List Of Nigerian Presidents: An Historical List From 1960 Till Date

From where do I start now? A list of Nigerian Presidents, right? Okay, let me go a little further back.

Start with Nigerian leaders from 1914 till date? Nah, let me begin from Madam Queen Elizabeth II who was also monarch of England. Of course, the Queen didn’t rule from Nigeria, she had a Governor-General represent her in Nigeria.

So the Queen’s reign lasted three years (from October 1, 1960, to October 1, 1963). While her rule lasted, she had Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as Prime Minister.

Queen Elizabeth’s Governor-General was then removed and replaced by another Governor-General in the person of Sir James Robertson who was Nigeria’s former colonial Governor.

He served for just 46 days and was later replaced by Nnamdi Azikiwe.

Nnamdi Azikiwe and Balewa continued as Governor-General and Prime Minister respectively till October 1, 1963, when the first republic was ushered in.

List Of All Nigerian Presidents

First Republic (1963–1966)

Here under the 1963 constitution, everything about monarchy was dropped. Azikwe was then elected for a five-year term by parliament.

PresidentTerm of office
NameTook officeLeft officeDuration
1Nnamdi Azikiwe
(1904–1996)
1 October 196316 January 1966
(deposed.)
2 years, 107 days

Military Rule (1966–1979)

Of course, that Azikwe regime didn’t last beyond two years before Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu led a coup d’état.

From the table below you will see where that first coup led Nigeria as baton kept getting passed.

Fasten your seatbelt as I take you through military rule in Nigeria since 1960.

NameTook OfficeLeft OfficeDuration
2Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi
(1924–1966)
16 January 196629 July 1966
(assassinated.)
194 days
3General Yakubu Gowon
(1934–)
1 August 196629 July 1975
(deposed.)
8 years, 362 days
4General Murtala Mohammed
(1938–1976)
29 July 197513 February 1976
(assassinated.)
199 days
5Major-General Olusegun Obasanjo
(1937–)
13 February 19761 October 1979
(resigned.)
3 years, 258 days

You must have observed the infamous 1976 coup in Nigeria perpetuated by Lieutenant Colonel Bukar Suka Dimka which led to the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed.

Second Republic (1979–1983)

At this point, the khaki guys decided to return to the barracks and Major-General Olusegun Obasanjo handed over to Alhaji Shehu Shagari.

PresidentTerm Of Office
NameTook OfficeLeft OfficeDuration
6Shehu Shagari
(1925–2018)
1 October 197931 December 1983
(deposed.)
4 years, 91 days

Military Rule (1983–1993)

Before Nigerian’s could finish saying ‘Jack Robinson’, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari led another coup d’état which overthrew President Shagari’s government.

Head of StateTerm of Office
NameTook OfficeLeft OfficeDuration
7Major-General Muhammadu Buhari
(1942–)
31 December 198327 August 1985
(deposed.)
1 year, 239 days
8General Ibrahim Babangida
(1941–)
27 August 198526 August 1993
(resigned.)
7 years, 364 days

 Third Republic (1993)

General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), after taking Nigerians on a merry-go-round, handed power over to Ernest Shonekan.

PresidentTerm Of Office
NameTook OfficeLeft OfficeDuration
9Ernest Shonekan
(1936–)
26 August 199317 November 1993
(deposed.)
83 days

Military Rule (1993–1999)

When the defence minister, General Sani Abacha, saw that Shonekan didn’t understand his left from his right, he overthrew him and took control of power in November 1993.

Head of StateTerm of Office
NameTook OfficeLeft OfficeDuration
10General Sani Abacha
(1943–1998)
17 November 19938 June 1998
(died in office.)
4 years, 203 days
11General Abdulsalami Abubakar
(1942–)
8 June 199829 May 1999
(resigned.)
355 days

Fourth Republic (1999 – Till Date)

Abacha eventually died in office on June 8, 1998, (you can find details of his death here) after committing so many atrocities and then came General Abdulsalami Abubakar who led Nigeria to the fourth republic that she is still in today. The list of Nigerian Presidents table below shows how the journey has been so far.

PresidentTerm Of Office
NameTook OfficeLeft OfficeDuration
12Olusegun Obasanjo
(1937–)
29 May 199929 May 20078 years, 0 days
13Umaru Musa Yar’Adua
(1951–2010)
29 May 20075 May 2010
(died in office.)
2 years, 341 days
14Goodluck Jonathan
(1957–)
5 May 201029 May 20155 years, 25 days
15Muhammadu Buhari
(1942–)
29 May 2015Incumbent4 years, 35 days

So that’s it: the list of all Nigerian presidents!

But before I go, let me give you a quick peek into a list of the former presidents and heads of states who have ever ruled Nigeria and are still alive.

Meanwhile, you can find pictures of Nigerian presidents from 1960 to date here.

List Of All Living Former Heads Of State & Presidents Of Nigeria

NameTerm/ReignOfficeDate Of Birth
Elizabeth II1961–1963Queen of NigeriaApril 21, 1926 (Age 93)
Yakubu Gowon1966–1975Military rulerOctober 19, 1934 (Age 84)
Olusegun Obasanjo1976–1979
1999–2007
Military ruler
President of Nigeria
March 5, 1937 (Age 82)
Shehu Shagari1979–1983President of NigeriaFebruary 25, 1925 (Age 94)
Muhammadu Buhari1983–1985
2015–
Military ruler
President of Nigeria
December 17, 1942 (Age 76)
Ibrahim Babangida1985–1993Military rulerAugust 17, 1941 (Age 77)
Ernest Shonekan1993President of NigeriaMay 9, 1936 (Age 83)
Abdulsalami Abubakar1998–1999Military rulerJune 13, 1942 (Age 77)
Goodluck Jonathan2010–2015President of NigeriaNovember 20, 1957 (Age 61)

Have any comment you want to share concerning these names of Nigerian president from 1960 till date? The comment box is right below.

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