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Muhammadu Buhari

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Muhammadu Buhari GCFR (born 17 December 1942) is a Nigerian politician currently serving as the President of Nigeria, in office since 2015. He is a retired major general in the Nigerian Army and previously served as the nation's head of state from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after taking power in a military coup d'état.The term Buharism is ascribed to the Buhari military government.

He unsuccessfully ran for the office of president of Nigeria in the 2003, 2007, and 2011 general elections. In December 2014, he emerged as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the March 2015 general elections. Buhari won the election, defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. This marked the first time in the history of Nigeria that an incumbent president lost to an opposition candidate in a general election. He was sworn in on 29 May 2015.

Buhari has stated that he takes responsibility for anything over which he presided during his military rule, and that he cannot change the past. He has described himself as a "converted democrat"

Early life

Muhammadu Buhari was born to a Fulani family on 17 December 1942, in Daura, Katsina State, to his father Hardo Adamu, a Fulani chief, and mother Zulaihat. He is the twenty-third child of his father. Buhari was raised by his mother, after his father died when he was about four years old

Early military career

Buhari enrolled at age 19 in the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) in 1962. In February 1964, the college was upgraded to an officer commissioning unit of the Nigerian Army and renamed the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) (prior to 1964, the Nigerian government sent cadets who had completed their NMTC preliminary training to mostly Commonwealth military academies for officer cadet training). From 1962 to 1963, Buhari underwent officer cadet training at Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot in England.

In January 1963, at age 20, Buhari was commissioned a second lieutenant and appointed Platoon Commander of the Second Infantry Battalion in Abeokuta, Nigeria. From November 1963 to January 1964, Buhari attended the Platoon Commanders' Course at the Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna. In 1964, he facilitated his military training by attending the Mechanical Transport Officer's Course at the Army Mechanical Transport School in Borden, United Kingdom.

From 1965 to 1967, Buhari served as commander of the Second Infantry Battalion and appointed brigade major, Second Sector, First Infantry Division, April 1967 to July 1967.

Governor of North Eastern State

From 1 August 1975 to 3 February 1976, General Murtala Mohammed, appointed Buhari as Governor of the North-Eastern State, to oversee social, economic and political improvements in the state. Buhari also briefly served as Governor of Borno state from 3 February 1976 to 15 March 1976.

On 3 February 1976, the North Eastern state was divided by the Military Government into Bauchi, Borno and Gongola states. In August 1991, Yobe state was created from Borno state, while Gongola state was split into two states, Taraba and Adamawa. In October 1996, Gombe State was created from Bauchi State.

Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources

In March 1976, the Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo, appointed Buhari as the Federal Commissioner (position now called Minister) for Petroleum and Natural Resources. When the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was created in 1977, Buhari was also appointed as its Chairman, a position he held until 1978. During his tenure as Commissioner, 2.8 billion dollars allegedly went missing from the accounts of the NNPC in Midlands Bank in the United Kingdom. Former President Ibrahim Babangida allegedly accused Buhari of being responsible for this fraud.

However, in the conclusion of the Crude Oil Sales Tribunal of Inquiry headed by Justice Ayo Irikefe to investigate allegations of 2.8 billion Dollars misappropriation from the NNPC account. The tribunal found no truth in the allegations even though it noticed some lapses in the NNPC accounts.

During Buhari's tenure as the Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources, the government invested in pipelines and petroleum storage infrastructures. The government built about 21 petroleum storage depots all over the country from Lagos to Maidugiuri and from Calabar to Gusau; the administration constructed a pipeline network that connected Bonny terminal and the Port Harcourt refinery to the depots. Also, the administration signed the contract for the construction of a refinery in Kaduna and an oil pipeline that will connect the Escravos oil terminal to Warri Refinery and the proposed Kaduna refinery.[

 

In retirement

Civilian life

After his mother's death, he was released in December 1988 and went into farming. While in detention, his farm was managed by his relatives. He divorced his first wife in 1988 and married Aisha Halilu. In Katsina, he became the pioneer chairman of Katsina Foundation that was founded to encourage social and economic development in Katsina State.

Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund

Buhari served as the Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), a body created by the government of General Sani Abacha, and funded from the revenue generated by the increase in price of petroleum products, to pursue developmental projects around the country. A 1998 report in New African praised the PTF under Buhari for its transparency, calling it a rare "success story". However, the same report also noted that critics had questioned the PTF's allocation of 20% of its resources to the military, which the critics feared would not be accountable for the revenue.

Presidency (2015–present)

Economy

An attractive choice to many Nigerians because of a perceived incorruptible character. Once in power, Buhari who had earlier mobilized supporters in three previous elections was slow to manifest his intention to solve problems he mentioned during his campaign. Determination to initiate his domestic policy agenda like naming of cabinet officials took six months, while the passage of the 2016 and 2017 budgets were delayed by infighting

In Buhari's first year in office, Nigeria suffered a decline in commodity prices which triggered an economic recession. To source funds to close shortfall in revenue and fund an expansionary capital budget, Buhari traveled to 20 countries seeking loans.Thereby, expansionary budget allocation to finance infrastructure was pushed back to a further date.

In the first year of the administration, Naira, the currency of Nigeria depreciated in the black market leading to a gulf between the official exchange rate and the black-market rate. A resulting shortage in foreign exchange hit various businesses including petroleum marketers. However, the gulf between the official rates and the black market rates opened up the opportunity for well connected individuals to engage in arbitrage making a mockery of the president's anti-corruption image. In May, 2016, the government announced a rise in the official pump price of petroleum to curtail shortfall in the commodity as a result of foreign exchange shortages.

In 2016, the country's economy declined by 1.6% and in 2017 per capital economic growth is projected to be negligible. Buhari's first tenure as head of state coincided with a decline in oil prices similar to his second stint but his administration has not shown dedicated effort to diversify sources of government spending. The 2018 budget signaled an expansionary fiscal policy with funds dedicated to infrastructural projects such as strategic roads, bridges and power plants.

Personal life

In 1971, Buhari married his first wife, Safinatu (née Yusuf) Buhari (First lady of Nigeria December 1983 – August 1985). They had five children together, four girls and one boy. Their first daughter, Zulaihat (Zulai) was named after Buhari's mother. Their other children are Fatima, Musa (deceased son), Hadiza, and Safinatu.

In 1988, Buhari and his first wife Safinatu divorced. In December 1989, Buhari married his second and current wife Aisha Buhari (née Halilu). They also had five children together, a boy and four girls: Aisha, Halima, Yusuf, Zahra and Amina.

On 14 January 2006, Safinatu Buhari, the former first lady, died from complications of diabetes. She was buried at Unguwar Rimi cemetery in accordance with Islamic rites.

In November 2012, Buhari's first daughter, Zulaihat (née Buhari) Junaid died from sickle cell anaemia, two days after having a baby at a hospital in Kaduna.

Awards

Major-General Buhari (Rtd.) has received several awards and medals. In alphabetical order they include:

  • Congo Medal (CM)
  • Defence Service Medal (DSM)
  • General Service Medal (GSM)
  • Global Seal of Integrity (GSOI)
  • Gran Collar De La Orden De La Independencia translated as Grand Collar of the Order of the Independence was conferred on Buhari by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea at the Presidential Palace on 14 March 2016
  • Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (GCFR)
  • Loyal Service and Good Conduct Medal (LSGCM)
  • National Service Medal (NSM)

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