Achievements of Nigeria's Heads of State till 2022

By Oyemaja Feeds, a division of The Oyemaja Group.


Azikiwe Nnamdi (1 October 1963 to 16 January 1966)

Political party: National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons, Nigerian People's Party

State of Origin: Zungeru, Northern Nigeria Protectorate

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • He established the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1960.

  • On 22 August 1960, a few weeks prior to independence, Nigeria joined the world football body of FIFA. He united Nigeria through sport and brought about a sense of nationalism that was referred to as ‘Nigerian-ness’.

  • He established a national library.


General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi (16 January 1966 to 29 July 1966)

Political party:

State of Origin: Umuaiha, Abia, Nigeria.

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • He passed the controversial Unification Decree No. 34 aimed to unify Nigeria into a unitary state in Nigeria.

  • He was responsible for the circulation of Newspaper Decree No. 2 which removed the restrictions on press freedom put in place by the preceding civilian administration.


General Yakubu Gowon (1 August 1966 to 29 July 1975)

Political party: Military man

State of Origin: Kanke, Northern Region.

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • He led Nigeria during the Civil War which started in 1967.

  • Gowon created 12 out of the 36 states in Nigeria today.

  • He is responsible for establishing the National Youth Service Corps program, which is enjoyed by many Nigerians.

  • He created the first National Development Plan for Nigeria immediately after the Civil War.


General Murtala Mohammed (29 July 1975 to 13 February 1976)

Political party:

State of Origin: Kano, Northern Region,

British Nigeria.

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • Muhammed put in place plans to build a new Federal Capital Territory due to Lagos being overcrowded. He set up a panel headed by Justice Akinola Aguda, which chose the Abuja area as the new capital ahead of other proposed locations.

  • He created seven more states in February 1976: Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Imo, Niger, Ogun, and Ondo. This brought the total number of states in Nigeria to nineteen in 1976.

  • He decreased the number of troops in the armed forces from 250,000 to 150,000, as part of his reorganization and demobilization campaign after the civil war.


General Obasanjo Olusegun (13 February 1976 to 1 October 1979)

Political party:

State of Origin: Ogun, Nigeria

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • He introduced the Primary Education Act in 1976; between 1975–76 and 1979–80, enrollment in free but voluntary primary schooling grew from 6 million to 12.5 million.

  • Obasanjo introduced free secondary education in technical subjects, something extended to all secondary schooling in 1979–80.

  • Pushing for cut-backs in the military, Obasanjo's government saw 12,000 soldiers demobilised over the course of 1976 and 1977. These troops went through new rehabilitation centres to assist them in adjusting to civilian life.



President Shehu Shagari (1 October 1979 to 31 December 1983)

Political party: National Party of Nigeria

State of Origin: Shagari, Nigeria

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • Shagari's government embarked on a "Green Revolution", distributing seed and fertilizer to farmers to increase nationwide productivity in farming.

  • He launched many road networks across the country.

  • Shagari built and improved some sea ports including Sapele Ports Complex and started the Federal Ocean Terminal in Port Harcourt.

  • Shagari created the Ministry of Aviation and built three airports in Minna, Bauchi and Akure. New passenger aircraft were also acquired for Nigerian Airways including eight B.737 and four airbus 310 during which Nigeria had the largest airline network in Africa.

  • Shagari's government built several tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Particularly Universities of Technology.


General Muhammadu Buhari (31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985)

Political party:

State of Origin:

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • In 20 months as Head of State, about 500 politicians, officials and businessmen were jailed for corruption during his stewardship.

  • He encouraged import substitution industrialisation based to a great extent on the use of local materials.

  • Buhari broke ties with the International Monetary Fund, when the fund asked the government to devalue the naira by 60%.

  • War Against Indiscipline (WAI) was launched on 20 March, 1984 - the policy tried to address the perceived lack of public morality and civic responsibility of Nigerian society.

  • Decree 20 on illegal ship bunkering and drug trafficking was an example of Buhari's tough approach to crime.




General Ibrahim Babangida (27 August 1985 to 26 August 1993)

Political party:

State of Origin: Minna, Northern Region, British Nigeria.

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • In 1986, Babangida launched the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), with support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, to restructure the Nigerian economy.

  • In 1987, he launched the Mass Mobilization for Self Reliance, Social Justice and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), following a recommendation from the Political Bureau, to increase self reliance and economic recovery.

  • He finished the construction of the Third Mainland Bridge, the largest bridge on the continent at the time.

