List of Nigerian Presidents and Heads of State


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In less day a month time, Nigerians go vote to elect dia next president.

Di newly elected President go lead di kontri for anoda four years and replace President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Buhari tenure go end for May dis year afta eight years for office.

Since di kontri gain Independence from Britain, 16 pipo don rule either as President or military Head of State.

BBC go list all of dem and di time dem serve for office inside dis tori.

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa:1960 – 1966


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Tafawa Balewa serve as di first and only Prime Minister of Nigeria afta independence

Tafawa Balewa serve as di first and only Prime Minister of Nigeria afta independence.

Balewa die for 1966 afta dem remove am from office during one military coup.

Di late Prime minister na im dey di face of Nigeria ₦5 naira note.

Nnamdi Azikwe : October 1, 1963 – January 16, 1966


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Nnamdi Azikiwe aka “Zik” na di first President of Nigeria

Nnamdi Benjamin Azikiwe na di first President of Nigeria, e rule di kontr for three years.

Dem born am for November 16, 1904, for Zungeru town inside present day Niger State.

Plenti pipo see am as one ogbonge force behind Nigeria independent. Na why dem dey popularly call am “father of Nigeria Nationalism”.

Dem comot am and im civilian from office for di first ever Nigeria military coup for 15 January, 1966.

Na im be di most prominent politician wey dem no kpai after di coup.

Major General Aguiyi Ironsi : January16, 1966 – July 29, 1966


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Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi na Nigeria first military ruler

Gen Aguiyi Ironsi na Nigeria  first Nigerian Military ruler.

E enta office for January 1966 after di coup wey seize power from di kontri democratic goment.

But im die dat same year for July from sojas wey bin dey attempt a counter coup.

Dem born Gen Ironsi for Umuana Ndume Ibeku in Umahia, Abia state.

General Yakubu Gowon: August 1, 1966 – July 29, 1975


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Gowon na di youngest political and military leader to rule Nigeria

Yakubu Gowon na di youngest political and military leader to rule Nigeria.

Gowon rule Nigeria at di age of 31 as Military Head Of State.

Na during im reign di civil war bin happun for di kontri. Wen di eastern region bin declare formal secession to become di Republic of Biafra.

After di civil war Gowon tink am e dey wise to NYSC as an avenue for reconciliation, reconstruction, and rebuilding of di nation.

General Murtala Muhammed: July 29, 1975 – February 13, 1976


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General Murtala Mohammed overthrow General Yakubu Gowon

General Murtala Muhammed rule Nigeria as military head of state from 29 July, 1975 – 13 February 1976 wen dem assassinate am for one failed coup.

Im bin dey go im office for Dodan Barracks, wen dem ambush and kill am inside im black Mercedes car.

Im assassination na part of di attempted coup wey Lt. Col Buka Suka Dimka lead, imsef chop executtion for 15 May 1976 for di Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison for Lagos  for treason.

Na im lead di counter-coup of 1966 wey comot Aguiyi Ironsi for power and put Gen. Yakubu Gowon.

Im Chief of Staff, General Olusegun Obasanjo take over from wia e stop.

General Olusegun Obasanjo: February 13, 1976- October 1, 1979


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Jimmy Carter wit Nigerian Military leader Olusegun Obasanjo

Gen Obasanjo na di number two man for di military goment of Murtala Mohammed.

Wen dem assassinate Mohammed for 1976, na him take ova to became head of state at di age of 39.

Obasanjo chair di elections for 1979 and hand ova power to an elected president.

Di first Nigerian army ruler to do so for di kontri.

Shehu Shagari: October 1,1979 – December 31, 1983


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Nigerian President Shehu Shagari bin meet wit Queen Elizabeth II wen im arrive Victoria Station for London, for 1981

Shehu Shagari na di first first Nigeria president wey dem elect democratically after di military rule of Gen. Obasanjo wey continue power after dem kpai Gen. Murtala Mohammed for one coup wey no dey successful.

Na im Gen. Obasanjo willingly hand over power to.

Im goment na im begin di second republic.

