Between Angela Merkel and Sambo Dasuki A Tale Of Two Headline Makers Aged 61
Persons' of the Year are everywhere - from the banks of river Spree, Berlin or in custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abuja; there is always someone somewhere making an impact either positively or negatively.
Named Time Person of the Year 2015, sixty one year old Angela Dorothea Merkel, former research scientist, first female Chancellor of Germany and first female leader of its Christian Democratic Union political party CDU won the hearts of many around the world when she opened wide the doors of her country to thronging migrants and refugees.
The iconic title Person of the Year chosen by Time Editors as someone who has created the greatest impact globally and on the news - for better or worse, is a great way to recap the biggest stories of the year and remind us of the things that mattered the most in the last twelve months.
However, former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki could probably win the title if the Person of the Year were confined to Nigeria. Dasuki who has made headlines all over the country was arrested by the State Security Service for allegedly stealing the sum of two billion dollars and awarding phantom contracts to buy twelve helicopters, four jet fighters and rounds of ammunition to fight against Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram; allegations he has denied.
Born royal in 1954 same year as Merkel to Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki the 18th Sultan of Sokoto, Dasuki a prince trained in the Nigerian Defence Academy where he was commissioned into the Nigerian Army and retired as a Colonel. He was Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to Nigeria's former Head of State General Ibrahim Babangida as well as Managing Director of the Nigerian Security Minting and Printing Company.
Unlike Dasuki, Merkel was born to a Lutheran Theologian Horst Kasner and raised in East Germany. Merkel probably knew what it means to grow up behind walls hence her welcoming attitude. Described as "the Chancellor of the Free World and the de factor leader of the European Union" by Time Magazine, Merkel is the longest serving head of government in the European Union and has been Chancellor of the E.U's most prosperous nation since 2005. She was ranked by Forbes Magazine as the second most powerful person in the world 2015 and named the most powerful woman in the world for nine consecutive times.
Though trained as a scientist, Merkel is very methodical and slow with a pace often described by Germans as a verb "Merkeling". Her extraordinary leadership role and response to the refugee crises was spectacular and applauded globally. This generous act is expected to usher about one million asylum seekers into Germany by the end of December offering families who are fleeing terrorism from the hands of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) a safer environment to start a new life and raise their kids. Hind Almadahwi an asylum seeker from Iraq grateful for Germany's refugee policy named her new born baby Angela Merkel.
Exactly same cannot be said about Dasuki who under his watch as National Security Adviser to the former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 Chibok school girls in north-east Nigeria thereby sparking international outrage and the campaign #bringbackourgirls. The insurgency which has claimed the lives of over 20,000 people and displaced about two million more began in 2009 long before Dasuki became NSA in 2012.
There were lots of interesting twists for Nigerians as in its 55 years of existence, incumbent President Jonathan lost his re-election bid to the opposition Muhammadu Buhari. Former Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke who has been at the center of an alleged missing twenty billion dollars was also charged for money laundering in the United Kingdom. These two could contend the Nigerian Person of the year title alongside Dasuki for their roles in conceding defeat after the general elections and the missing oil revenue saga respectively.
As the year wraps up, Merkel may be remembered for the crucial role she played in the refugee and migrant crises, managing Europe's financial crises and the Greece bailout, however, Nigerians may never be able to take their minds off the boggling billions of dollars in security votes allegedly misappropriated by Dasuki and the revelations of other political allies who shared in the loot. Hopefully, they will get the chance to defend themselves in a competent court of law.