Who is Muhammadu Buhari?

“I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody”

Muhammadu Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari was born in 1942, in Daura from a Fulani family in the Katsina state of Nigeria. His father died when he was 4 years old and was raised by his mother, Hajiya Zalaihat. Growing up as an orphan Buhari faced several challenges as he is the 23rd Child of his father, Malan Hardo Adamu.

Early Years

Following his primary school in Katsina, his mother encouraged him to further his education. He finished secondary school and then joined the military. He was trained in Kaduna, Great Britain, India and the united states. He was a brave soldier as he served in several military operations.

Buhari served as the military governor of the then Northeastern state (now Borno) and was appointed the role of minister of petroleum by the former head of states Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, following the assassination of Murtala Muhammed in 1976.

Military Life

The military overthrew the then civilian government led by late Shehu Shagari, after an outcry of corruption, dissatisfaction and battered economic conditions in the country. In 1983, those behind the overthrow of Shehu Shagari unanimously chose Buhari to be the new head of state in Nigeria.

Military Rule

There was a lot of economic crisis and problems during the civilian rule, Buhari inherited those problems from Shehu Shagari, and he took a firm stance against corruption, instituted austerity measures and arrested hundreds of Politicians and business officials. Buhari launched a “war against indiscipline”, a program which seeks to promote positive values in Nigerian society.

Following Buhari’s progress in trying to revive the economy and improve societal values, there was some economic backdrop as it was hard to recover the losses made during Shehu Shagari. In 1985, when the government began to move on track, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida took control of the government detained Buhari in Benin city. His mother died while he was in detention after her death Buhari was released, and then he retired from the military.

Buhari moved back to Katsina to establish a foundation which encouraged social and economic development. Afterwards, the then head of states Gen. Sani Abacha appointed him as the head of the petroleum trust fund, a body created to generate revenue for Nigeria.

First Democratic Contest

In 2003, Buhari contested for the office of President and was defeated by the incumbent Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP. In 2007, he contested again against PDP’s candidate Umaru Musa Yar’adua in an election strongly criticised by international observers as flawed with irregularities. Buhari contested again in 2011 against incumbent Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP.

In 2014, the APC nominated Buhari to stand as its presidential candidate for 2015. Before the election, Nigeria was heading towards recession due to corruption, impunity and lack of economic strategy by the PDP government. Just as 1983, Buhari inherited financial crisis, corruption and mismanagement.

Buhari wins 2015 election

His reputation for being incorruptible and his military background made him an attractive candidate, whom many Nigerians hoped might be able to more effectively handle the threat posed by the Boko Haram terror group, whose violent acts had terrorised parts of the country in recent years. Following his election victory over the incumbent Buhari gave the famous speech where he state that he belongs to everyone, and belongs to no-one. He came in with the promise to end Boko Haram crisis, create jobs for Nigerians and put Nigeria back on track.


In Buhari’s first year in office, due to the previous administration’s mismanagement, Nigeria suffered a decline in commodity prices which triggered an economic recession. To source funds to close a shortfall in revenue and fund an expansionary capital budget, Buhari travelled to 20 countries seeking loans. Thereby, expansionary budget allocation to finance infrastructure was pushed back to a further date.

The Naira depreciated in the black market leading to a gulf between the official exchange rate and the black-market rate. A resulting shortage in foreign exchange hit various businesses including petroleum marketers.

Buhari’s first tenure as president coincided with a decline in oil prices around the world, but his administration has not shown dedicated effort to diversify sources of government spending.

The 2018 budget signalled an expansionary fiscal policy with funds dedicated to infrastructural projects such as strategic roads, bridges and power plants. Buhari’s government have tried to recuperate the economy; however, the Nigerian economy has suffered an enormous blow during the previous administration.

Buhari’s followers argue that similar to what happened in 1985 when Buhari wasn’t allowed to rip the benefits of his hard work in putting Nigeria back on track, the PDP is trying to do the same and vote Buhari out and put Nigeria back to crisis.

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