President Muhammadu Buhari during his inauguration
His was a victory much heralded after 16 long years of the corruption-riddled rule of the People's Democratic Party, most recently headed by the now former President Goodluck Jonathan. A determined Buhari triumphed at his fourth try at the Presidency, and his All Progressives Congress (APC) Party gained power at a crucial time when Nigeria is been battered on every side by Boko Haram, fuel scarcity, electricity shortages, the colossal theft of the country's funds and reserves by the few at the expense of the many; spates of kidnappings and the continued dearth in the basic funding of hospitals, schools, roads and agriculture.
Buhari's Fulani Characteristics
Hopes are high that President Buhari, more than any other Presidential contender or leader in recent times, will impose order and stem the tide of iniquity and the haemorrhaging of the country's oil money, purely because of his impeachable character.
His intolerance of corruption and disciplined approach to leadership, along with his simplicity and integrity witnessed during his short-lived first stint leading Nigeria between 1983 and 1985 - then as a military head of state - is widely acknowledged by all and sorely needed at a time when Nigerian leaders have been widely derided for being incompetent. One of his main initiatives during his previous tenure was his War Against Indiscipline, which saw armed officials firmly maintaining order in such civic responsibilities as straight queues and punctuality at work.
General Buhari in the 80s when he was the military head of state
Buhari is a classic example of a stern, self-effacing Fulani man; simple in his ways, firm in his convictions and committed to a sense of duty. Like many Fulani men, he stands tall and erect, is slim yet sturdy and has an unlined face that looks younger than his 72 years, with dignified mannerisms and a regal walk. Like many Fulani men, ostentatious displays of wealth and garish trappings of riches is far from his mind. Despite being a former President and former head of the NNPC and PTF where he had access to billions, he has no overseas mansions or fleet of luxury cars to his name.
Instead Buhari has his much beloved home in Daura, as well as a farm and the customary Fulani sign of success: cattle. His simplicity was such that he once remarked that he only has only one million Naira in his bank account, in an age where Nigerian men of his political experience have billions of dollars in several accounts.
President Buhari (centre) at his farm in Daura with some of his cows
Buhari's upright, no-nonsense character can be attributed to both his nature as a Fulani man and his nurturing as a retired army general old enough to imbibe many of the disciplined traits the former colonial masters instituted in the country, that was evidenced until the 1980s. He belongs to the generation that wore starched shirts, read newspapers in the mornings and books in the evenings, spoke with British inflections (not the faux-American accents affected today) and behaved with decorum in public.
Buhari and Boko Haram
Too young to remember his first outing, two things stood out to me from his inaugural speech at his second coming; his now famous line: "I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody" was a journalist's dream in terms of concisely capturing Buhari's proposed leadership style in nine words. He was saying he is a man of the people but is beholden to no one; he is ready to listen to all but owes nobody anything.
The other thing was his assertion that: "Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of." This clinched it for me. Before his win, there were concerns by the opposing PDP party that Buhari was a sympathiser of Boko Haram, and being a staunch Muslim, would bring Sharia Law to all parts of Nigeria. I was wary of him, but by the beginning of the year I along with most Nigerians were so desperate for relief from PDP that we were willing to give even Buhari a try. His win was welcomed because finally a change had come, and there was no anarchy to mark the end of the elections and the predicted disintegration of Nigeria was avoided, with credit for that going to Jonathan's early phone call to Buhari to concede defeat.
But I still wondered about Buhari's religious intentions, until he made that statement. It allayed my fears, and his efforts in the first week after resuming power of moving the military to the heart of the insurgency in Borno State and meeting with other West African Presidents to discuss how to end Boko Haram speaks of man that has made getting rid of these terrorists a priority.
Aisha Buhari was thrust into the limelight during the latter stages of Buhari's presidential campaign, where her clear-headed speeches in support of her husband and her grace and decorum was in direct contrast to Jonathan's wife Patience, whose forceful rants and 'Bulldog in a China Shop' approach to things rankled. Mrs Buhari's reserved beauty is another welcome change, as is her eloquence.
