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Nigerian Politics

History of Nigerian political leadership from 1914 to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

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History of Nigerian political leadership from 1914 to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

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29 May 2023 will mark another epochal historical event in Nigeria when the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be inaugurated.

In this article, I will try to give the chronological order of those who have led or been on the saddle of topmost leadership in the Federation of Nigeria since it was birthed on 1 January 1914 (109 years ago).

The area or geographical space that constitutes present Nigeria was under British colonialism from about 1860 till 1960.

However, I will start my chronology from 1 January 1914 when the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria(1900-1914)and the Colony of Lagos (1861-1906), and the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria(1906-1914) were merged or amalgamated to form the Federation of Nigeria.

The first Governor General of the Federation of Nigeria was Sir Fredrick John Dealtry Lugard (1858-1945).
He was a British Soldier and Colonial Administrator.

He was the last Governor of the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria (1912-1914); the First High Commissioner of the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria (1900-1906); and the last Governor of the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria (1912-1914).

Sir Lugard was the First Governor-General of Nigeria (1914-1919).
After Lord Lugard Governor-:Generalship of Nigeria ended in 1919 the position was abolished.
Governors took over as the head of the Nigerian colonial administration.

The first Governor of the Federation of Nigeria was Sir Hugh Charles Clifford (1866-1941).
He was the Governor of Nigeria from 8 August 1919 to 13 November 1925.
He attained the distinguished rank of Major General in the British Army before he became a colonial administrator.

Sir Graeme Thomson (1875-1933) was the second Governor of Nigeria (from 13 November 1925 to 17 June 1931).
He was a British Civil Servant.
The third Governor of Nigeria was Sir Donald Charles Cameroon (1872-1948).
He was Governor from 1931-1935.
He was a civil servant.

The fourth Governor of Nigeria was Sir Bernard Henry Bourdillion (1883-1948).
He was Governor from 1935-1943.
He was a British Soldier and civil servant.

Sir Arthur Fredrick Richards (1885-1978) was the fifth Governor of Nigeria from 1943 to 5 February 1948.
He was a British civil servant.
After Sir Richards’s tenure as Governor of Nigeria ended in 1948, the position of Governor was changed to Governor-General.

The 2nd Governor-General of Nigeria was Sir John Stuart Macpherson (1898-1971).
He was the Governor-General of Nigeria from 1948 to 1955.
He was a British Civil Servant.

The 3rd Governor-General of Nigeria was Sir James Wilson Robertson (1899-1983).
He was Governor-General from 1955 to 1 October 1960.

He was a British civil servant.
He was the last British Colonial Governor-General of Nigeria.
Nigeria became an independent sovereign country on 1 October 1960.

Rt Honourable Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe(1904-1996) was appointed the First Nigerian Governor-General of the Federation of Nigeria.

He was Governor-General from 15 November 1960 to 1 October 1963.
He was also the First President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 1 October 1960 to 15 January 1966.
He was a politician and a journalist.

The First and last Prime Minister of the Federation of Nigeria was Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (30 August 1957 – 15 January 1966).

He was a teacher and politician.
He served as Prime Minister from 30 August 1957 – 15 January 1966.

From 15 January 1966, the military took over the reins of the political governance of Nigeria.

The office of the President and Prime Minister were suspended and a Military Head of State was appointed.
The first Military head of State was Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi (1924-1966).

He was assassinated on 29 July 1966 in Lagelu, Ibadan in the then Western Nigeria group provinces in a military coup De tat.

The second Military head of State (from 29 January 1966 to 29 July 1975) of Nigeria was General Yakubu Dan-Yumma “Jack” Gowon(1934).

The third Military Head of State was General Murtala Ramat Mohammed (1938-1976).

He was Head of State from 29 July 1975 to 13 February 1976.

He was assassinated in office on 13 February 1976.

The fourth Military Head of State was General Olusegun Obasanjo (1937).
He was the Military Head of State from February 1976 to 1 October 1979 when power was transferred from the military to a democratically elected government.

The 2nd President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (democratically elected President ) was Alhaji Shehu Usman Shagari (1925-2018).
He was a teacher, administrator, and politician.

He was the federal Commissioner for Finance(1971–1975);
Federal Commissioner for Economic Development, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction(1970–1971);
Federal Minister of Works(1965–1966); Federal Minister of Internal Affairs
(1962–1965);
Federal Minister of Pensions
(1960–1962);
Federal Minister of Economic Development office(1959–1960); and
Federal Minister of Commerce and Industries(1958-1959).

He was toppled on 31 December 1983 in a military coup that ended the 2nd Republic in Nigeria.

The military took over political governance in Nigeria again and the fifth military head of State in history in the person Major General Muhammadu Buhari (1947) emerged.

He was toppled in another military coup on 26 August 1985.

The 6th military Head of State was General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (1941).

He was in the office from 27 August 1985 till 26 August 1993.
He transmuted from Military Head of State to Military President.

The 7th Military Head of State of Nigeria was General Sani Abacha(1943-1998).

He was in the office from 17 November 1993 – 8 June 1998.
He died on 8 June 1998 in office.

The 8th military head of the State of Nigeria was General Abdulsalam Abubakar (1942).

He was in office from 9 June 1998 – 29 May 1999.

He made history when he transferred power to a democratically elected government on 29 May 1999 (this was the second transfer of power from the military to civilians in Nigeria since independence in 1960).

President Olusegun Obasanjo (former General Olusegun Obasanjo) was sworn into office on 29 May 1999 as the second democratically elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He was again elected in 2003 and served as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria till 29 May 2007.

President Umaru Musa Yaradua(1951-2010) a graduate of education and chemistry; and former Governor of Katsina State(1999-2007) was sworn into office on 29 May 2007 but unfortunately died on 5 May 2010 in office.

He was succeeded constitutionally by President Goodluck Jonathan.
He was Vice President of Nigeria (2007-2010), Deputy Governor(1999-2005), and Governor of Bayelsa State(2005-2007).
He holds a doctorate in Zoology and had a career in academics before he veered into public service and politics.
His time as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ended on 29 May 2015 after he lost the election in March 2015.

President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn into office on 29 May 2015.
His first term ended on 29 May 2019.
He was re-elected in February 2019 for a second term that will expire on 29 May 2023.

On 29 May 2023, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be inaugurated as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He is an American university-educated accountant.
He was a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007.
He was a pro-democracy activist that had fought to end military dictatorship in Nigeria in the early 1990s.

. Chief Okoi Obono-Obla writes from Abuja