- Category: Politicians
- Published on Thursday, 20 January 2011 12:42
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Muhammadu Buhari (born December 17, 1942) was the military ruler of Nigeria (31 December 1983 – 27 August 1985) and an unsuccessful candidate for president in 2003 and 2007 presidential elections. His is a Muslim Fulani from Katsina State.
Buhari first came to limelight in 1975 when He became the Minister (or "Federal Commissioner") for Petroleum and Natural Resources under the then-Head of State General Olusegun Obasanjo. Before then he was the Governor of the newly created North Eastern State of Nigeria during the regime of Murtala Mohammed. He later became head of the newly created Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in 1977.
In 1983 Chadian soldiers invaded and took 19 islands in Lake Chad within Nigerian territory. The then Brigadier Buhari, who was the General Officer Commanding of the 3rd Armoured Division (which he did from November 1981 - December 1983) successfully carried out a blockade of Chad. After which all the territories were returned. The Nigerian Army under Buhari then pursued the Chadian Army as far as 50 km into Chadian territory. The 21st Armoured Brigade carried out the blockade and the fighting.
Major-General Buhari was selected to lead the country by middle and high-ranking military officers after a successful military coup d'etat that overthrew civilian President Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983. He was appointed Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and Tunde Idiagbon was appointed Chief of General Staff (the de facto #2 in the administration). Buhari justified the military's seizure of power by castigating the civilian government as hopelessly corrupt, and his administration subsequently initiated a public campaign against indiscipline known as "War Against Indiscipline (WAI)." Despite authoritarian tendencies, the campaign is still lauded by many to have instilled the most orderly conduct of public and private affairs in Nigeria since its independence in 1960.
Buhari was himself overthrown in a coup led by General Ibrahim Babangida on August 27, 1985 and other members of the ruling Supreme Military Council (SMC) ostensibly because he insisted on investigating allegations of fraudulent award of contracts in the Ministry of Defense. If that investigation had been carried through, it is believed that many senior military officers would have been implicated.
Buhari's insistence on this investigation was to become his fait accompli. A Palace Coup was planned and carried out by Gen Ibrahim Babangida and some senior military officers whose necks were heading for the chopping block following the conclusion of the investigation. Without a doubt, this would have become Buhari's and Idiagbon's most bitter and shocking lesson on how endemic and widespread corruption had become in Nigeria.
Buhari served as the Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund, a body created by the Government of General Abacha, and funded from the revenue generated by the increase in prices of petroleum products to pursue developmental projects around the country. His transparent and efficient handling of this agency endeared him to Nigerians.
In 2003, Buhari contested the Presidential election as the candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP). He was defeated by the People's Democratic Party nominee, President Olusẹgun Ọbasanjọ, by a margin of more than eleven million votes. It was claimed by Mr Buhari's supporters and other members of the opposition that in some states, like Ebonyi, there were more votes than there were actually registered voters. Although some allegations of fraud were conclusively proven in the courts, the court decided that the level of proven electoral fraud was not sufficient to affect the outcome of the election and to warrant the cancellation of the whole Presidential election.
On 18 December 2006, Gen. Buhari was nominated as the consensus candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party and he lost again in the April 2007 polls to the ruling PDP candidate, Umaru Yar'Adua, who also hailed from the same home state - Katsina as Buhari. In the election, Buhari officially took 18% of the vote against 70% for Yar'Adua, but Buhari rejected these results. After Yar'Adua took office, the ANPP agreed to join his government, but Buhari denounced this agreement. The election was adjudged the worst in Nigeria’s history.
Buhari left ANPP with his associates to form the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). He is the party's presidential candidate for April 2011 election.
Muhammadu Buhari - Bio data
- Born in Daura, Katsina State, on 17 December 1942.
- Attended Primary School in Daura and Mai'adua, 1948-1952
Attended Katsina Model School in 1953 and Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College Katsina) from 1956-1961.
Joined the then Nigerian Military Training School, Kaduna in 1963.
Attended Officer's Cadet School in Aldershot (United Kingdom), October 1963
Attended Platoon Commanders' Course at the Nigerian Military College, Kaduna, 1964
Attended the Mechanical Transport Officer's Course at the Army Mechanical Transport School in Borden (United Kingdom) 1965
Studied at the Defense Services' Staff College, Wellington (India), 1973
Attended the United States Army War College, June 1979 to June 1980.
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 Brigade, 1966-1967;
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 - February 1970;
Commander, 31st Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, February 1970 - June 1971;
Assistant Adjutant-General, 1st Infantry Division Headquarters, July 1971 - December 1972;
Colonel, General Staff, 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters, January 1974 - September 1974;
Acting Director Supply and Transport, Nigeria Army Corps Headquarters, September 1974 - July 1975;
Military Governor, North Eastern State of Nigeria, August 1975 - March 1976;
Federal Commissioner for Petroleum Resources, March 1976 - June 1978;
Chairman, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, June 1978 - July 1978;
Military Secretary, Army Headquarters, July 1978 - June 1979;
Member, Supreme Military Council, July 1978 - June 1979;
General Officer Commanding, 4th Infantry Division, August 1980 - 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 - August 1985.