President Buhari's wife Aisha, a Fulani woman from Adamawa State
A Fulani woman from Adamawa State, the new First Lady married Buhari in 1989 when she was 18 years old. She is his second wife (Buhari divorced his first wife Safinatu, with whom he had four girls and a boy) and they have five children, four girls: Amina, Halima, Zarah and Aisha and a boy named Yusuf.
President Buhari with his late first wife Safinatu and their five children
Educated up to Masters level with training and certificates in professional beauty treatments and management from various universities both in Nigeria and abroad, Mrs Buhari, until her husband's presidency ran a Beauty Spa in Kaduna and Abuja.
President Buhari and his wife Aisha during his inauguration
Although always covered up with only her face and hands showing, and wearing a wrap around her body in public, the bespectacled Aisha Buhari gets her makeup professionally done, wears expensive jewellery and even wore fashionably-darkened glasses during the inauguration, where her all white attire matched her husband's. This First Lady, I believe, will be characterised by carefully selected media utterances in national matters relating to women, children and her family, and displays of pricey fashionable pieces complimenting modest clothing designs befitting of a prominent Hajiya when she accompanies her husband to state functions.
I doubt she will seek the limelight, seek political power for herself, engage in politics with male politicians or show any signs of friction or disagreements with her husband in public, unlike her predecessor. I've heard that Mrs Buhari is no wallflower and is quite formidable within her close circles, but hers will be a reserved tenure where she will be largely invisible.
But only time will tell.
Buhari's Beautiful Brood
Buhari is a father of 10 and is blessed with seven beautiful daughters (his first-born daughter with his first wife died during childbirth) and an equally handsome young son, whose striking good looks captivated Nigerians on social media in the run-up to his inauguration.
Zahra Buhari: The face that launched a thousand votes
First to be thrust into public adulation was one of Buhari's younger daughters Zarah, who attends a university in England. Her pictures and tweets were hugely popular and many praised her beauty; she received marriage proposals and some vowed to vote for her father simply because they admired her.
Zarah was then photographed along with her brother walking behind their father at Nnamdi Azikiwe airport in Abuja as they arrived from the UK days before the inauguration. Girls drooled over Zarah's brother, Yusuf, whose easy good looks and calm demeanour marked him out as his father's son.
Zarah walking behind her father with her brother Yusuf
On the day of their father's inauguration, the Buhari girls took a photograph with their mother/step-mother, and Nigeria rejoiced at the nation having such a photogenic First Family, whose ladies were pretty, proper and poised. Most of the girls are now married with children, except the youngest two (below in blue), and no doubt their weddings and future milestones will be grand events.
Buhari's Beautiful Brood: His daughters and wife pose for the cameras
A New Fulani Era
President Buhari's victory has brought a Fulani man with a Fulani-influenced style of leadership to Aso Rock, and his Fulani family with Fulani values, traditions and style will be of huge interest to me personally and for this blog.
I look forward to a firm and competent leader, whose anti-corruption stance will influence the rest of Nigeria and whose tenure will be marked by huge strides in combating many of the ills plaguing the country. A leader whose simplicity is powered by his Fulaniness and who will reconfigure and continue on with the various successes of previous Fulani presidents. I look forward to a First Lady who will be more like former first lady, the late Maryam Babangida in carriage and influence, and who will enhance and not obstruct her husband's leadership.
Nigerians can look forward to lessons in modest femininity from Buhari's daughters, in stark contrast to the slack, salacious and over-exposed lifestyles of many young women today. I look forward to seeing more of the seemingly shy Yusuf Buhari, who will no doubt inherit the better characteristics of his father.
I'm sure there will be some drama, disappointments, controversies and rumours surrounding them at some point in their first four years and beyond, but I believe that on the whole the Buharis will always be respectable in public (if not in private) as they take center stage as the most famous Fulani family in the world.