The Guardian
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Muhammadu Buhari: Nigerian autocrat who embraced democracy


Buhari**Muhammadu Buhari, who has claimed victory in Nigeria’s most closely fought presidential election, is not a man who is easily put off.

He tried three times previously to become head of state since the return to civilian rule in 1999 — and failed on each occasion.

But the tough retired major general who overthrew elected president Shehu Shagari — widely seen as inept and corrupt — in a military coup in 1983, was determined to lead the country again. And to do it the right way this time.

Buhari, 72, is “exceptionally corruption-free”, one former senior military officer told AFP, and in the run up to the vote he declared, “From the day we are sworn in as a government, anybody who abuses trust will be called to account.”

Unusually for a Nigerian leader, the devout Muslim did not accumulate much in the way of spoils when he was in power.  “I am not a rich person,” Buhari told a cheering crowd during the campaign.

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