Muhammadu Buhari GCFR (born 17 December 1942) is the President of Nigeria, in office since 2015. He is a retired Major General in the Nigerian Army and previously served as the nation’s Head of State from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after taking power in a military coup d’état.The term Buharism is ascribed to the Buhari military government.
He unsuccessfully ran for the office of President in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 general elections. In December 2014, he emerged as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the March 2015 general elections. Buhari won the election, defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. This marked the first time in the history of Nigeria that an incumbent president lost to an opposition candidate in a general election. He was sworn in on 29 May 2015.
Buhari has stated that he takes responsibility for anything over which he presided during his military rule, and that he cannot change the past. He has described himself as a “converted democrat”.
Muhammadu Buhari was born on 17 December 1942, in Daura, Katsina State, to his father Adamu and mother Zulaihat. He is the twenty-third child of his father. Buhari was raised by his mother, after his father died when he was about four years old.
He attended primary school in Daura and Mai’adua before proceeding to Katsina Model School in 1953, and to Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College Katsina) from 1956 to 1961.
2003 presidential elections
In 2003, Buhari ran for office in the presidential election 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 11 million votes.
2007 presidential elections
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. After Yar’Adua took office, the ANPP agreed to join his government, but Buhari denounced this agreement.
2011 presidential elections
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”.
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. He was campaigning on an anti-corruption platform and pledged to remove immunity protections from government officials. 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.
The elections were marred by widespread sectarian violence, which claimed the lives of 800 people across the country, as Buhari’s supporters attacked Christian settlements in the country’s centre regions.The three-day uprising was blamed in part on Buhari’s inflammatory comments. In spite of assurances from Human Rights Watch, who had judged the elections as “among the fairest in Nigeria’s history”, Buhari claimed that the poll was flawed and warned that “If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood”.
However, he remains a “folk hero” to some for his vocal opposition to corruption. Buhari won 12,214,853 votes, coming in second to the incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP, who polled 22,495,187 votes and was declared the winner.
2015 presidential elections
In the run up to the 2015 Presidential elections, the campaign team of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan asked for the disqualification of General Buhari from the race, claiming that he is in breach of the Constitution. According to the fundamental document, in order to qualify for election to the office of the President, an individual must be “educated up to at least School certificate level or its equivalent”. Buhari has failed to submit any such evidence, claiming that he lost the original copies of his diplomas when his house was raided following his overthrow from power in 1985.
Buhari ran in the 2015 Presidential election as a candidate of the All Progressives Congress party. His platform was built around his image as a staunch anti-corruption fighter and his incorruptible and honest reputation. However, Buhari stated in an interview that he would not probe past corrupt leaders and that he would give officials who stole in the past amnesty, insofar as they repent.
In January 2015, the insurgent group “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta” (MEND) endorsed Buhari in the Presidential race, saying he is the best candidate to lead the country.
Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign was briefly advised by former Obama campaign manager, David Axelrod, and his AKPD consultancy.
In February 2015, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo quit the ruling PDP party and threw his support behind the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket.
On 31 March, incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan called Buhari to offer his concession and congratulations for his election as president.Buhari was sworn in on 29 May 2015 in a ceremony attended by at least 23 Heads of State and Government.