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This is a list of the heads of state of Nigeria, from Nigeria's 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)

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

Queen Reign Royal House Prime Minister
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Start End Duration
1 Queen Elizabeth II 1959 (cropped).jpg Elizabeth II
(born 1926)
1 October 1960 1 October 1963 3 years Windsor Balewa

Governor-General

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
(Birth–Death)
Took office Left office Time in office
1 Sir James Robertson
(1899–1983)
1 October 1960 16 November 1960 46 days Elizabeth II Balewa
2 Nnamdi Azikiwe
(1904–1996)
16 November 1960 1 October 1963 2 years, 319 days Elizabeth II Balewa

First Republic (1963–1966)

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
(Birth–Death)
Took office Left office Time in office
1 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)

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
(Birth–Death)
Took office Left office Time in office
2 Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi
(1924–1966)
16 January 1966 29 July 1966
(assassinated.)
194 days Federal Military Government
3 General Yakubu Gowon
(born 1934)
1 August 1966 29 July 1975
(deposed.)
8 years, 362 days Federal Military Government
4 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
(born 1937)
13 February 1976 1 October 1979
(resigned.)
3 years, 258 days Federal Military Government

Second Republic (1979–1983)

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 Elected Term of office Political party
(at time of election)
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Took office Left office Time in office
6 Shehu Shagari
(1925–2018)
1979
1983
1 October 1979 31 December 1983
(deposed.)
4 years, 91 days National Party of Nigeria

Military rule (1983–1993)

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
(Birth–Death)
Took office Left office Time in office
7 Muhammadu_Buhari_Portrait Major-General Muhammadu Buhari
(born 1942)
31 December 1983 27 August 1985
(deposed.)
1 year, 239 days Supreme Military Council
8 General Ibrahim Babangida
(born 1941)
27 August 1985 26 August 1993
(resigned.)
7 years, 364 days Armed Forces Ruling Council

Third Republic (1993)

Following the annulment of the 1993 Nigerian presidential election which terminated the transition to the Third Nigerian Republic. In August 1993, Babangida resigned from office. He signed a decree establishing the Interim National Government led by Ernest Shonekan. Babangida made the interim government weak by placing it under the control of the military.

President Elected Term of office Political party
(at time of election)
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Took office Left office Time in office
9 Ernest Shonekan
(born 1936)
1993 26 August 1993 17 November 1993
(deposed.)
83 days Independent

Military rule (1993–1999)

In November 1993, General Sani Abacha overthrew the interim government, and ruled the country with an iron fist. In 1998, following Abacha's death, General Abdulsalami Abubakar became head of state and ushered in the Fourth Nigerian Republic.

Head of state Term of office Military
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Took office Left office Time in office
10 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
(born 1942)
8 June 1998 29 May 1999
(resigned.)
355 days Provisional Ruling Council

Fourth Republic (1999–present)

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)
Elected
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Took office Left office Time in office
12
Olusegun Obasanjo
Olusegun Obasanjo
(born 1937)
29 May 199929 May 20078 years, 0 daysPDP1999
2003
13
Umaru Musa Yar'Adua
Umaru Musa Yar'Adua
(1951–2010)
29 May 20075 May 2010 †2 years, 341 daysPDP2007
14
Goodluck Jonathan
Goodluck Jonathan
(born 1957)
5 May 201029 May 20155 years, 25 daysPDP2011
15
Muhammadu Buhari
Muhammadu Buhari
(born 1942)
29 May 2015Incumbent4 years, 361 daysAPC2015
2019

Living former heads of state of Nigeria

Name Term/Reign Office Date of birth
Elizabeth II 1960–1963 Queen of Nigeria April 21, 1926 (age 93)
Yakubu Gowon 1966–1975 Military ruler (1934-10-19) October 19, 1934 (age 85)
Olusegun Obasanjo 1976–1979

1999–2007

Military ruler

President of Nigeria

(1937-03-05) March 5, 1937 (age 83)
Muhammadu Buhari 1983–1985

2015–present

Military ruler

President of Nigeria

(1942-12-17) December 17, 1942 (age 77)
Ibrahim Babangida 1985–1993 Military ruler (1941-08-17) August 17, 1941 (age 78)
Ernest Shonekan 1993 Interim president (1936-05-09) May 9, 1936 (age 84)
Abdulsalami Abubakar 1998–1999 Military ruler (1942-06-13) June 13, 1942 (age 77)
Goodluck Jonathan 2010–2015 President of Nigeria (1957-11-20) November 20, 1957 (age 62)

Notes

References

  1. ^ "Past Presidents & Heads of State". StateHouse, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

External links