Plenti accuse of corruption dey inside im goment but e dem exonerate am.

For 1981, im goment launch one ogbonge mass literacy campaign and for 1982 dem introduce 6–3–3–5 system of education.

Shagari goment build plenti tertiary institutions for Nigeria.

Im goment dey overthrown by di military coup of Major General Buhari for 1983 and e also chop arrest.

E die for one hospital for Abuja in 2018.

Major General muhammadu Buhari: December 31, 1983 – August 27, 1985


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Gen Buhari spend 20 months as Nigeria military leader for 1980s

For 1983, Gen Buhari become head of state afta coup wen remove di elected goment of Shehu Shagari.

Im regime restrict imports wey bin lead to job losses and business closures.

As military leader im introduce new currency to tackle corruption.

General Ibrahim Babangida: August 27, 1985 – August 27, 1993


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Na Babangida cancel di June 12 election wey many see as di fairest for Nigeria history

General Ibrahim Babangida alias IBB or Maradona as plenti kontri pipo bin dey call dat time rule Nigeria as military head of state from 27 August, 1985 – 27 August 1993.

E dey popular as di leader wey cancel di 1993 election wey kontri pipo plus international community consider as di most peaceful and freest and fairest for Nigeria history.

June 12 Presidential elections 1993 election na di first afta di 1983 military coup for Nigeria.

Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (MKO) run for di SDP while Bashir Tofa run for NRC.

IBB cancel di election ontop allegation of wuru-wuru and mago-mago.

For one interview in 2021 Gen. Babangida Rtd. say “If to sey we allow June 12 happen e for cause violence. “

If to say we no use maradonic way, coup for don happun. A bloody coup wey for give room for instability for happun.” E tok.

Chief Ernest Shonekan: August 26, 1993 – November 17, 1993


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Chief Ernest Shonekan for UN Conference for New York

Oga Shonekan be interim head of di Nigerian Government between August 26 and November 17 1993.

Na one coup wey late General Sani Abacha carry out na im comot am from office.

Na General Ibrahim Babangida appoint am as Interim President.

Shonekan die for Lagos, south-west of Nigeria at di age of 85 for 2022.

General Sani Abacha: November 17, 1993 – June 8, 1998


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Abacha rule Nigeria for 5 years wit strong hand

General Sani Abacha na Nigeria former military ruler wey die unexpectedly on di 8th June 1998 for di age of 54 years.

Abacha, wey be Minister of Defence, use military coup by force collect power from caretaker president Ernest Shonekan 17 November 1993 and rule di kontri until im die for 1998.

E goment dey accuse of widespread human rights abuses, so tey dem suspend Nigeria from di Commonwealth afta di execution of nine human rights activists for 1995.

Before im become head of state im get hand for two coups before e become minister of defence.

Between 1967-72 – During Nigeria civil war , Abacha fight for di federal side against Biafra and dat time e continue to dey chop express promotion for army.

Nigeria goment still dey recover di money wey e still go hide for overseas.

General Abulsalami Abubakar: June 9, 1998 – May 29, 1999


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Abubakar succeed General Sani Abacha afta im die

General Abdulsalami Abubakar enta power afta di death of General Sani Abacha for 1998 and e comot for 1999 after e hand over power to a civilian President for 1999.

Wen e enta goment for 1998, e promise to conduct democratic election within one year and return goment to di civilian.

Na im establish di Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to oversee di election.

True to im words, e transfer power to Olusegun Obasanjo wey dem elect on di platform of di peoples democratic party (PDP) for 1999.

Olusegun Obasanjo: May 29, 1999 – May 29, 2007


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Obasanjo serve two terms as President as civilian afta im bin rule Nigeria as military Head of State

Former military ruler Olusegun Obasanjo return to power afta im officially win di presidential elections for Nigeria.

Dem elect am as a civilian president, afta im return from prison.

For 1995, Abacha goment send am go prison first for 30years before dem reduce im sentence to 15years- e comot prison for 1998 following di death of Abacha.

