HE President Muhammadu BuhariPresident of Nigeria
Birth: 17 December 1942 (Age: 74)
Source of Influence: Political
School of Thought: Traditional Sunni
Status: Featured in current year
Military Past: President Buhari began his military career at the Nigerian Military Training School of Kaduna in 1963. He was involved in military counter-coups in 1966 and 1975, and the coup of 1983 which overthrew the democratically-elected government and resulted in him being head of state for two years. During these years, he gained fame for his all-out war against corruption and indiscipline, a reputation he has since kept. In 1985 he was overthrown and kept in detention for 3 years.
Anti-Corruption Presidential Candidate: President Buhari ran as the main opposition candidate in the presidential elections of 2003, 2007 and 2011, all ending in defeat, before winning in 2015. His platform was built around his image as a staunch anti-corruption fighter and his reputation for honesty and incorruptibility. He is considered an icon by the Muslims of northern Nigeria, but enjoys nationwide respect due to his stance on corruption.
Fighting Boko Haram: The President has put defeating Boko Haram on top of his agenda. Boko Haram’s actions have consistently caused international outrage, and the President will have to show firm resolve and determination to stop the terror attacks. In July 2014, he escaped a suicide bombing attack that killed over 50 people. On 6 May 2017, Buhari’s government secured a release of 82 out of 276 girls kidnapped in 2014, in exchange for five Boko Haram leaders. President Buhari met with the released Chibok girls, before departing to London, UK, for a follow up treatment for an undisclosed illness.
Economy and infrastructure: President Buhari was the first chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and was the mastermind behind the construction of 20 oil depots throughout Nigeria, a project involving over 3200 kilometres of pipelines. Both the Warri and Kaduna refineries were built under his leadership. He also established the blueprints for the country’s petro-chemical and liquefied natural gas programmes.
Environment: President Buhari is an active environmentalist who has drafted several plans to preserve wildlife in Nigeria. He has also exerted great efforts on the conservation of nature in Nigeria; such as controlling the logging industry whereby he has ensured that double the number of trees felled are replaced by loggers. He has also worked on restricting the Ecological Fund Office so it can deliver on environmental challenges.