Muhammadu Buhari GCFR (born 17 December 1942) is a Nigerian politician who has been President of Nigeria since 2015.
Buhari is a retired Nigerian Army Major General and has served as military head of state in Nigeria between 1983 to 1985, after taking power in a military coup d’état. The term Buharism is ascribed to the authoritarian policies of his military regime. Buhari has said 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”.
Buhari ran for president of Nigeria in 2003, 2007, and 2011. In December 2014, he emerged as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress party for the 2015 general election. Buhari won the election, defeating incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. This was the first time in the history of Nigeria that an incumbent president lost a general election. He was sworn in on 29 May 2015. In February 2019, Buhari was re-elected, defeating his closest rival former Vice President Atiku Abubakar by over 3 million votes.
Buhari was born to a Fulani family on 17 December 1942, in Daura, Katsina State, his father was called Mallam Hardo Adamu, a Fulani chieftain from Dumurkul in Mai’Adua, and his mother’s name was Zulaihat, who had Hausa and Kanuri ancestry. He is the twenty-third child of his father and was named after ninth-century Persian Islamic scholar Muhammad al-Bukhari. Buhari was raised by his mother, he was about four years old when his father died. He attended primary school in Daura and Mai’adua, in 1953, Katsina Middle School, and attended Katsina Provincial Secondary School from 1956 to 1961.
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. Following the bloody 1966 Nigerian coup d’état, which resulted in the death of Premier Ahmadu Bello. Lieutenant Buhari alongside several young officers from Northern Nigeria, took part in the July counter-coup which ousted General Aguiyi Ironsi replacing him with General Yakubu Gowon.
In 1971, Buhari married his first wife, Safinatu (née Yusuf). 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. On 14 January 2006, Safinatu, the former first lady, died from complications of diabetes. 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.
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. Yusuf married Zahra Nasir Bayero, the daughter of Emir Nasiru Ado Bayero, in August 2021.
In 2015, Buhari declared US$150,000 cash; in addition to five homes and two mud houses as well as farms, an orchard and a ranch of 270 head of cattle, 25 sheep, five horses and a variety of birds, shares in three firms, two undeveloped plots of land, and two cars bought from his savings.