Military Head of State, Retired Major General, Nigeria President (1942-)
Muhammadu Buhari GCFR (born 17 December 1942) is the President of Nigeria, in office since 2015. He is a retired Major General in the Nigerian Army and previously served as the nation’s Head of State from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after taking power in a military coup d’état. The term Buharism is ascribed to the Buhari military government.
He unsuccessfully ran for the office of President in 2003, 2007 and 2011 general elections. In December 2014, he emerged as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the March 2015 general elections. Buhari won the election, defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. This marked the first time in the history of Nigeria that an incumbent president lost to an opposition candidate in a general election. He was sworn in on 29 May 2015.
Buhari has stated that he takes responsibility for anything over which he presided during his military rule, and that he cannot change the past. He has described himself as a “converted democrat”.
Muhammadu Buhari is a native of Daura, a Fulani town situate in Katsina State of Nigeria. He was born on December 17, 1942.
Buhari joined the army in the year 1962 and became the governor of the North-Eastern State during the regime of Murtala Mohammed. Later, he was appointed Minister or Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources during the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1976. When the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was created in 1977 Muhammadu Buhari was made the head.
In 1983, Major-General Buhari and Major-General Tunde Idiagbon were selected to lead the country by middle and high-ranking military officers after a successful military coup d’etat that overthrew civilian President Shehu Shagari on December.On December 31, 1983, the government of the civilian President Shehu Shagari was removed in a coup d’etat, Major-General Buhari was selected by the high ranking military officials to lead the country. The then Federal government, led by General Muhammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon introduced a public campaign against indiscipline known as “War Against Indiscipline” (WAI). This initiative was highly commended by Nigerians because it brought sanity to the system.
In 1985, Buhari was himself overthrown in a coup led by General Ibrahim Babangida on August 27th, and other members of the ruling Supreme Military Council (SMC) ostensibly, because he insisted on investigating allegations of fraudulent award of contracts in the Ministry of Defence.
Muhammadu Buhari is admired by many for his uprightness and stand against corruption. His government was able to keep the country economically buoyant not withstanding its rejection of IMF loan and refusal to adopt IMF directives which include devaluation of the Naira. Muhammadu Buhari’s government reduced inflation by refusing to devalue the nation’s currency.
However, the regime was also criticized for moves to silence critics of the administration, as decrees were passed curbing press freedom and allowing for opponents to be detained up to three months without formal charges. The regime also banned industrial actions such as strikes and lockouts by civil servants.
Later in time, Muhammadu Buhari was appointed as the Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), a body funded from the revenue that accrued from the increase in price of petroleum products, to use for developmental projects around the country.
Buhari contested the Presidential election as the candidate of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) in 2003 and lost. Gen. Buhari, In the 2007 April Presidential polls, again contested. His main contender then was Umaru Musa Yar’Adua of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who is also from the same state – Katsina and he lost.
In March 2010, Buhari left the ANPP for the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), a party that he had helped to found. He said that he had supported foundation of the CPC “as a solution to the debilitating, ethical and ideological conflicts in his former party the ANPP”.
Gen. Buhari was the CPC Presidential candidate in the April 16, 2011 general election, running against incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and Ibrahim Shekarau of ANPP. Again he lost. In the year 2015, Muhammadu Buhari not deterred by his previous failures, contested for the Presidential election under the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and after a very tight race with the incumbent, His Excellency, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari emerged the winner and was declared the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This was made possible because the Nigerian masses wanted change and they voted for change as Buhari had promised in his campaign that his regime would have a zero tolerance for corruption and he also promised to tackle youth unemployment, security and general infrastructure like electricity.
In 1971, Buhari married his first wife, Safinatu Buhari (nee Yusuf) (First lady of Nigeria December 1983-August 1985). They had five children together, four girls and one boy. Their first daughter, Zulaihat (Zulai) is named after Buhari’s mother. Their other children are Fatima, Musa (deceased), Hadiza, and Safinatu.
In 1988, Buhari divorced his first wife Safinatu. In December 1989, he married his second and current wife Aisha Buhari (nee Halilu). They also have five children together, a boy and four girls. They are Aisha, Halima, Yusuf, Zarah and Amina.
On 14 January 2006, Safinatu Buhari, the former first lady, died from complications of diabetes and She was buried at Unguwar Rimi cemetery in accordance with Islamic rites.
In November 2012, Buhari’s first daughter, Zulaihat Junaid (nee Buhari) died from sickle cell anaemia, two days after having a baby at a hospital in Kaduna.
Buhari contested the Presidential election as the candidate of the All Nigeria People’s Party on 2003.
On 18th December 2006, Gen. Buhari was nominated as the consensus candidate of the All Nigeria People’s Party.
His main challenger in the 2007 April polls was the ruling PDP’s Umaru Yar’Adua, who is also from the same state – Katsina and he lost. In March 2010, Buhari left the ANPP for the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), a party that he had helped to found.
He said that he had supported foundation of the CPC “as a solution to the debilitating, ethical and ideological conflicts in my former party the ANPP”.
Buhari was the CPC Presidential candidate in the 16 April 2011 general election, running against incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and Ibrahim Shekarau of ANPP.
They were the major contenders among 20 contestants. He was running on an anti-corruption platform and pledged to remove immunity protections from government officials. He also gave support to enforcement of Sharia law in Nigeria’s northern states, which had previously caused him political difficulties among Christian voters in the country’s south.
However, he remains a “folk hero” to some for his vocal opposition to corruption. Buhari won 12,214,853 votes, coming second to the incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP, who polled 22,495,187 votes and was declared the winner candidate.
Buhari won the 2015 general election, defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, thus marking the first time in Nigeria’s history that an incumbent President was defeated in an election by the leader of the opposition. He was sworn in on 29 May 2015.