Behold the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Behold the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari

Posted: Apr 1, 2015 at 7:25 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Temidayo Akinsuyi

Snr. Correspondent, Lagos


Born in Daura, Katsina State, on December 17, 1942, Buhari attended Primary School in Daura and Mai’adua, 1948-1952 and later proceeded to Katsina Model School in 1953 and Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College Katsina) from 1956-1961.

He joined the then Nigerian Military Training School, Kaduna in 1963 and also attended Officer’s Cadet School in Aldershot (United Kingdom), October 1963.

In 1964, he was at the Nigerian Military College, Kaduna for Platoon Commanders’ Course and later attended the Mechanical Transport Officer’s Course at the Army Mechanical Transport School in Borden (United Kingdom) 1965.

Buhari also studied at the Defense Services’ Staff College, Wellington (India), 1973 and the United States Army War College, June 1979 to June 1980.

That Muhammadu Buhari contested the position of Nigeria’s President for a record fourth time in a row shows his determination to lead the country through a democratic process.

He has been described by many as an unrepentant apostle of anti-corruption and a man with steel determination.

Buhari first came to limelight following his appointment as Governor of the then North Eastern State of Nigeria during General Muritala Mohammed’s regime and later to national focus in 1975 when he was appointed by General Olusegun Obasanjo as Minister (then Federal Commissioner) for Petroleum and Natural Resources and in 1977 at the creation of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, he became the first Chairman.

Career: In his career as a military man and public service, he was Platoon Commander, 2nd Infantry battalion, 1963-1964; Mechanical Transport Officer, Lagos Garrison, 1964-1965; Transport Company Commander, 2nd Infantry Brigade, 1965-1966; Battalion Adjutant/Commander, 2nd Infantry Division, August 1967-October 1968; Brigade Major, 2nd sector, 1st Infantry Division, April to July, 1967; Brigade Major, 3rd Infantry Division, August 1967-October 1968; Acting Commander, 4th Sector, 1st Division, November 1968 to February 1970; Commander, 31st Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, February 1970 to June 1971; Assistant Adjutant-General, 1st Infantry Division Headquarters, July 1971 to December 1972; Colonel, General Staff, 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters, January 1974 to September 1974; Acting Director Supply and Transport, Nigerian Army Corps, Headquarters, September 1974 to July 1975; Military Governor, North Eastern State of Nigeria, August 1975 to March 1976; Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources, March 1976 to June 1978; Chairman, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, June 1978 to June 1979; Military Secretary, Army Headquarters, July 1978 – June 1979; Member, Supreme Military Council, July 1978 – June 1979; General Officer Commanding, 4th Infantry Division, August 1980 to January 1981; General Officer Commanding, 3rd Armoured Division, November 1981 – December 1983; Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, December 1983 to August 1985. Executive Chairman, Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF), March 1995 to May 1999.

Buhari and his colleagues took over power from the Alhaji Shehu Shagari-led administration on December 31, 1983, a period the country was witnessing serious austerity and political instability.

It was on record that his administration reduced the inflation rate in the economy from 23% to 4% within two years, by fiscal discipline and a homegrown economic team and also introduced the well accepted and lauded “War Against Indiscipline” (WAI) to check most of the anomalies in the public life of Nigerians.

As the Federal Commissioner of Petroleum Resources and Chairman of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, he supervised the birth of all the existing refineries in the country.

In 1983, it was also on record that when Chadian soldiers invaded and took 19 Islands in Lake Chad within Nigerian territory, he, as the General Officer Commanding the  Armoured  Division, successfully cordoned off the territory and pursued the Chadian Army as far as 50km back into Chadian territory.

Those who are close to him said his words are his bond. Little wonder his regime was overthrown in a palace coup on August 27, 1985 by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, because of his insistence on carrying out investigation on allegations of fraudulent award of contracts in the then Ministry of Defense.

Rumour has it that, had the investigation been carried out, many senior military officers including members of the then Supreme Military Council (SMC), the highest ruling body then, would have been implicated and subsequently indicted.

The Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund, (PTF), was scrapped by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo after he was elected as President in 1999 and Gen. Buhari was eventually relieved of his position as its Chairman.

His administrative style and transparency was however lauded by Nigerians as the agency was credited for impacting on the lives of Nigerians through implementation of many developmental projects.

In 2003, General Buhari contested the presidential election under the platform of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and lost to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) a result he challenged in Court but also lost.

Not deterred, he re-contested the 2007 Presidential election also under the platform of ANPP but against his kinsman, the late Umar Musa Yar’adua.

Buhari lost again and challenged the result in the Court, as the case was still been heard, the leadership of his party went into accord with the ruling party, PDP, to form a Government of National Unity, he opted out of this marriage of convenience and pursue his case, but also lost again.

In another attempt to rule through the ballots, General Buhari contested against incumbent President Jonathan in the April 2011 general elections but lost.

With the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he ran against President Jonathan again in Saturday’s presidential election and was eventually declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He has received several awards and medals to include, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (GCFR); Defense Service Medal (DSM); National Service Medal (NSM); General Service Medal (GSM) Loyal Service and Good Conduct Medal (LSGCM); Forces Service Star (FSS) and the Congo Medal (CM) among others.