Tinubu, Okonjo-Iweala listed among Time’s 100 most influential people of 2023
Bola Tinubu

Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Tinubu, and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director general of World Trade Organization, have been named in Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people for 2023.

Okonjo-Iweala, the first woman and first African to lead the WTO, was included in the same list alongside Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, US vice-president; Xi Jinping, president of China, and Narendra Modi, prime minister of India, in the 2021 edition.

Time Magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world accords recognition to people “for changing the world, regardless of the consequences of their actions”.

“Influence is hard to measure, and what we look for is people whose ideas, whose example, whose talent, whose discoveries transform the world we live in. Influence is less about the hard power of force than the soft power of ideas and example,” Richard Stengal, former editor of Times, was quoted to have said.

The list, released on Thursday, placed the individuals in five categories: Titans, pioneers, artists, leaders, and icons.

Tinubu, the winner of Nigeria’s presidential election, is named alongside Joe Biden, president of the US; Anthony Albanese, prime minister of Australia and a few others in the “leader” category.

Writing about Tinubu, the magazine noted that, “Winning an election in Africa’s most populous country is no easy feat. But Nigeria’s newly elected President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has had nearly two decades to prepare. Called Jagaban, or “leader of the warriors,” by his supporters, the now 71-year-old ran in a presidential election for the first time this March. His campaign slogan, “It’s my turn,” was a nod to his role as a longtime political power broker. Tinubu helped restore the country’s democracy in 1999 after fighting military rule and then served two consecutive terms as governor of Lagos.

“But Tinubu’s win with the ruling All Progressives Congress Party came in a fraught election and by a slim margin over Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi. It was the first time Nigerian voters contended with a third-party candidate, and many discontented young Nigerians yearning for change pinned their hopes on Obi. Marred by allegations of intimidation and vote rigging, the outcome of the ballot is being challenged in court.

“Tinubu now faces a litany of crises in a fractured nation, including deep-rooted corruption, religious insurgencies, and shortages of cash, fuel, and power in a crumbling economy. But the President-elect seems aware of his inheritance: “[Nigeria] is one country and we must build it together,” he said in his acceptance speech.”


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