Executive Chairman of the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF), 21 March 1995 - May 1999.
- GCFR: Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
DSM: Defense Service Medal
NSM: National Service Medal
GSM: General Service Medal
LSGCM: Loyal Service and Good Conduct Medal
FSS: Forces Service Star
CM: The Congo Medal
Honourary Doctorate Degrees
- 10 December 1994: Honorary Doctor of Science degree (honoris causa) conferred on Buhari by Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi.
- 21 December 1996: Honorary Doctor of Letters degree (honoris causa) conferred on Buhari by the University of Calabar.
- 6 June 1998: Honorary Doctor of Law degree (honoris causa) conferred on Buhari by Benue State University.
Muhammadu Buhari (http://buhari4change.com/?p=300)
Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) distinguished Nigerian, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (GCFR), the Nigerian Armed Forces Services Star medallist, Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa, of the University of Calabar, Benue State University and Enugu State University, Doctor of Letters, University of Ilorin and Doctor of Science, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi. He is an accomplished soldier, a level-headed Statesman, a trustworthy administrator. He has served as Military Governor of the then North-Eastern State, Federal Minister of Petroleum Resources, and Pioneer Chairman of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and as Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Nigeria has known many military leaders, but few have had his foresight; fewer indeed, have been as straightforward, as shrewd, as introspective, as peaceful and in the end as quiet, as placid and as respected as General (Dr) Muhammadu Buhari. Some people are born great; others have greatness thrust upon them. Some become great by dint of hard work, discipline, honesty, purposefulness and trust in God. Buhari achieved greatness by this route. General Buhari was born on December 17, 1942, in the town of Daura in the former Katsina province of the then Northern Nigeria.
He went to Primary School in Daura and Mai’adua from 1948 – 1952, before proceeding to Katsina middle School in 1953. He attended the Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College Katsina) from 1956 – 1961. On graduation from Secondary School in 1961, the young Buhari went to the Nigerian Military Training School, Kaduna in 1963.
In October of the same year, he was sent to the officers’ Cadet School in Aldershot in the United Kingdom and was thereafter commissioned Second Lieutenant in 1963 and posted to the 2nd Infantry Battalion, Abeokuta as Platoon Commander in 1963. A contemporary of his in Aldershot said he was like “an only pebble in the beach, a star in his calm and calculating disposition.”
It was at the Abeokuta Garrison that the real traits of a great soldier were identified in the young man. From 1963 – 1964 he was sent for further training on the Platoon Commanders’ Course at the Nigerian Military College, Kaduna. In 1965, he went for the Mechanical Transport Officers’ Course at the Army Mechanical Transport School in Borden, England. He went to the Defence Services’ Staff College, Wellington, India in 1973 and to the United States Army War College from June 1979 to June 1980. One of his testimonials from the War College referred to Buhari as “a gentleman, a soft-spoken soldier, who preserved the ethics of the profession almost as a Quarter-Master-General. He would touch the tip of his cap in greeting for a lady, would never enter a room with his beret on. Always careful with his language, would smile at every joke and would never do anything to rock the boat” these are some of the credentials of the charming officer and
gentleman called Muhammadu Buhari, an independent tribute made to him in far away United States of America more than two decades ago.
This thorough-bred soldier has held several impressive Command and Staff appointments since 1963, including the following:
- 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 Brigade 1966 – 1967;
- Brigade Major, 2nd Sector, 1st Infantry Division, April to July 1967;
- Brigade Major, 3rd Infantry Brigade, August 1967 – October 1968;
- Acting Commander, 4th Sector, 1st Division November 1968 – February 1970;
- Commander, 31st Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, February 1970 – June 1971;
- Assistant Adjutant-General, 1st Infantry Division Hqrs., July 1971 – Dec. 1972;
- Colonel, General Staff, 3rd Infantry Div. Hqrs. Jan. 1974 – Sept. 1974.
- Acting Director, Supply and Transport, Nigeria Army Corps of supply and Transport, September 1974 – July 1975;
- Military Governor, North Eastern State of Nigeria, August 1975 – March 1976;
- Federal Commissioner for Petroleum Resources, March 1976 to June 1978;
- Chairman, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, June 1978 – July 1978;
- Military Secretary, Army Headquarters July 1978 – June 1979;
- Member Supreme Military Council, March 1976 – June 1979;
- General Officer Commanding, 4th Infantry Division, Aug. 1980 – Jan. 1981;
- General Officer Commanding, 2nd Mechanised Infantry Division, Jan. 1981 – October 1981;
- General Officer Commanding 3rd Armed Division Nigerian Army, October 1981 – December 1983.
- Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, December 1983 – August 1985.
Indeed General Buhari’s education, training and career have shown him to be an accomplished and exalted soldier who deserves commendation and special recognition, because he has proven to be a man of character, integrity and achievement.
