President of Nigeria

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President of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Seal of the President of Nigeria.svg
Presidential Standard of Nigeria (Armed Forces).svg
Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (cropped).jpg
Muhammadu Buhari
since 29 May 2015
StyleMr. President
His Excellency
Member of
ResidenceAso Villa
SeatAbuja, F.C.T.
AppointerDirect popular election or via succession from vice presidency
Term lengthFour years,
renewable once
Constituting instrumentConstitution of Nigeria
Formation1 October 1963
(59 years ago)
First holderNnamdi Azikiwe
DeputyVice President of Nigeria
Salary30,000,000 annually[1]
Former standard of the President

The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the head of state and head of government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The offices, powers, and titles of the head of state and the head of government were officially merged into the office of the presidency under the 1979 Constitution of Nigeria.

Executive power is vested in the president. The power includes the execution and enforcement of federal law and the responsibility to appoint federal executive, diplomatic, regulatory, and judicial officers. Based on constitutional provisions empowering the president to appoint and receive ambassadors and conclude treaties with foreign powers, and on subsequent laws enacted by the House, the presidency has primary responsibility for conducting foreign policy.

The president also plays a leading role in federal legislation and domestic policymaking. As part of the system of checks and balances, the Constitution gives the president the power to sign or veto federal legislation.

The president is directly elected in national elections to a four-year term, along with the vice president.

Muhammadu Buhari is the 15th and current president of Nigeria, having assumed office on 29 May 2015.[2]


On 1 October 1960, Nigeria gained independence from Britain. An all-Nigerian Executive Council was headed by a Prime minister, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. On 16 November 1960, Nnamdi Azikiwe became the first governor-general of a federation of three regions of the north, east and west, with Lagos as the Federal Capital. Each of the regions was headed by a premier with a governor as ceremonial head. The governors and governor-general represented the Queen of Nigeria, Elizabeth II. On 1 October 1963, Nigeria became a Federal Republic thereby abolishing its monarchy, but remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. An amendment to the 1960 Independence Constitution replaced the office of the governor-general with that of the president. Nnamdi Azikwe was sworn into that office on 1 October 1963.[3] The office at that time was primarily ceremonial, and the main duties of the president were on such things as receiving foreign dignitaries and opening Parliament.

In a January 1966 failed coup d'état, a group of army officers, led by Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu, overthrew the central and regional governments, killed the prime minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and tried to take control of the government. Nzeogwu was countered, captured, and imprisoned by General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi. General Aguiyi-Ironsi was named Military Head of State.

In July 1966, a group of northern army officers revolted against the government, killed General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, and appointed the army chief of staff, General Yakubu Gowon as the head of the new military government.

In 1975, General Yakubu Gowon was deposed and General Murtala Mohammed was the head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria until his assassination in 1976. On his death, the chief-of-staff, Supreme Headquarters (equivalent to a vice-president) general Olusegun Obasanjo assumed office of head of state in a meeting of the Supreme Military Council, keeping the chain of command established by Murtala Muhammed in place. Gen. Obasanjo was responsible for completing the democratic transition begun by his predecessor, which culminated in an election in August 1979.

In 1979, Nigeria adopted a federal presidential constitution. The presidency became an executive post, with powers similar to those of its American counterpart. The legislature was a bicameral National Assembly, comprising a Senate and House of Representatives.

In October 1979, after more than 13 years of military rule, Nigeria returned to democratic rule. The National Party of Nigeria emerged victorious in the presidential election and Alhaji Shehu Shagari became the first democratically elected president.

On 31 December 1983, the military overthrew the Second Republic. Major General Muhammadu Buhari emerged as the chairman of the Supreme Military Council (SMC), the new head of state.

In August 1985, General Buhari's government was peacefully overthrown by the Army chief of staff, Major General Ibrahim Babangida. Babangida became the president and chairman of the Armed Forces Ruling Council.

In August 1993, General Babangida stepped down and chose an interim government to replace him. Ernest Shonekan was named as interim president. General Sani Abacha seized power from Shonekan in November 1993 and became the president and chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council.

