, who in the last one year led the BringBackOurGirls campaign to urge global action for the release of over 200 girls abducted by the insurgent group Boko Haram.

The magazine also honoured the Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie, and surprisingly, Abubakar Shekau, the eccentric leader of Boko Haram, whom the magazine described as the “Scourge of Africa”.

TIME’s list of 100 most influential people in the world is published annually, to honour leaders, icons, artists and pioneers in different endeavours across the world. The new release is the 12th edition.

In a brief profile of Mr. Buhari, written by TIME’s African Bureau Chief, Aryn Baker, the magazine said the former army general made history by becoming the first candidate to oust a sitting Nigerian President through the ballot box.

“Now he has to live up to voters’ expectations,” the magazine said. “From battling the Boko Haram insurgency to tackling endemic corruption, Buhari has many challenges ahead.

“The greatest may be overcoming his past as a military ruler who seized power in 1983. Already the born-again democrat is demonstrating the inclusivity necessary to lead a nation riven by ethnic and religious tensions.”

The magazine said without Mrs. Ezekwesili, the awareness created about the abducted Chibok girls would have taken even more time.

“Some people will say she is too loudmouthed. The loud mouth is needed. People hear it,” TIME said. “Even before she became the champion of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, Ezekwesili was already a leading voice in Nigerian politics.”

TIME also said Adichie’s greatest power is as “a creator of characters who struggle profoundly to understand their place in the world”.

Other names included in this year’s list which would hit the newsstands Friday, are US President Barack Obama, Pope Francis, Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, Russian president Vladimir Putin, Raul Castro of Cuba and Janet Yellen of the American Reserve Bank, among several others.

The magazine said Shekau is the most violent killer Nigerians have ever seen, and concluded that the Boko Haram leader’s latest action—pledging allegiance to ISIS – may finally summon a United States’ response.

Oby Ezekwesili

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