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How Buhari went from ‘ruthless ex-dictator’ to ‘weak leader’

In an article posted today, Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde more or less asked global observers of Nigeria’s 2015 electioneering and politicking if the handlers of General Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, have succeeded in repositioning his image from the military dictator he used to be to the soapbox politician he needs to be to win the March 28 presidential election.

Please read his write up below and drop your comment.

General Muhammadu Buhari, the former military head of state and presidential candidate of the opposition APC party has a reputation in Nigeria as a no-nonsense hard man earned during his hardline 20-month military government rule from 1984 to 1985. Some feel it’s the kind of leadership, fused with integrity, needed to curb what many Nigerians see as the excessive corrupt practices of the present regime.

So with Buhari soaring in the polls in the run-up to the original elections date of February 14,  his rivals (mainly  working for president Goodluck Jonathan) made a major change to stop reminding Nigerians Buhari was a “ruthless ex-dictator” which has an underlying implication of strength. The strategy in the last four to six weeks has focused on painting Buhari as a weak leader.
Strategists have tried to change the Buhari narrative with a mix of trivial distractions and dog whistles on sensitive issues. These issues have been defended and rebutted by Buhari’s team but the more they were discussed, the more traction they gained. Some of the ‘switch the narrative’ tactics will not be unfamiliar to close watchers of U.S. politics and there may be a good reason for that. According to Politico, both sides have at different times recruited U.S. political consultantsincluding former Obama campaign manager David Axelrod’s AKPD and former Howard Dean campaign manager Joseph Trippi of The Potomac Square Group.
(Source: Photo Courtesy: AFP/Reuters

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