History Lesson: Nigeria’s Past Presidents

But I already did all this in government and history. Ha!

“Me I’m done with school and whatever has to do with it please”

Okay okay, since you’re a scholar and you know Nigeria’s history, let me put you to a test.

Very short.

I’m going to state some facts about Nigeria’s former presidents.

If you know all of them, then true true, you deserve accolades and don’t need this post.

Nnamdi Azikiwe was Nigeria’s first head of state.

No, we didn’t know that. *eyeroll*

What you don’t know though, is that a lot of people considered him ‘not human’. Like a spirit. Why?

It was said that he had an encounter with a woman when he was younger, he helped her carry her load.

She was grateful and asked what he wanted in return, he said he wanted wisdom and power.

The story says that she cut Azikiwe into pieces and boiled. Then brought him back to life possessing those things. Abrakadabra! Zik is Powerful.

Major General Agunyi Ironsi was the next Head of State. He ruled from January 1966 to July 1966.

But how did this man become Head of state?

A man named Nwafor Orinzu, was acting president while Azikiwe was absent. Ironsi then forced all the members of that governance to resign at gun point.

Nigeria was actually wild o.

General Ironsi was killed after having a short taste of power and General Yakubu Gowon took over. He promised he would hand power over to the civilian rule after a while, then he changed his mind.

This obviously made the civilians angry.

About a year later, his overthrow was announced. Just like that. Gowon didn’t fight back, he carried his load and went to the United Kingdom.

He settled down and got a Phd in Political science from the University of Warwick. The Nigerian dream.

Up next is Murtala Mohammed who is till date one of the most famous presidents in Nigeria’s history. Not just because he’s on the 20 naira note and the airport in Lagos is named after him, but because he was a genuinely good man.

He brought the words “fellow Nigerians” and “with immediate effect” to the national lexicon.  A whole legend.

We could write 5 books about Olusegun Obasanjo’s history. His significance in Nigeria’s economic growth at the time just can’t be ignored. But we’d get to that some other time.

For now, it’s important to know that without Obasanjo, there will be no EFCC. He also got the Paris and London clubs to pardon Nigeria of debt of $18billion. Thank you sir.

Some years later, Obasanjo became president again. So we don’t gonna go back to this, just write it in the corner of your note.

He was the first person to have done that.

Shehu Shagari became Head of State after Obasanjo stepped down. Before going into power, this man was a serious academician.

He was a science teacher in Sokoto, for years. Later, he moved to Zaria middle school to continue, then became a headmaster in a primary school at Argungu. And eventually, Headmaster of Nigeria!

Next person on this list is our current president, Muhammadu Buhari, who was also head of state in 1983.

Let’s start with the fact that he has 22 siblings. I mean his father single handedly produced 23 children. Actually, that’s all I should say.

General Ibrahim Babangida, who took over in 1985, was one hell of a man.

People used to call this man Maradona because he kept dribbling Nigerians. Promising continuously to hand over to a democratic government and well, never did.

I’m going to talk very shortly on this next person because his reign was just as short. Ernest Shonekan.

He ruled Nigeria for 3 months in 1993 then Sani Abacha swept him away.

After Uncle Ernest, Sani Abacha became president. And this man showed no mercy, but you already knew that. What you probably didn’t know is this.

In 2004, Forbes listed Abacha as the 4th most corrupt president in the history of presidents. This man till date was also one of Nigeria’s most brutal presidents and biggest sugar daddy. No year goes by without Nigeria getting back some of the money Uncle Abacha looted and hid in the abroad.

General Abdulsalami Abubakar became president from 1998-1999 after Abacha’s mysterious death. Remember Babangida? he and Abubakar grew up in the same household.

Abubakar’s father adopted Babangida who was an orphan. So let’s say they were the first brothers who made it into the presidential realm.

Remember I said Obasanjo became president again? Yeah, this was the time. From 1999 up until 2007.

So, let’s just move on. Shall we?

From 2007 till 2010, Umar Musa Yar’adua was Nigeria’s president. I just want to say he was the first president to admit that there were some flaws during the elections at the time.

Such bravery right? Or stupidity? Actually, you decide.

Goodluck Jonathan became president after Yar’Adua from 2010-2015.

Since we are talking about things you probably didn’t know, you should know that Jonathan is a passionate football fan. In 2010 he banned the country’s national team from competing in international competitions because he was disappointed at their performance in the 2010 Fifa World Cup . They eventually begged and he reconsidered.