|11th Head of State of Nigeria|
9 June 1998 – 29 May 1999
|Chief of General Staff||Michael Akhigbe|
|Preceded by||Sani Abacha|
|Succeeded by||Olusegun Obasanjo|
|Minister of Defence|
9 June 1998 – 29 May 1999
|Preceded by||Sani Abacha|
|Succeeded by||Theophilus Danjuma|
|Chief of Defence Staff|
21 December 1997 – 9 June 1998
|Preceded by||Oladipo Diya|
|Succeeded by||Al-Amin Daggash|
|Born||13 June 1942|
Minna, Northern Region, British Nigeria
(now Minna, Niger State, Nigeria)
|Political party||none (military)|
|Spouse||Fati Lami Abubakar|
|Branch/service|| Nigerian Air Force|
|Years of service||1963–1966 (Air Force)|
|Battles/wars||Nigerian Civil War|
1978 South Lebanon conflict
Abdulsalami Abubakar / / ⓘ; born 13 June 1942) is a Nigerian statesman and retired Nigerian army general who served as the military head of state of Nigeria from 1998 to 1999. He was also Chief of Defence Staff from 1997 to 1998. He succeeded General Sani Abacha upon his death.(
During his leadership, Nigeria adopted a modified version of the 1979 constitution, which provided for multiparty elections. He transferred power to president-elect Olusegun Obasanjo on 29 May 1999. He is the current Chairman of the National Peace Committee.
From 1950 to 1956 he attended Minna Native Authority Primary school. From 1957 to 1962, he had his secondary school education at Government College, Bida, Niger State. From January to October 1963 he studied at Kaduna Technical College.
Air force career
Abubakar is a member of the pioneering sets of officer cadets who enlisted into the Nigerian Air force on 3 October 1963. From 1964- 1966, he was flown to Uetersen, West Germany with a team of officer cadets, for Basic and Advance Military Training. When he returned to Nigeria in 1966 he was seconded to the Nigerian Army.
Career in the army
After joining the army in 1966 as an officer cadet, Abubakar attended the emergency combatant short service course two. In October 1967, Abubakar was commissioned second lieutenant, infantry division, Nigerian army. From 1967 to 1968, Abubakar was general staff officer two, second garrison, and commanding officer, 92 infantry battalion from 1969 to 1974. Between 1974 and 1975, he was made brigade major, 7th infantry brigade. In 1975 he served as commanding officer, 84 infantry battalion. In 1978–1979, Abubakar was commanding officer for the 145 infantry battalion (NIBATT II), United Nations Interim force, Lebanon.
In 1979 he was made assistant adjutant general 3rd Infantry division, Nigeria. From 1980 to 1982, Abubakar was chief instructor at the Nigerian Defence Academy. In 1982 he was appointed as the colonel of administration and quartering, 1st mechanised division. A position he held up until 1984. From 1985 to 1986, Abubakar was the commander 3rd mechanised brigade. He served as the military secretary of the army, 1986–1988. Abubakar was made general officer commanding 1st mechanised division 1990–1991. Between 1991 and 1993, he was the principal staff officer, as the army chief of plan and policy, Defence Headquarters.
From 1997 to 1998, General Sani Abacha appointed Abubakar as the Chief of Defence Staff. Upon Abacha's death on 8 June 1998, one day later Abubakar was named military President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Nigeria had been ruled by military leaders since Muhammadu Buhari seized power from Shehu Shagari in a 1983 coup. Although democratic elections had been held in 1993, they were annulled by General Ibrahim Babangida. Reported to have had an initial reluctance to accepting the position, Abubakar was sworn in as president on 9 June 1998 after the unexpected death of Abacha. He declared a weeklong period of national mourning.
A few days after assuming office, Abubakar promised to hold elections within a year and transfer power to an elected president. He established the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), appointing former Supreme Court Justice Ephraim Akpata as chairman. The INEC held a series of elections first for Local Government Areas in December 1998, then for State Assemblies and Governors, National Assemblies and finally for the President on 27 February 1999. Although efforts were made to ensure that the elections were free and fair, there were widespread irregularities that drew criticism from foreign observers.
Transfer of power
Abubakar's legacy is mixed. A lecture circuit at Chicago State University in Chicago, Illinois, United States featuring him encountered opposition, because he had supported Abacha's government. (Abacha's administration was notorious for its human rights abuses). He was also sued in that country by other Nigerians who claimed he was responsible for the death of 1993 president-elect Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, who died in custody after being prevented by the military from taking office, and for the violation of the rights of others during his administration. Abubakar helped in the Liberian peace movement by presiding over the 2003 peace talks between Charles Taylor and the opposing rebels. This is seen in the movie Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Abubakar also chaired the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Zimbabwe presidential election in 2002, which concluded that "the conditions in Zimbabwe did not adequately allow for a free expression of will by the electors."
Abubakar is married to Fati and they have six children together.
Awards and honours
Abudulsalami Abubakar has received several awards and medals. In alphabetical order they include:
- Defence Service Medal (DSM)
- Distinguished Service Medal (DSM)
- Forces Service Star (FSS)
- General Service Medal (GSM)
- Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (GCFR)
- International Gold Medal, of the Economic Community of West African States
- Meritorious Service Star (MSS)
- National Service Medal (NSM)
- Republic Medal (RM)
- Rainbow/Push Coalition Peace Prize
- Silver Jubilee Medal (SJM)
- Order of the Star of Ghana
- Ufuk Dialogue Peace Award 2022
- Abubakar, Abdulsalami. (1998) Nigeria: A new beginning. Publisher: Federal Ministry of Information and Culture. ASIN: B0006FDZZG
- Abubakar, Abdulsalam (2015). Financial development, impact on output and its determinants: the case of the economic community of the West African states. Kulliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia.
- "June 12, NASS and Nigeria's Fourth Republic". Punch Newspapers. 12 June 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
- "Buhari, Abdulsalami's national peace committee meet". Punch Newspapers. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- "Nigeria Abdulsalami Abubakar Biography and Profile".[permanent dead link]
- "Nigeria". The World Factbook Online. Central Intelligence Agency. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2007.
- "Abdulsalami Abubakar". Online Nigeria. Devace Nigeria. Archived from the original on 3 March 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- "Successor to General Sani Abacha appointed". IFEX Alerts. International Freedom of Expression Exchange. 9 June 1998. Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- "INEC History". Independent National Electoral Commission. Archived from the original on 7 December 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
- "Observing the 1998–99 Nigeria Elections" (PDF). Carter Center, NDI. Summer 1999. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
- Obotetukudo, Solomon (2011). The Inaugural Addresses and Ascension Speeches of Nigerian Elected and Non elected presidents and prime minister from 1960 -2010. University Press of America. p. 121.
- Akande, Laolu. "NCP, North America, protests Abdulsalami Lecture Series". National Conscience Party. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- "Interview with Abubakar". Online News Hour. MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. 21 October 1998. Archived from the original on 24 January 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- Aboyade, Funke. "Conflicting Court Orders in Abdulsalami Case Avoidable". Thisday Online. Leaders & Company Limited. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- Zimbabwe Presidential Election 9–11 March 2002 - The Report of the Commonwealth Observer Group (Commonwealth Secretariat, London, 2002), pp.iv and 44, para. 12.