With the clamour for the 2023 election year upon us, we at Experiencing Naija thought that it will be befitting to discuss Nigeria’s highest political office, the Presidency.
Let’s face it, if we are heralding Nigerian Excellence there truly is no better place to discuss.
The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the head of state and head of government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The President of Nigeria is also the nation’s commander-in-chief of the Nigerian Armed forces.
Especially in this political climate, Nigerians are familiar with a couple of Presidential aspirants past and present and have their opinions about who they think should occupy the coveted position.
But being a non-partisan enterprise, we focus on all the individuals who have held the position of President of the most populous black nation in the world.
If you have had the chance to study the Nigerian Presidency, you will discover that there has been quite the evolution of the name and role of the Nigerian President since Nigeria got her independence in 1960. In addition, Nigerian is currently in a democratic dispensation and holds her presidential elections after four years. The office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria constitutionally allows for a maximum of two tenures of four year term per tenure. As the 2019 elections resulted in an incumbent President, the nation is gearing up for a new President in 2023.
Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960 with Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa serving as Prime Minister and Nnamdi Azikiwe as the first governor-general of a federation of three regions. On the 1st of October 1963, Nigeria became a Federal Republic and an amended constitution replaced the office of the governor-general with that of the President. Nnamdi Azikiwe was sworn into office of president on the 1st of October 1963. A failed coup d’etat in January 1966 resulted in General Aguiyi-Ironsi being named as Military Head of State. By July 1966 another coup led to the appointment of General Yakubu Gowon as the head of the new military government. In 1975, General Gowon was deposed by General Murtala Mohammed as head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria until his assassination in 1976 after which General Olusegun Obasanjo assumed office of head of state. General Obasanjo saw to the completion of the democratic transition and in 1979, Nigeria adopted a federal presidential constitution with Alhaji Shehu Shagari becoming the first democratically elected President. In December 1983, Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s government was overthrown and General Muhammadu Buhari emerged as the new head of state. In August 1985, Major General Ibrahim Babangida peacefully overthrew General Buhari’s government becoming President and Chairman of the Armed Forces ruling council. in August 1993, General Babangida stepped down and chose an interim government to replace him. Ernest Shonekan became the interim President. in November 1993, General Sani Abacha seized power and became the President till the 8th of June 1998 when he died at the Presidential villa in Abuja. Major General Abdulsalami Abubakar became the new President and stepped down on the 29th of May 1999. the country returned to a democratic system of government and former president Olusegun Obasanjo became the President serving two tenures before handing over to Umaru Yar’Aduwa in May 2007. President Yar’Aduwa died on the 5th of May 2010 and Vice President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in on the 6th of May 2010 as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. President Goodluck Jonathan served as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria till 2015 when a new president was elected. President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 29th of May 2015 as the 15th Nigerian President, the coveted position he still holds till date.
Like most countries around the world, it is clear that the office of the Nigerian President has had a colourful history which is to be expected from a diverse country such as Nigeria.
More Nigerians than will care to admit have wondered what it would be like if they were to be President for a day. I mean, beyond your typical primary school essay, we have wondered about the President and what he does as a President of Nigeria.
Even as this post focuses largely on the history of the Presidents of the country, we would like to hear more historical facts in the comments and plead that the comments are respectful.
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