President Muhammadu Buhari's biographer has revealed how he initially had no interest in going to school or being a good student.
Growing up everyone had that burden of striving to become the best in their class because it was expected of them, but not everyone excelled in their studies. President Muhammadu Buhari was one of the students who didn't have an interest in studying, if what his biographer Professor John Paden, wrote in his biography is anything to go by.
Professor Paden wrote in Buhari's biography ‘Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria’, that he was a reluctant student (aka slacker) who preferred the outdoors to the four walls of a classroom.
Here's what he wrote in a chapter subtitled ‘Schooling and Leadership Values’:
“In part because of love for the outdoors, Buhari was a reluctant student in his early years. He would often skip school altogether, although this always resulted in beatings with a cane by the schoolmaster. Only with the encouragement of Waziri al-Hasan and Mamman Daura did he eventually settle down and take his studies seriously.”
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He went on to write how the president made a serious turnaround and even went on to become the head boy of his school:
“The early years of schooling were conducted in Hausa; thereafter, English was used. Buhari began to do very well in English, mathematics, and Arabic, as well general studies. Buhari also became involved in cross-country running, in which persistence and endurance were key. Buhari would spend nine years at boarding school, and fortunately he had good teachers.”
Paden explained that Buhari learnt what it meant to be a leader, at an early age. He wrote:
“The loss of his father at an early age was compensated for by British teachers who treated each student as if he was their own child. Buhari has often said that in the early days of his schooling, the British sent their best teachers out to northern Nigeria, not their worst. An American Peace Corps teacher in the school also impressed Buhari and the other boys with his love for biology. Most important, the simple student dress code meant that students looked much the same, except for an occasional student with a wristwatch. The British teachers made a point of disregarding the status of the fathers of the boys. Every boy had to make it on his own.
The point became clearer when he was eighteen years old and entered a merit-based competition, sponsored by the Elder Dempster shipping line, for selected secondary students to spend a summer holiday in Britain. At that time, many of the northern elite were sending their sons to the prestigious Barewa College, and it was not clear that Buhari had a chance against such competition.
Buhari had been class monitor in second form. He was house prefect in fifth form. In sixth form, he was house captain and head boy of the school. His performance in his studies was excellent. But his leadership potential was outstanding. He was chosen for the summer scholarship to visit Britain.”
This shows the president had a normal childhood like every other person abi?