List of heads of state of Nigeria

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Coat of arms of Nigeria.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Nigeria

This is a list of the heads of state of Nigeria, from independence in 1960 to the present day.

From 1960 to 1963 the head of state under the Nigeria Independence Act 1960 was the Queen of Nigeria, Elizabeth II, who was also monarch of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. The Queen was represented in Nigeria by a Governor-General. Nigeria became a federal republic under the Constitution of 1963 and the monarch and Governor-General were replaced by a ceremonial President. In 1979, under the 1979 Constitution, the President gained executive powers, becoming head of both state and government. Since 1994, under the 1993 Constitution and the current 1999 Constitution, the head of state and government has been called the President.[1].

Monarch (1960–1963)[edit]

The succession to the throne was the same as the succession to the British throne.

Queen Reign Royal House Prime Minister
Portrait Name Start End Duration
1 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Portrait Herbert James Gunn.jpg Elizabeth II
(1926–)
1 October 1960 1 October 1963 3 years, 0 days Windsor Balewa

Governor-General[edit]

Standard of the Governor-General of Nigeria

The Governor-General was the representative of the monarch in Nigeria and exercised most of the powers of the monarch. The Governor-General was appointed for an indefinite term, serving at the pleasure of the monarch. Since Nigeria was granted independence by the Nigeria Independence Act 1960, rather than being first established as a semi-autonomous Dominion and later promoted to independence by the Statute of Westminster 1931, the Governor-General was appointed solely on the advice of the Nigerian cabinet without the involvement of the British government, with the sole of exception of James Robertson, the former colonial governor, who served as Governor-General temporarily until he was replaced by Nnamdi Azikiwe. In the event of a vacancy the Chief Justice would have served as Officer Administering the Government.

Governor-General Term of office Monarch Prime Minister
Portrait Name Took office Left office Duration
1 No image.svg Sir James Robertson
(1899–1983)
1 October 1960 16 November 1960 46 days Elizabeth II Balewa
2 No image.svg Nnamdi Azikiwe
(1904–1996)
16 November 1960 1 October 1963 2 years, 319 days Elizabeth II Balewa

First Republic (1963–1966)[edit]

Under the 1963 Constitution, the first constitution of the Republic of Nigeria, the President replaced the monarch as ceremonial head of state. The President was elected by Parliament for a five-year term. In the event of a vacancy the President of the Senate would have served as Acting President.

President Term of office Political party
(at time of election)
Prime Minister(s)
Portrait Name Took office Left office Duration
1 No image.svg Nnamdi Azikiwe
(1904–1996)
1 October 1963 16 January 1966
(deposed.)
2 years, 107 days National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons Balewa

Military rule (1966–1979)[edit]

Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu led a coup d'état in 1966 which overthrew President Azikiwe and his government.

Head of State Term of Office Military
Portrait Name Took office Left office Duration
2 No image.svg Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi
(1924–1966)
16 January 1966 29 July 1966
(assassinated.)
194 days Federal Military Government
3 No image.svg General Yakubu Gowon
(1934–)
1 August 1966 29 July 1975
(deposed.)
8 years, 362 days Federal Military Government
4 No image.svg General Murtala Mohammed
(1938–1976)
29 July 1975 13 February 1976
(assassinated.)
199 days Federal Military Government
5 Obasanjo 1978.gif Major-General Olusegun Obasanjo
(1937–)
13 February 1976 1 October 1979
(resigned.)
3 years, 258 days Federal Military Government

Second Republic (1979–1983)[edit]

Under the 1979 Constitution, the second constitution of the Republic of Nigeria, the President was head of both state and government. The President was elected by for a four-year term. In the event of a vacancy the Vice President would have served as Acting President.

President Term of office Political party
(at time of election)
Portrait Name Took office Left office Duration
6 Shagaricropped.jpg Shehu Shagari
(1925–)
1 October 1979 31 December 1983
(deposed.)
4 years, 91 days National Party of Nigeria

Military rule (1983–1993)[edit]

Major-General Muhammadu Buhari led a coup d'état which overthrew President Shagari and his government.