On 8 June 1998, General Abacha died at the presidential villa in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.[4][5][6][7] [8][9] Major General Abdulsalami Abubakar became the new president and chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council.[10][11][9][12]

On 29 May 1999 Major General Abdulsalami Abubakar stepped down,[13] and the former military head of state, Olusegun Obasanjo, became the civilian president. Obasanjo served two terms in office.

In May 2007, Alhaji Umaru Yar'Adua was sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the 13th head of state of Nigeria.[14][15][16] Yar'Adua died on 5 May, 2010 in the presidential villa, in Abuja, Nigeria.[17][18][19][20][21][22][23]

On 6 May 2010 Vice President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the 14th head of state.[24][25][26][27][28][29]

On 29 May 2015 Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the 15th head of state after winning the general election.[30][31][32][33][34][35]


Chapter VI, Part I, Section 131 of the constitution states that a person may be qualified for election of the office of the president if:[36]

  • They are a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
  • They have attained the age of 35 years;
  • They are a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party;
  • They have been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.

A person who meets the above qualifications is still disqualified from holding the office of the president if:

  • They have voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria (except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly) or they have made a declaration of allegiance to such other country;
  • They have been elected to such office at any two previous elections;
  • Under the law in any part of Nigeria, they are adjudged to be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind;
  • They are under a sentence of death imposed by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud or for any other offence, imposed on them by any court or tribunal or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on them by such a court of tribunal;
  • Within a period of less than ten years before the date of the election to the office of President they have been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or they have been found guilty of the contravention of the Code of Conduct;
  • They are an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in Nigeria or any other country;
  • Being a person employed in the civil or public service of the Federation or of any State, they have not resigned, withdrawn or retired from the employment at least thirty days before the date of the election; or
  • They are a member of any secret society;
  • They have been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or an Administrative Panel of Inquiry or a Tribunal set up under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, a Tribunals of Inquiry law or any other law by the federal or state government which indictment has been accepted by the federal or state government respectively;
  • They have presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Oath of office[edit]

The Constitution of Nigeria specifies an oath of office for the president of the federation. The oath is administered by the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria or the person for the time being appointed to exercise the functions of that office:[37]

I do solemnly swear/affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will strive to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions; that I will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will abide by the Code of Conduct contained in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that in all circumstances, I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will; that I will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought under my consideration or shall become known to me as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as President; and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Nigeria. So help me God.

Presidents by time in office[edit]

Olusegun Obasanjo is the longest-serving president of Nigeria
Yakubu Gowon served for the longest continuous period
Ernest Shonekan served for the shortest period of just 83 days
Muhammadu Buhari is the current president

This is a list of each president in order of term length. This is based on the difference between dates; if counted by number of calendar days, all the figures would be one greater except for Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari who would have two more days, as they served on two non-consecutive periods.

Of the 13 presidents, only two, Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari, served for multiple periods.

Rank President Political party Longest continuous term Total time in office Periods Cause of end of term
1 Olusegun Obasanjo Military / People's Democratic Party 8 years, 0 days 11 years, 230 days 2 Resignation / Natural expiration
2 Muhammadu Buhari Military / All Progressives Congress 7 years, 251 days 9 years, 125 days 2 Deposed / In office
3 Yakubu Gowon Military 8 years, 362 days 8 years, 362 days 1 Deposed
4 Ibrahim Babangida Military 7 years, 364 days 7 years, 364 days 1 Resignation
5 Goodluck Jonathan People's Democratic Party 5 years, 24 days 5 years, 24 days 1 Natural expiration
6 Sani Abacha Military 4 years, 203 days 4 years, 203 days 1 Death
7 Shehu Shagari National Party of Nigeria 4 years, 91 days 4 years, 91 days 1 Deposed
8 Umaru Musa Yar'Adua People's Democratic Party 2 years, 341 days 2 years, 341 days 1 Death
9 Nnamdi Azikiwe National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons 2 years, 107 days 2 years, 107 days 1 Deposed
10 Abdulsalami Abubakar Military 355 days 355 days 1 Resignation
11 Murtala Muhammed Military 199 days 199 days 1 Assassinated
12 Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi Military 194 days 194 days 1 Assassinated
13 Ernest Shonekan Independent 83 days 83 days 1 Deposed


