Muhammadu Buhari is the president-elect of Nigeria and a retired Major General in the Nigerian Army who was Head of State of Nigeria from December 31, 1983 to August 27, 1985, after taking power in a military coup d’état.
The term Buharism is ascribed to the Buhari military government. He ran unsuccessfully for the office of President in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections. In December 2014, he emerged as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the March 2015 elections.
Buhari won the 2015 general election, defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari is a native of Daura in Katsina State, he is of Fulani ethnic background.
Buhari has stated that he takes responsibility for whatever happened under his watch during his military rule, saying that he cannot change the past. He also describes himself as a “converted democrat”.
He narrowly escaped an assassination attempt
Buhari has always been popular among the people of the North who largely speak Hausa language. Now some feel his military background and his disciplinarian credentials are just what the whole country needs at this point in time.
A Muslim from Daura in Katsina State, who has given his support to Sharia in the north, Mr Buhari has previously had to deny allegations that he has a radical Islamist agenda. This proved a problem for him in the 2003 polls – he failed to secure much support among Christians in the south, where he was viewed with some suspicion.
But having escaped an attack on his convoy in Kaduna in July 2014, which bore all the hallmarks of a Boko Haram assassination attempt, he has promised to end the insurgency within months if elected.
A tough disciplinarian
He ruled Nigeria from January 1984 until August 1985, taking charge after a military coup in December 1983. It is a period remembered for a strict campaign against indiscipline and corruption, and for its human rights abuses.
The verdict on Buhari’s 20 months as military ruler is mixed. About 500 politicians, officials and businessmen were jailed as part of a campaign against waste and corruption. Some saw this as the heavy-handed repression of military rule. But others remember it as a praiseworthy attempt to fight the endemic graft that prevented Nigeria’s development.
He retains a rare reputation for honesty among Nigeria’s politicians, both military and civilian, largely because of this campaign. As part of his “War Against Indiscipline”, he ordered Nigerians to form neat queues at bus stops, under the sharp eyes of whip-wielding soldiers.
Civil servants who were late for work were publicly humiliated by being forced to do frog jumps. He also introduced a notorious decree to restrict press freedom, under which two journalists were jailed.
However, his attempts to re-balance public finances by curbing imports led to many job losses and the closure of businesses. As part of anti-corruption measures, he also ordered that the currency be replaced – the colour of the naira notes were changed – forcing all holders of old notes to exchange them at banks within a limited period.
Prices rose while living standards fell, leading to a palace coup by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida on August 27, 1985. Buhari was imprisoned for 40 months. Babangida wanted to speed up the restoration of civilian rule, which Buhari did not see as a priority.
Buhari has continued to defend his coup of December 31, 1983. “It is up to the people. If you choose correct leadership, there won’t be any need for the military regime.
“The military came in when it was absolutely necessary and the elected people had failed the country,” he said in October 2005.
When former President Olusegun Obasanjo was a military ruler in the 1970s, Buhari held the key post of minister of petroleum affairs. But the relationship between the former colleagues cooled as Buhari’s coup ousted a civilian government, led by Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who won elections organised by Obasanjo.
This led to continuing questions about Buhari’s commitment to democracy.
Statement by President Obama on the Nigerian Elections
The last few days have shown the world the strength of Nigeria’s commitment to democratic principles. By turning out in large numbers and sometimes waiting all day to cast their votes, Nigerians came together to decide the future of their country peacefully.
I commend President Goodluck Jonathan and President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari for their public commitments to non-violence throughout the campaign. President Jonathan has placed his country’s interests first by conceding the election and congratulating President-Elect Buhari on his victory. I look forward to working with President Jonathan throughout the remainder of his term, and I thank him for his many years of service and his statesmanlike conduct at this critical juncture. I urge President-Elect Buhari and President Jonathan to repeat their calls to their supporters to continue to respect the election outcomes, focus on unifying the country, and together lead Nigeria through a peaceful transition.
Nigeria’s Independent National Election Commission (INEC) and its Chairman, Attahiru Jega, deserve special recognition for what independent international observers have deemed a largely peaceful and orderly vote. I commend INEC for its extensive efforts to increase the credibility and transparency of the electoral process. Looking ahead to the gubernatorial elections on April 11, it is imperative that national attention turn to ensuring isolated logistical challenges are overcome and peace is protected, even in the most hotly contested races.
On behalf of the American people, I extend congratulations to the people of Nigeria and to President-Elect Buhari and look forward to continuing to work with the newly-elected government on our many shared priorities.
President-elect Buhari promises smooth transition to power
Nigeria has awoken to a new leadership, following the election of Muhammadu Buhari as the country’s president. Buhari defeated incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan by over 2 million votes in his fourth attempt in the presidential race. And as CCTV’s Sophia Adengo reported, there were overnight celebrations throughout the country.
President-elect Buhari promises smooth transition to powerNigeria has awoken to a new leadership, following the election of Muhammadu Buhari as the country's president. Buhari defeated incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan by over 2 million votes in his fourth attempt in the presidential race. And as CCTV's Sophia Adengo reported, there were overnight celebrations throughout the country.
Markets rally after presidential election
The Nigerian economy has responded optimistically to the outcome of this presidential election. Both the equity and bond markets rallied after opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari was officially declared the winner. CCTV’s Deji Badmus reports.
Markets rally after presidential electionThe Nigerian economy has responded optimistically to the outcome of this presidential election. Both the equity and bond markets rallied after opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari was officially declared the winner. CCTV's Deji Badmus reports.
John Campbell, former US Ambassador to Nigeria on the elections
For more on that historic presidential election, CCTV spoke to John Campbell. He’s a former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria and has written extensively on the country.
John Campbell, former US Ambassador to Nigeria on the electionsFor more on that historic presidential election, CCTV spoke to John Campbell. He's a former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria and has written extensively on the country.
Nii Akuetteh on Nigeria’s new president and the battle against Boko Haram
To discuss the new Nigerian president-elect, CCTV America interviewed Nii Akuetteh, executive director of the African Immigrant Caucus.