Head of State Term of Office Military
Portrait Name Took office Left office Duration
7 Muhammadu Buhari 2015-07-21.jpg Major-General Muhammadu Buhari
(1942–)
31 December 1983 27 August 1985
(deposed.)
1 year, 239 days Supreme Military Council
8 Ibrahim Babangida (cropped).jpg General Ibrahim Babangida
(1941–)
27 August 1985 26 August 1993
(resigned.)
7 years, 364 days Armed Forces Ruling Council

Third Republic (1993)[edit]

The Third Republic was the planned republican government of Nigeria in 1993 which was to be governed by the Third Republican constitution.

The constitution of the Third Republic was drafted in 1989, when General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), the military Head of State, promised to terminate military rule by 1990 – a date which was subsequently pushed back to 1993. IBB lifted the ban on political activity in the spring of 1989, and his government established two political parties: the center-right National Republican Convention (NRC) and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SDP). Gubernatorial and state legislative elections were conducted in December 1991, while the presidential election was postponed till 12 June 1993 – due to political unrest. M. K. O. Abiola, a wealthy Yoruba businessman, won a decisive victory in the presidential elections on the SDP platm.

President Term of office Political party
(at time of election)
Portrait Name Took office Left office Duration
9 Ambassador Bob Dewar with Ernest Shonekan (3509232597) (cropped).jpg Ernest Shonekan
(1936–)
26 August 1993 17 November 1993
(deposed.)
83 days Independent

Military rule (1993–1999)[edit]

General Sani Abacha led a coup d'état which overthrew President Shonekan and his government.

Head of State Term of Office Military
Portrait Name Took office Left office Duration
10 No image.svg General Sani Abacha
(1943–1998)
17 November 1993 8 June 1998
(died in office.)
4 years, 203 days Provisional Ruling Council
11 Abdulsalami Abubakar detail DF-SC-02-04323.jpg General Abdulsalami Abubakar
(1942–)
8 June 1998 29 May 1999
(resigned.)
355 days Provisional Ruling Council

Fourth Nigerian Republic[edit]

Under the fourth Constitution of the Republic of Nigeria, the President is head of both state and government. The President is elected by for a four-year term. In the event of a vacancy the Vice President serves as Acting President.

Status
  Denotes Vice President acting as President
President Term of office Political party
(at time of election)
Portrait Name Took office Left office Duration
12 Olusegun Obasanjo 2001-05-10 (002).jpg Olusegun Obasanjo
(1937–)
29 May 1999 29 May 2007 8 years, 0 days People's Democratic Party
13 Umaru Yar'Adua 2007-06-07.jpg Umaru Musa Yar'Adua
(1951–2010)
29 May 2007 5 May 2010[2]
(died in office.)
2 years, 341 days People's Democratic Party
14 Goodluck Jonathan 2014-08-05.jpg Goodluck Jonathan
(1957–)
5 May 2010 29 May 2015 5 years, 25 days People's Democratic Party
15 Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (cropped).jpg Muhammadu Buhari
(1942–)
29 May 2015 Incumbent 3 years, 144 days All Progressives Congress

Living former heads of state[edit]

Name Term/Reign Office Date of birth
Elizabeth II 1961–1963 Queen of Nigeria (1926-04-21) April 21, 1926 (age 92)
Yakubu Gowon 1966–1975 Military ruler (1934-10-19) October 19, 1934 (age 84)
Olusegun Obasanjo 1976–1979
1999–2007
Military ruler
President of Nigeria
(1937-03-05) March 5, 1937 (age 81)
Shehu Shagari 1979–1983 President of Nigeria (1925-02-25) February 25, 1925 (age 93)
Ibrahim Babangida 1985–1993 Military ruler (1941-08-17) August 17, 1941 (age 77)
Ernest Shonekan 1993 President of Nigeria (1936-05-09) May 9, 1936 (age 82)
Abdulsalami Abubakar 1998–1999 Military ruler (1942-06-13) June 13, 1942 (age 76)
Goodluck Jonathan 2010–2015 President of Nigeria (1957-11-20) November 20, 1957 (age 60)
Muhammadu Buhari 1983-1985

2015-date

Military Ruler

President of Nigeria

(1942-12-17) December 17, 1942 (age 75)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Past Presidents & Heads of State". StateHouse, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  2. ^ Goodluck Jonathan was Acting President from 9 February to 5 May 2010

3."List of All Nigerian Presidents Since Independence". Amala.ng. 2018-09-18. Retrieved 2018-09-19.

External links[edit]