Military Wiki
Muhammadu Buhari
7th Head of State of Nigeria

In office
December 31, 1983 – August 27, 1985
Preceded by Shehu Shagari
Succeeded by Ibrahim Babangida
Chairman Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

In office
June 1978 – July 1978
Preceded by Shehu Shagari
Succeeded by Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida
Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources

In office
March 1976 – June 1978
Preceded by Unknown
Succeeded by (Merged with NNOC to form NNPC)[1]
Governor of North-Eastern State of Nigeria

In office
August 1975 – March 1976
Preceded by Musa Usman
Succeeded by None as State Became Defunct
Personal details
Born December 17, 1942(1942-12-17) (age 80)
Katsina state, Nigeria
Nationality Nigerian
Political party Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)
Religion Islam
Military service
Service/branch Nigerian Army
Years of service 1962 - 1985
Rank Major General

Muhammadu Buhari (born December 17, 1942) was a Major General in the Nigerian Army and a former military ruler of Nigeria from December 31, 1983 to August 27, 1985.[2][3] The term Buharism is ascribed to the Buhari military government.[4][5] He also ran unsuccessfully for the office of the President of Nigeria in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections. His ethnic background is Fulani, and his faith is Islam; he is a native of Daura in Katsina State of Nigeria.

Minister of Petroleum

Having joined the army in 1962, Buhari first came to widespread public attention in 1976 when he became the Minister (or "Federal Commissioner") for Petroleum and Natural Resources under then-Head of State General Olusegun Obasanjo. Before then he served as Governor of the newly created North-Eastern State during the regime of Murtala Mohammed. He later became head of the newly created Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation[6] in 1977.[7]

Buhari military government

Major-General Buhari was 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 31, 1983. At the time, Buhari was head of the Third Armored Division of Jos.[8] Buhari was appointed Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and Tunde Idiagbon was appointed Chief of General Staff (the de facto No. 2 in the administration). Buhari justified the military's seizure of power by castigating the civilian government as hopelessly corrupt, and his administration subsequently initiated a public campaign against indiscipline known as "War Against Indiscipline" (WAI). Aspects of this campaign included public humiliation of civil servants who arrived late for work whilst guards were armed with whips to ensure orderly queues at bus stops.[9] He also moved to silence critics of his administration, passing decrees curbing press freedoms and allowing for opponents to be detained up to three months without formal charges.[10] He also banned strikes and lockouts by workers[10] and founded Nigeria's first secret police force, the National Security Organization.[11] His government sentenced popular musician and political critic Fela Kuti to ten years in prison on charges that Amnesty International denounced as fabricated and politically motivated;[12] Kuti was later pardoned and released by Buhari's successor.[13] In another high-profile incident that sparked a diplomatic incident with Britain, British officials found Buhari's former transportation minister drugged in a crate marked for shipment to Lagos.[14]

According to the BBC, "Buhari's attempts to re-balance public finances by curbing imports led to many job losses and the closure of businesses."[15] These losses were accompanied by a rise in prices and a decline in living standards.[15] Some may hold contrary view to this assertion and call it mischievous though,[16] because Buhari is admired by many for his uprightness and stand against corruption. His government is revered for its ability to keep the country afloat by making progress through sheer economic ingenuity even when it rejected IMF loan and refused to adopt IMF conditionalities to devalue the Naira.[17] His government is praised for its gain in reducing inflation by refusing to devalue the nation's currency, the Nigerian Naira, curbing imports of needless goods, curtailing oil theft and using counter trade policy to barter seized illegally bunkered crude oil for needful goods like machineries, enabling it to export above its OPEC quota.[2]

The economic principles and political ideology of the Buhari military government is called Buharism by some political and economic writers and speakers.[4][5]

Cabinet Ministers

Buhari's Cabinet Ministers
Head of State Muhammadu Buhari 1984–1985
Chief of Staff Tunde Idiagbon 1984–1985
Defense Domkat Bali 1984–1985
Agriculture Bukar Shuaib 1984–1985
Trade Mahmud Tukur 1984–1985
Communications A Abdullahi, Lt Col 1984–1985
Education Yarima Ibrahim 1984–1985
Finance Onaolapo Soleye 1984–1985
Abuja Mamman Jiya Vatsa 1984–1985
Health Emmanuel Nsan 1984–1985
Internal Affairs Mohammed Magoro 1984–1985
Foreign Affairs Ibrahim Gambari 1984–1985
Minister of Information Sam Omeruah 1984–1985
Transportation Abdullahi Ibrahim 1984–1985
Energy Tam David-West 1984–1985
Justice Chike Offodile 1984–1985
Works Patrick Koshoni 1984–1985

