Muhammadu Buhari (1942- )

The current President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, was born on December 17, 1942 at Daura, Katsina, Nigeria. His parents were Mallam Hardo Adamu and wife, Zulaihat. He was the 23rd child of his father. At the age of 19 Buhari enrolled in the Nigeria Military Training College at Kaduna, Kaduna state. In 1962-1963 he attended officer cadet training at Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, England. In 1965, he then took the Mechanical Transport Officers’ Course at the Army Mechanical Transport School in Borden, England before going on to the Defence Services’ Staff College, in Wellington, India in 1973 and finally to the United States Army War College in Washington, D.C. from 1979 to 1980.

In 1975 Buhari was involved in the military coup that ousted Yakubu Gowon and brought General Murtala Mohammed to power. He was appointed the military governor of North-Eastern State (Bornu) by Murtala in 1975. In March 1976, Buhari was appointed head of the Federal Commission for Petroleum and Natural Resources. When the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was created in 1976, Buhari was also appointed as its chairman, a position he held until 1978.

On December 31, 1983, a military coup ousted President Shehu Shagari and Buhari was chosen as Head of State by the coup leaders. As President, Buhari, introduced austerity measures to restore confidence in the economy. He was tough on rampant corruption in the country, initiating a “War on Indiscipline” in the government and private sector. This national campaign advocated a strong work ethic, emphasized patriotism, and denounced corruption. Civil servants who were late for work, for example, were publicly humiliated.

Muhammadu Buhari in Borno (Vanguard News)
Muhammadu Buhari in Borno (Vanguard News)

On August 27, 1985 Major General Ibrahim Babangida took power in a coup. Buhari was detained in Benin City and released in 1988. Eventually restored to power by coup leaders, between 1995 and 1998, Buhari served as the Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund.

In 2003, 2007 and 2011 Buhari ran unsuccessfully for President of Nigeria. On March 28, 2015, however, he defeated the incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan and was inaugurated into the nation’s highest political office on May 29, 2015. On February 23, 2019 he won re-election.

President Buhari With Family (Premium Times Nigeria)
President Buhari With Family (Premium Times Nigeria)

As president of Nigeria, Buhari has had to face major issues during his terms of office including the Boko Haram insurgency in the north, kidnappings for ransom and rebels in the Niger Delta region, and ongoing economic recession. In addition, Buhari, who was 66 when reelected in 2019, has had major health issues which resulted in him seeking treatment overseas and, consequently, long absences from Nigeria.

Buhari married Safinatu Yusuf in 1971. They have four girls and a boy: Zulaihat, Fatima, Hadiza, Safinatu and Musa. They divorced in 1988. He married Aisha Halilu in 1989 and they have four girls and a boy: Aisha, Halima, Zahra, Amina and Yusuf.

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