From Left: Bayo Omoboriowo, Personal Photographer to President Muhammadu Buhari and the author of the book, Buhari: A New Beginning, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari
The pictorial book, Buhari: A New Beginning (John Tripod Media, 2016, Abuja) by the photographer, Bayo Omoboriowo, captures the life of President Muhammadu Buhari, his childhood, education, career, family and politics. The book tells a detailed story of the president through the unique art of photography.
Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who provides the forward, says the book gives the reader a glimpse of Buhari’s modest, honest, disciplined personal and public life. In six chapters, 312 pages, Omoboriowo gives a photographic account of every phase of the president’s journey so far.
In ‘The beginning,’ the author gives a vivid background of Buhari, who was born in Daura, Katsina State on December 17, 1942 to Hajiya Zulaihatu Musa and Alhaji Hardo Adamu. He is the last child of his father. The book gives a glimpse of Buhari’s early education up till his entry into the Nigerian army and finally at Executive Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund in 1998 till he began his presidential ambition.
Chapter two dwells on the historic campaign that led to the victory of an opposition party after four attempts. Perhaps, Buhari’s campaign trails, which are captured beautifully, showing the people’s overwhelming zeal for the man to be president, would appear mere electioneering promises than the reality that now stare them in the face. The pictures reflect Nigerians’ hope for an uncertain future.
Pictures from his state-to-state campaigns speak loudly; merely beholding Buhari put such joy on the people’s faces. He was a ‘messiah’ of sorts, turning fans into ‘Zacchaeus,’ who had to climb a tree just to get a glimpse of him. In Ogun, a woman wears a Buhari’s party’s flag in her hair to show her solidarity. The young and old have faces full of expectations.
Omoboriowo focuses on transition of power in chapter three. Former President Goodluck Jonathan hands over the baton of leadership March 31, 2015.
From the fourth chapter, the reality of leadership dawns on Buhari, as his reflective mood shows in most of the pictures. The photographer dwells on statesmanship in the fifth chapter, where he says a true statesman is one who pursues the interest of the citizens at all levels, adding, “Such a leader, as a statesman, must also be in tune with the aspirations of other leaders of the world to find permanent solutions to problems that plague the world.” This perhaps explains the president’s numerous trips abroad.
The last chapter focuses on the man, Buhari, who appears to be a simple farmer, a loving husband, father, and grandfather as the pictures show.
However, almost two years into Buhari’s administration, it would appear that most Nigerians now think differently of the president. It seems as though their hope of the messiah they saw in Buhari has been dashed. Now, one could almost hear their lament: ‘this is not the change we voted for!’
Nevertheless, Omoboriowo’s photographic sense is absolutely supreme in taking the viewer through the phases of a man, for whom destiny created a special place.