1985 coup and detention

In the face of the austerity measures, worsening economic conditions, and continued widespread corruption (this is questionable as corruption was said to have been at its lowest ebb in the Buhari/Idiagbon regime), Buhari was himself overthrown in a coup led by General Ibrahim Babangida and other members of the ruling Supreme Military Council (SMC) on August 27, 1985.[18] Babangida brought many of Buhari's most vocal critics into his administration, including Fela Kuti's brother Olukoye Ransome-Kuti, a doctor who had led a strike against Buhari to protest declining health care services.[13] Buhari was then detained in Benin City until 1988.[13]

Buhari's admirers believe that he was overthrown by corrupt elements in his government who were afraid of being brought to justice as his policies were beginning to yield tangible dividends in terms of public discipline, curbing corruption, lowering inflation, enhancing workforce and improving productivity.[19]

Later years

Buhari served as the Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), a body created by the government of General Abacha, and funded from the revenue generated by the increase in price of petroleum products, to pursue developmental projects around the country. A 1998 report in New African praised the PTF under Buhari for its transparency, calling it a rare "success story".[20] However, the same report also noted that critics had questioned the PTF's allocation of 20% of its resources to the military, which the critics feared would not be accountable for the revenue.[20]

In 2003, Buhari contested the presidential election[21] as the candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP). He was defeated by the People's Democratic Party nominee, President Olusẹgun Ọbasanjọ, by a margin of more than eleven million votes. It was claimed by Buhari's supporters and other members of the opposition that in some states, like Ebonyi, there were more votes than there were registered voters.[22][23] Although some allegations of fraud were proven in the courts and the conduct of the election was criticized by the Commonwealth Observer Group,[24] the consensus among Nigerians was that he should not waste his time in court as he did not have the necessary resources to "buy" himself justice[citation needed]. Eventually, the same court also decided that the level of proven electoral fraud was not sufficient to affect the outcome of the election and to warrant the cancellation of the whole Presidential election.[citation needed]

On 18 December 2006, Gen. Buhari was nominated as the consensus candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party. His main challenger in the April 2007 polls was the ruling PDP candidate, Umaru Yar'Adua, who hailed from the same home state of Katsina. In the election, Buhari officially took 18% of the vote against 70% for Yar'Adua, but Buhari rejected these results.[25] After Yar'Adua took office, the ANPP agreed to join his government, but Buhari denounced this agreement.[26]

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".[27]

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.[28] He was running on an anti-corruption platform and pledged to remove immunity protections from government officials.[14] 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.[9] However, he remains a "folk hero" to some for his vocal opposition to corruption.[14] 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.[29]


  1. "About DPR". 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Military Regime of Buhari and Idiagbon". Retrieved 12 September 2013.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Buhari-Idiagbon" defined multiple times with different content
  3. Max Siollun (October 2003). "Buhari and Idiagbon: A Missed Opportunity for Nigeria". Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (22 July 2002). "Buharism: Economic Theory and Political Economy". Lagos. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mohammed Nura (14 September 2010). "The Spontaneous 'Buharism' Explosion in the Polity". Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  6. Troubled journey By Levi Akalazu Nwachuku, G. N. Uzoigwe
  7. [1][dead link]
  8. Matthews, Martin P. Nigeria: current issues and historical background. p. 121.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari in profile". BBC News. 17 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Falola, Toyin and Matthew M. Heaton. A History of Nigeria. p. 214.
  11. Matthews, Martin P. Nigeria: current issues and historical background. p. 122.
  12. Shola Adenekan (2006-02-15). "Obituary: Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Falola, Toyin and Matthew M. Heaton. A History of Nigeria. p. 217.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "Former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari gains support as anti-corruption candidate in Nigeria". The Washington Post. 2011-04-06. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 [2][dead link]
  16. Adetayo Bamiduro (25 February 2011). "The Sins of Prof Tam David West (Abridged)". 
  17. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (July 2002). "BUHARISM: Economic Theory and Political Economy". 
  18. "Muhammad Buhari (head of state of Nigeria) - Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Development: PTF - shining in the gloom". June 1998. 
  21. "Nigeria: Facts and figures". BBC News. April 17, 2007. 
  22. "Profile: Muhammadu Buhari". BBC News. December 19, 2006. 
  23. "High drama in Abuja". BBC News. April 23, 2003. 
  25. "Huge win for Nigeria's Yar'Adua", BBC News, April 23, 2007.
  26. Felix Onuah and Camillus Eboh, "Nigerian president picks ministers", Reuters (IOL), July 4, 2007.
  27. Emeka Mamah (18 March 2010). "Buhari Joins Congress for Progressive Change". Vanguard. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  28. "Summary of the 2011 Presidential election results". 
  29. Festus Owete (April 21, 2011). "Congress for Progressive Change considers going to court". Next. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Shehu Shagari
Chairman of the Supreme Military Council of Nigeria
December 31, 1983 – August 27, 1985
Succeeded by
Ibrahim Babangida

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