The President of Nigeria lives and works in the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ibeh, Nnenna (30 May 2015). "Buhari to earn N14 million as annual salary, allowances". Premium Times. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  2. ^ admin. "President, Muhammadu Buhari | Consulate of Nigeria, Atlanta". Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  3. ^ "bookreader demo". Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  4. ^ Kaufman, Michael T. (9 June 1998). "NEW CHAPTER IN NIGERIA: THE OBITUARY; Sani Abacha, 54, a Beacon of Brutality In an Era When Brutality Was Standard". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  5. ^ Rupert, James (9 June 1998). "GEN. SANI ABACHA DIES". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  6. ^ Orr, David. "Diplomat claims that disaffected soldiers poisoned Sani Abacha". The Irish Times. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Sani Abacha: Timeline of the late Nigerian dictator's life". BBC News. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  8. ^ "The day Sani Abacha died!". TheCable. 8 June 2018. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  9. ^ a b Opejobi, Seun (19 June 2017). "Details of how Abacha died in 1998 – Al-Mustapha". Daily Post Nigeria. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  10. ^ "NIGERIA: Dictator dies; successor chosen". Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Nigerian Leader Dies; Military Picks Successor". Los Angeles Times. 9 June 1998. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  12. ^ ""My Transition Agenda for Development" [Text of Speech to the Nigerian Nation, July 20, 1998] by General Abdulsalam Abubakar". Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  13. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (30 May 1999). "Nigeria's Military Turns Over Power to Elected Leader". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Yar'Adua Inauguration Marks Key Point for Nigeria". Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Umaru Musa Yar'adua took the piss". Sahara Reporters. 7 February 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  16. ^ "Nigeria: Inauguration Speech by President Umar Musa Yar'Adua".
  17. ^ "Nigeria's president Yar'Adua dies". Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  18. ^ Whiteman, Kaye (5 May 2010). "Umaru Yar'Adua obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  19. ^ "Obituary: President Yar'Adua". 6 May 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  20. ^ "Late Nigerian President Buried in Katsina | Voice of America - English". Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Nigerian President Umaru Yar' Adua – a death foretold". The Africa 6 May 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  22. ^ "Nigeria Mourns President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua". ISS Africa. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  23. ^ "Nigerian president Umaru Yar'Adua dies after months of illness". Daily Telegraph. 6 May 2010. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  24. ^ "Jonathan Sworn in as New Nigerian President | Voice of America - English". Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  25. ^ "Nigeria swears in new president". Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  26. ^ "Goodluck Jonathan sworn in as Nigerian president". San Diego Union-Tribune. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  27. ^ "Timeline: Goodluck Jonathan sworn in as Nigeria's president". Reuters. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  28. ^ "Goodluck Jonathan is sworn in as president". France 24. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  29. ^ Smith, David; agencies (6 May 2010). "Goodluck Jonathan sworn in as Nigerian president". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  30. ^ Faith Karimi; Christian Purefoy (29 May 2015). "Nigeria: Muhammadu Buhari sworn in as President". CNN. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  31. ^ "Buhari sworn in as Nigeria's president after historic win". France 24. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  32. ^ Smith, David (29 May 2015). "Historic succession complete as Buhari is sworn in as the president of Nigeria". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  33. ^ Monica Mark; David Smith (1 April 2015). "Nigerian election: opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari sweeps to victory". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  34. ^ Laing, Aislinn (29 May 2015). "Nigeria's president Goodluck Jonathan hands over to former dictator Muhammadu Buhari". Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  35. ^ Ross, Will (29 May 2015). "Handing over the reins of power in Nigeria". BBC News. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  37. ^ "Seventh Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria: Oaths of Office". Retrieved 25 May 2020.