Nigerian Leaders From 1960 to Date.


What they did and when they left office

Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe


National President of Nigeria (October 1, 1960 – January 15, 1966)

Nnamdi Azikiwe, popularly called ‘Zik’, was the first president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was born in the year 1904 and died On May 11, 1996. 

General J.T.U. Aguyi-Ironsi


He was the first military head of state. He seized power following the January 15 military coup. He was born March 3, 1924, and was assassinated on July 29, 1966, by a group of Northern army soldiers who revolted against his government. 

General Yakubu GowonIMG_20200516_230114

Was born in the year 1934. He was the second military Head of State. He seized power after a military coup d’état and was overthrown in another coup. During his rule as Head of State, the Nigerian government successfully Biafran succession during the three-year civil war between 1967 – 1970. He is also the leader responsible for establishing the Nigerian Youth Service Corp (NYSC) to reconcile the nation.

General Murtala MohammedIMG_20200516_230130

was born in the year 1938, he was a military ruler until his assassination on February 13, 1976. He seized power following an overthrow of the government in 1975. Murtala played lead roles in previous coups and the bloody Asaba Massacre. 

He was also responsible for the change of the country’s capital from Lagos to Abuja and creating seven more states namely, Benue, Borno, Ogun, Imo, Ondo, Bauchi, and Niger.

General Olusegun ObansanjoIMG_20200516_230145

was born in the year 1937. Following a failed coup by Lt. Col. Dimka, Obasanjo was chosen as head of state by the Supreme Military Council on 13 February 1976. During his, rule the nation saw an increase in oil revenue, industrialization, and education. 

Obasanjo resigned as Head of State and also resigned from the army on 1 October 1979, handing over power to the newly elected civilian president of Shehu Shagari.

Alhaji Shehu ShagariIMG_20200516_230243

was born in the year 1925 and served as Nigeria’s second democratic president and only president in the second republic, following a handover from Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo in 1979. 

Shehu won the general election in 1983 but was overthrown in December that same year, by General Muhammadu Buhari in a military coup.

General Muhammadu BuhariIMG_20200516_230303

Muhammadu Buhari was born December 17, 1942. He came into power following the December 31, 1983, coup. Buhari justified the military’s seizure of power by branding the civilian government as hopelessly corrupt. 

General Ibrahim Badamasi BabangidaIMG_20200516_230313

was born in the year 1941. Babangida was a key player in most of the military coups in Nigeria. He finalized the relocation of the federal government from Lagos to Abuja and was attributed to the famous letter bomb killing of magazine editor, Dele Giwa. His regime saw failed coups as well as rise and fall of the Nigerian economy.

Chief Ernest ShonekanIMG_20200516_230334

was born May 9, 1936, in Lagos, Colonial Nigeria. He was an interim president, ruling the country for almost three months before a palace coup led by General Sani Abacha forcefully dismantled the remaining democratic institutions and brought the government back under military control on the 17th of November 1993.

General Sani Abacha


Was born in the year 1943. He seized power in November 1983 and was nothing short of a feared dictator. He issued a decree that placed his government above the jurisdiction of the courts, giving him absolute power.

Another decree gave him the right to detain anyone for up to three months without trial. His regime saw tremendous economic turnaround however human rights were heavily abused. He died on June 8, 1998.

General Abdulsalam IMG_20200516_230402

was born in the year 1942. He was sworn in as Head of State in 1998 following the death of military Head of State, Gen.Abacha. Abdusalam had never held a public office, therefore, he quickly announced a transition to civilian rule the following year. 

Chief Olusegun ObasanjoIMG_20200516_230411

 Chief Olusegun Obasanjo won the 1999 election making him the first president of the third republic. Under his administration, the country witness groundbreaking development such as the introduction of telecommunication and mobile phones. 

Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua


Was born 16 August 1951. He was a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The peaceful president struggled with various health issues over the years and succumbed to them as he died in office May 5, 2010. 

Goodluck Jonathan


Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was born 20 November 1957. He is nothing short of lucky. A leader who has always mounted power due to the demise or apprehension of his superior, Goodluck Jonathan served as acting president following the passing of the elected president Umar Musa Yar’Adua. Amidst controversies, he captured the heart of the nation and become the third president of the third republic

Muhamadu BuhariIMG_20200516_230444

Muhammadu Buhari is the current president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Once a military Head of State, Buhari won the 2015 election under the All Progressive Congress (APC), campaigning ‘Change’



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