E rule for eight years and for 2006 during constitution amendment, Obasanjo bin propose “third term agenda” to di National Assembly ” to allow president do three terms instead of two for office – di attempt no dey successful.

For different occasions, e don clear di air say no be say im dey try to prolong im stay for office.

“If I bin want a third term, I know how to go about am. And nothing dey wey I want wey God never give me,” e tell Channels Television for 2012.

Na im goment create di two anti graft bodies for di kontri – ICPC and EFCC.

Umaru Musa Yar’Adua: 29 May, 2007 – May 5, 2010


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Yar’Adua serve as Govnor of Katsina before im become President of Nigeria

Umar Musa Yar’adua take ova from President Olusegun Obasanjo afta e win di general election for 2007.

E dey quoted saying di election wey bring am to power dey “massively rigged”.

Yar’adua take im oath of office dat same year but die for 2010 before im finish im tenure after e bin dey sick well well.

Im deputy, Goodluck Jonathan take ova di leadership of di kontri afta Yar’adua controversial death.

Im goment dey popular for giving amnesty to some militants from di Niger-Delta.

Goodluck Jonathan: 6 May, 2010 –  May 29, 2015


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Jonathan act as Vice President under Yar’Adua before im become President

Goodluck Jonathon become President afta e win Nigeria general election for 2011.

Jonathan wey contest under di PDP emerge winner of di election dat year.

Before im run for President im act as vice president to President Umar Yar’Adua

E hold dat office until 2015 wen e run again but lose to Muhammadu Buhari of APC.

Goodluck na di first pesin for South-South to become President of Nigeria.

Many pipo for im administration chop accuse of corruption and money laundering including im Minister for Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

GEJ as e dey fondly called dey popular for conceeding early during di 2015 presidential election by calling im major opponent before di announcement of result.

Muhammadu Buhari: 29 May, 2015 – to date


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Buhari become President many years afta im rule as military Head Of State

Buhari na di first opposition to win di 2015 presidential election, e defeat di opposition t an incumbent

Afta im victory im make some big promises .

Im promise to beat corruption and Boko Haram insurgents but all of dis issues still dey worry for di kontri.

For many occasions, Buhari don tok say “I don do my best for Nigeria” and “history go dey kind to me “.

When be di presidential election for Nigeria?

Nigeria elections dey due to take place on Saturday 25 February 2023. If no clear winner emerge, den dem go for second round wey go take place within three weeks.

Di head of di election commission don dismiss suggestions say dem fit move di election sake of insecurity.

Who dey run for president?

A total of 18 candidates dey campaign for di top job, but only three get a realistic chance of winning, according to opinion polls.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, 70, dey stand for di governing All Progressives Congress (APC) party. Im dey known as a political godfather for south-west region, im get big influence but e dey allegations of corruption ova di years and poor health, both of dem im don deny am. Some say im campaign slogan Emi Lokan, wey mean “na my turn [to be president]” for Yoruba language, dey show a sense of entitlement. 

Atiku Abubakar, 76, dey run on behalf of di main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Im don run for presidency five times before – all of which im don lose. Most of im career im don dey corridors of power, e work as a top civil servant, vice-president under Olusegun Obasanjo and a prominent businessman. Just like OgaTinubu, him dey face accuse of corruption and cronyism, all dis accuse im don deny am. 

Peter Obi, 61, dey hope to break up di two-party system wey don dey Nigeria since di end of military rule for 1999 and e dey run for Labour Party. Although im bin dey PDP until last year, im get big support on social media and among Nigeria youth. Obi wey be rich businessman serve as governor of Anambra State for south-east from 2006 to 2014. Im supporters, dey call demself “OBIdients” dem say im be di the only candidate wit integrity, but im critics dey argue say a vote for Obi na waste as im dey unlikely to win.

How Nigeria dey elect dia President?

In order to win, a candidate gatz get di highest number of votes nationwide, and more than a quarter of ballots cast in at least two-thirds of di states for Nigeria.

If none of di candidates manage dis, den dem go go second round, or a run-off, within 21 days between di top two candidates.

Additional reporting by Jelilat Olawale