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.svg
Muhammadu Buhari - Chatham House.jpg
Muhammadu Buhari

since 29 May 2015
Residence Aso Rock Presidential Villa
Appointer Direct Popular Election
Term length Four years, renewable once
Inaugural holder Nnamdi Azikiwe
Formation 1 October 1963
Salary 3,514,705 ($17,657) annually[1]
Former standard of the President
Flag of the President as Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces
Coat of arms of Nigeria.svg
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The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the head of state and head of the national executive of Nigeria. The President of Nigeria is also the commander-in-chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces. The current President of Nigeria is Muhammadu Buhari.


On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained independence from Britain. An all-Nigerian Executive Council was headed by a Prime Minister, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. On November 16, 1960, Dr. 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. On October 1, 1963, Nigeria became a Federal Republic and severed whatever ties were left with Britain. Nigeria decided, however, to remain in the British Commonwealth of Nations. The Governor-General's position was, therefore, re-designated as President.

In January 1966, a group of army officers, led by Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu, overthrew the central and regional governments, killed the prime minister, and tried to take control of the government in a failed coup d'état. 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.

In 1976, General Olusegun Obasanjo was made head of state in a meeting of the Supreme Military Council. Keeping the chain of command established by Murtala Muhammed in place.

In 1979, Nigeria adopted a constitution that was modelled on the Constitution of the United States, with provision for a President, 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 was elected President.

On December 31, 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 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. Major General Abdulsalami Abubakar became the new President and Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council.

In May 1999, Major General Abdulsalami Abubakar stepped down, and the former military head of state, Olusegun Obasanjo, became the newly elected 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. Yar'Adua died on 5 May 2010 in the Presidential villa, in Abuja, Nigeria.

On 6 May 2010, the Vice President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the 14th head of state.

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.

Functions of the President of Nigeria[edit]

The President has the powers entrusted by the Constitution and legislation, including those necessary to perform the functions of Head of State and head of the national executive.

The President is responsible for:

  • Assenting to and signing Bills
  • Referring a Bill back to the National Assembly for reconsideration of the Bill's constitutionality
  • Referring a Bill to the Constitutional Court for a decision on the Bill's constitutionality
  • Summoning the National Assembly, or Parliament to an extraordinary sitting to conduct special business
  • Making any appointments that the Constitution or legislation requires the President to make, other than as head of the national executive
  • Appointing commissions of inquiry
  • Calling a national referendum in terms of an Act of Parliament
  • Receiving and recognising foreign diplomatic and consular representatives
  • Appointing ambassadors, plenipotentiaries, and diplomatic and consular representatives
  • Pardoning or reprieving offenders and remitting any fines, penalties or forfeitures
  • Conferring honours


A person shall be eligible for the office of President if he or she is a citizen of Nigeria, at least 40 years of age, is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party. The constitution limits the President to only two terms of four years each in office.

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:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ibeh, Nnenna (30 May 2015). "Buhari to earn N14 million as annual salary, allowances". Premium Times. Retrieved 30 May 2015.