Buhari and the Burden of Expectations is a captivating title for a documentary on Nigeria’s current leader; making viewers anticipate a riveting film, which will be enlightening and compelling. However, Ireti Bakare-Yusuf’s failure to ask her respondents the right questions coupled with the style of storytelling she adopts for the film mar this expectation.
Ireti Bakare-Yusuf gets the opportunity to interview Mamman Daura, Ishyaku Ibrahim, Paul Tarfa, Mohammed Magoro, Onaolapo Soleye, Abiola Tilley-Gyado, Dupe Kila-Kafidipe, Kunle Idiagbon, Tunji Lardner, Bisi Akande, Nwankwo Nnabuchi, Kwame Adadevoh, Mahmud Tukur, Aisha Buhari, Risikat Omolaja, Halima Buhari-Yusuf, Sule Hamma, Friday Bethuel, Aisha Ahmed El-Rufai, Musa Bello, Chioma Ogwuegbu, Martin Agbor, Moses Iyamu and a few other individuals, who give insights on President Muhammadu Buhari’s personality and what they foresee from a government headed by him.
Much as a few facts are revealed about his upbringing and exemplary conduct in public service, the penetrating questions; which could reveal the true position on the many controversies, for which Buhari has been severely criticized; are avoided. Meanwhile, the persons interviewed in the film are eminently qualified to provide the answers, owing to the close interactions of many of them with Buhari.
The film looks like a Public Relations material; put together initially to canvass votes for Buhari before the elections, though Bakare-Yusuf refutes this. Then, the film is beefed up with footage of events, following Buhari’s victory at the polls.
One also wonders why Bakare-Yusuf has to appear on the screen from time to time to make comments, when she could have allowed the story to flow freely. Again, narration is certainly better than displaying text on the screen for viewers to read, at least, in this film. Those quiet moments, as the texts are displayed, are very awkward. The superfluous part of the film is the 15 or so minutes devoted to the swearing-in ceremony of the President and the Vice President.
The film does very little to explore the second part of its caption “… the Burden of Expectation”. The views of more Nigerians from different social-economic and political divides should be sought as Bakare-Yusuf fine-tunes this 1-hour film, removing the ludicrous parts.