  • Babangida founded the Federal Road Safety Corps in order to better manage the national roads.

  • He created 11 States bringing the total number of states in Nigeria to thirty in 1991.


Ernest Shonekan (26 August 1993 to 17 November 1993)

Political party:

State of Origin: Lagos, Western Region, Nigeria

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • Shonekan's administration introduced a bill to repeal three major draconian decrees of the military government.

  • In 1994, he founded the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, an advocacy group and think-tank for private sector-led development of the Nigerian economy.


General Sani Abacha (17 November 1993 to 8 June 1998)

Political party:

State of Origin: Kano, Northern Region, British Nigeria.

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • Abacha's administration oversaw an increase in the country's foreign exchange reserves from $494 million in 1993 to $9.6 billion by the middle of 1997.

  • His administration reduced the external debt of Nigeria from $36 billion in 1993 to $27 billion by 1997.

  • Abacha constructed between 25–100 km of urban roads in major cities such as Kano, Gusau, Benin, Funtua, Zaria, Enugu, Kaduna, Aba, Lagos, Lokoja and Port Harcourt.

  • He reduced an inflation rate of 54% inherited from Ernest Shonekan to 8.5% between 1993 and 1998.



General Abdulsalami Abubakar (8 June 1998 to 29 May 1999)

Political party:

State of Origin: Minna, Northern Region, British Nigeria.

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • He established the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)




Olusegun Obasanjo (29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007)

Political party: Peoples Democratic Party

State of Origin: Ogun State

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • During his first administration the levels of freedom experienced by Nigerians increased; freedom of the press allowed for considerable criticism of the president.

  • He retired around 200 military officers, including all 93 who held political positions, thus making a coup by experienced officers less likely.

  • He moved the Defence Ministry from Lagos to Abuja, ensuring it was brought under more direct government control.

  • On 12 June 2006, he signed the Greentree Agreement with Cameroonian President Paul Biya which formally put an end to the Bakassi peninsula border dispute.

  • With the oil revenue, Obasanjo created the Niger Delta Development Commission and implemented the Universal Basic Education Program to enhance the literacy level of Nigerians.

  • Before Obasanjo's administration, Nigeria's GDP growth had been painfully slow since 1987, and only managed 3 percent between 1999 and 2000. However, under Obasanjo, the growth rate doubled to 6 percent until he left office, helped in part by higher oil prices. Nigeria's foreign reserves rose from $2 billion in 1999 to $43 billion on leaving office in 2007.

  • He was able to secure debt pardons from the Paris and London club amounting to some $18 billion and paid another $18 billion to be debt free.

  • In 2000, Obasanjo's government doubled the legal minimum wage.

  • To advance public health more broadly, he launched a new primary care campaign that used local government funds to try and build a clinic in every one of Nigeria's 774 local government areas.


Umaru Musa Yar Adua (29 May 2007 to 5 May 2010)

Political party:

State of Origin: Katsina, Northern Region, British Nigeria.

Gender: Male

Achievements:


Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (29 May 2010 to 29 May 2015)

Political party: People's Democratic Party

State of Origin: Ogbia, Eastern Region, British Nigeria (now Ogbia, Bayelsa State, Nigeria)

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • Under Jonathan's administration, Nigeria rebased its gross domestic product for the first time in over a decade, becoming the largest economy in Africa by overtaking South Africa and Egypt.

  • The Jonathan administration accrued over US$454 billion while in office from oil revenue.

  • The Jonathan administration oversaw the construction of new railways in the country, including the Abuja-Kaduna railway, Lagos-Ibadan railway and conceptualized high speed rail projects.


President Muhammadu Buhari (Current President as at 2022)

Political party: All Progressives Congress

State of Origin: Daura, Northern Region, British Nigeria

Gender: Male

Achievements:

  • 500,000 N-Power beneficiaries were enrolled, deployed and were receiving N30,000 in monthly stipends.

  • The Nigerian Air Force has acquired 22 brand new aircraft since President Buhari assumed office in 2015

  • A total of US$622 million in looted Abacha funds repatriated to Nigeria in two tranches in December 2017 and April 2020.

  • Establishment of a 500 billion Naira COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund, for the upgrading of health facilities nationwide, finance a national Special Public Works Programme, as well as any other interventions.

  • President Buhari signed into law a Finance Bill, to reform domestic tax laws, introduce tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets, and improve the business environment.





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