A close study of his character shows a permeating integrity. It was during his tenure that the Nigerian National Oil Corporation and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources were reorganised to form the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and he became its first Chairman, a job he performed without blemish. He masterminded and spearheaded the construction of 20 oil depots throughout the country, a project involving over 3200 kilometers of pipelines. Under his leadership both Warri and Kaduna Refineries were built. He drew up the blueprint for the country’s petro-chemical and liquefied natural gas programmes all without even a hint of scandal.
When the masses of this country were about to riot over the increase in the price of fuel some few years back, the Government of the day calmed them down with the promise that the accrual from reduction subsidy was going to be put in an account and that General Buhari was to be appointed the people’s trustee to that Fund. The riots were averted. The people were happy that somebody they could trust, somebody with a clean record, a safe pair of hands somebody the nation revered and respected, was going to be in charge.
Today, Nigerians recall with nostalgia the probity, accountability and honesty and above all thorough and efficient management of public funds demonstrated by the leadership of General Buhari in all public institutions he worked. This is precisely what people want of their leaders whether military, political or traditional. They are suspicious of the very clever and mischievous; they dislike the overly ambitious; but if they know that a man is transparently honest in his personal and official dealings, they are more than ready to accept him. General Buhari is a man of proven integrity. Wherever you tap his life, there is a ring of truth about it.
It is always dangerous to see a thoroughly good person hijacked from the position for which he got professional training into a position of political leadership, because he could fail so tragically. But General Buhari, though a thoroughbred soldier is naturally equipped for governance and is temperamentally suited for leadership. As Head of State in the country, he did not crack under the pressure of office. He did not flap when things went wrong. He kept his head when others were panicking. He was prepared to be disliked, on the understanding that occasional unpopularity goes with the job of leadership. He faced many crises; personal, domestic and national, and came through all these unscathed.
He is a man of sound vision, judgement and who during his regime, tried to transform the society with his War Against Indiscipline (WAI) policy which won him national and universal applause. A minister in his cabinet once said, he was “an elegantly shrewd and intelligent leader.”
General Buhari is by nature industrious and not afraid of hard work. He finds his way to the heart of a problem and rapidly sorts it out. He rallies the loyalty of subordinates and communicates his decisions intelligibly to others. Above all, he knows how to fit others (like his second in command) into his team, how to make them work together and how to get the best out of them. One of his greatest attributes is his capacity to delegate and to accept responsibility when things go wrong. This quality in statesmanship, these quintessence administrative skills is what makes him a special student in the school of democracy-his new found platform for service to Nigerians. Since April 25, 2002 when he joined partisan politics by registering with the All Nigeria People’s Party ANPP, the story of Nigerian political terrain has radically changed.
Indeed, there is a great deal of sense in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s statement which is applicable to General Buhari today: “I’m part of all that I have met and the mistakes or lessons of the past can be woven into the fabric of our personalities and used to clothe and equip us for the future”. Out of his knowledge and recorded experience General Buhari, through his political movement – The Buhari Organization, otherwise known as Project Nigeria, has introduced a new concept into Nigerian politics: service to the people. The organization is staffed by first class technocrats and academics who out of patriotism submit themselves against all odds to provide an alternative option which consequently will rescue the people of this country from imminent confusion which came about as the result of insensitive, unfocussed and visionless programme of the present administration.
Good education, military training, nature, character, experience and proven record are the foundations on which the exemplary leadership of this remarkable man is built. These are the qualities General Buhari is bringing into Nigerian politics. It is not given to many to rise as he has done from such honourable birth to become such a distinguished man of distinction and destiny. If we may borrow the words of Shakespeare: “There is indeed a divinity that shaped the life and times of General Muhammadu Buhari, rough hew them how we will”.
In recognition of his numerous and enviable contributions towards the development of this country, General Buhari has been conferred with a number of national awards. He is the recipient of the following:
- GCFR Grand Commander of the Federal Republic
- CFR Commander of the Federal Republic
- DSM Defence Service Medal
- NSM National Service Medal
- GSM General Service Medal
- LSGCM Loyal Service and Good Conduct Medal
- FSS Force Service Staff
- CD The Congo Medal
Never in the recent history of Nigeria, has a former Head of State, as noiseless, humble and as ready to serve as he has been endeared himself so much to the hearts of the masses. He is neither a defeatist nor a pessimist. He knows himself, he knows Nigerians and he knows how to overcome difficulties and make Nigeria a better place for all.
He is ready to take off his shoes even as a soldier, obey the call of a commoner and serve the poor. Nigerians’ most especially the masses are touched by the humility of this General who understands that the first and most important thing about leadership is to be sure that it is exercised in the right direction, according to the interest of the people.
This is indeed General Muhammadu Buhari, a man of intimidating personality and credentials, Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Minister of Petroleum; Military Governor of the them North Eastern State; an affable man of courage; an incorruptible Nigerian dedicated to sanitising the social and economic life of Nigeria; a soldier known for his gallantry and chivalry; an accomplished administrator, statesman, politician and above all a Good Man.