A picture of Muhammadu Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari is a Nigerian former army general and currently a politician who is serving as the Nigerian 5th civilian President since 2015. He previously, served as the Nigerian 5th Military Head of State from 1983 to 1985.

Muhammadu Buhari was and still one of the most respected and influential Nigerians. He earned most of his reputation while he was a soldier especially due to his participation in the Nigerian Civil War and his serving as the military head of state. Most importantly, Buhari was believed by many Nigerians as non-corrupt leader.

Early Life Muhammadu Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari was born on 17 December, 1942, in Daura, Katsina State. His father Adamu and mother Zulaihat were both Fulani. His father died in 1947 when Buhari was not more than five years of age.

Muhammadu Buhari began his education at the Daura Elementary School in 1948 and later went to Mai’adua Elementary School where he finished in 1952. Buhari later attended Katsina Middle School from 1953 to 1956, and later Katsina Provincial Secondary School from 1956 to 1962.

Military Career Muhammadu Buhari


From January to November 1973, Buhari attended Army War College in the United States.

Muhammadu Buhari joined the Nigerian Army in 1962 when he enrolled into the Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna. Later, Buhari was sent to the Mons Officers’ Cadet School, Aldershot, England, where he received a cadet training until 1963. From May to June 1965, Buhari attended Army Mechanical Transport School in England.

Muhammadu Buhari attended Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India, from January to November 1973. Later, from 1979 to 1980, he attended military training at the Army War College in the United States.


In 1963, Muhammadu Buhari was commissioned as a second lieutenant. With the new rank, he was appointed the Platoon Commander in the Second Infantry Battalion of the Nigerian Army. Due to his specialization in Mechanical Transport, between 1964 to 1965, Buhari served as the Mechanical Transport Officer of the Lagos Garrison Transport Company and later a Transport Company Commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade Transport Company.

In 1965, Muhammad Buhari was appointed a Battalion Commander of the 2 Infantry Battalion, the position he held until 1967.


In January 1966, some young Igbo army officers staged a military coup that led to the death some top Northern Nigerian political leaders such as Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa and Northern Premier Sir Ahmadu Bello. Therefore, in July 1966, some Northern military officers including Muhammadu Buhari led by Murtala Muhammad staged a counter coup that led to the killing the then Military Head of State General Aguyi-Ironsi.


In May 1967, the Nigerian Civil War broke out as a result of the Eastern Region’s declaration of secession from Nigeria. During the Civil War, initially Muhammadu Buhari was assigned to the Nigerian Army 1st Division with responsibility of attacking the secessionist territory from the east. Later during War, Buhari was made a brigade major and commander of the 4 Infantry Brigade in 1968 until the end of the Civil War in 1970.


After the Nigerian Civil War in 1970, Muhammadu Buhari became commander of the 31 Infantry Brigade until 1971. Between 1971 to 1975, Buhari served at different positions that included assistant adjutant-general of the 1 Infantry Division, colonel general staff of the 3 Infantry Division, and later director of Supply and Transport of the Nigerian Army.


In July 1975, General Murtala Muhammad overthrew General Yakubu Gowon from power in a military coup. During the Coup, Muhammadu Buhari played a good role. Therefore, due to his contribution, General Murtala appointed Buhari a military governor of the North-Eastern State that today comprised states of Borno, Bauchi, Adamawa, Taraba, Yobe, and Gombe. Buhari remain the governor of the North-Eastern State until 1976, when he was appointed the commissioner (minister) for Petroleum Resources and chairman Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

In 1979, the army left the power, and Nigeria returned to the democratic civilian rule. Therefore, Muhammadu Buhari also returned to his army regular duties. In 1980, he was appointed the general officer commanding (GOC).

Head of State

On 31 December, 1983, Muha,cmmadu Buhari became the Nigerian Military Head of State after a group of some army officers overthrown the democratically elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari.

On 1 January, 1984, Muhammadu Buhari assumed power, and reasoned that Nigeria was full of corruption, and therefore clearly declared that his government would focused on fighting corruption and indiscipline. That was why he immediately ordered the capture of many politicians who were accused of corruption. In the process, many politicians such as former governors and ministers were convicted and sentenced to different terms of imprisonment.


In March 1984, Muhammadu Buhari introduced a social reformation policy aimed at correcting social indiscipline. The policy was tagged ‘War Against Indiscipline’ (WAI). Under the policy, corruption and abused of power was stopped. Also, patriotism and abiding by the law and order was enforced. However, many people criticized the policy as an authoritarian in nature due to the harsh methods of its implementation. For example, in many instances soldiers humiliated people as part reforming their behavior.

Overthrown from Power and Detention

Buhari’s administration continued to be criticized by using harsh methods in the implementation of its policies. Also, the administration was criticized as not capable to handle the problems of the Nigerian economy properly. Therefore, on 27 August, 1985, Buhari was overthrown in a military coup in which General Ibrahim Babangida replaced him.

After the coup, Muhammadu Buhari was captured and imprisoned until 1988, when he was released. After his released, Buhari went into personal life where he lived between his two homes in Kaduna and Daura. During those years, he engaged in farming activities and keeping livestocks. In his home state of Katsina, he was appointed the chairman social and economic development in the state.


In 1994, the then Military government of General Sani Abacha created a commission called the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and appointed Muhammadu Buhari as its chairman. The PTF was designed to be funded from the money received from the sell of the petroleum products. While the primary objectives of the PTF was to used the money in excute developmental projects in various sectors such as the :

  • health
  • education
  • roads
  • security services
  • food and water supply

While Muhammadu Buhari was serving as Chairman of the PTF, he worked tirelessly and effectively in the actualization of the above sectors. PTF’s work under Buhari have proved its work into reality in which many developmental projects were made nationwide and many Nigerians commended the tremendous work.

Bid for the Presidency and the Presidency

After Nigeria returned to the democratic rule in 1999, Muhammadu Buhari became interested in entering into politics. Therefore, after consultation with aquintances, he entered into politics in which he joined the All Nigerian People’s Party in 2002. In 2003, Buhari became the ANPP presidential candidate for the 2003 presidential election, but, lost the election to the incumbent Olusegun Obasanjo of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Buhari also, contested again for the presidency under the platform of the ANPP, but still lost the election to the PDP candidate Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua.

In 2010, Muhammadu Buhari left the ANPP and joined the newly formed party the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Again, Buhari contested for the seat of the president under the platform of CPC during the 2011 presidential election, but unfortunately lost to the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan.

In 2013, four political parties merged together and formed a new party called the All People’s Congress (APC) for the upcoming 2015 presidential election. The political parties that merged were as follows :

  • Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)
  • All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP)
  • Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)

In December 2014, during the APC National Convention held in Lagos, Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential ticket of the Party.

Between 28 to 29 March, 2015, presidential election was held in Nigeria. Buhari contested the seat against the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP. After the votes casted were counted, Buhari emerged victorious with 15,424,921 popular votes against the Jonathan’s 12,853,162.

On 29 May, 2015, Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as the newly Nigerian democratically elected executive president. In his inaugural address, Buhari emphasised that his government would concentrated on fighting corruption and insecurity. He also added that his government is a government of the people. As I quote he said :

” I belong to no one and I belong to everybody “

However, not so long after his taking office, the country went into economic recession in 2016 to around the end of the 2018. During the recession, poverty and hunger started to become rampant. Nigerians criticized Buhari’s government as a government that lacked proactiveness in tackling the problems facing the country.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *