Nigeria profile - Leaders

  • 12 June 2015
  • From the section Africa
Muhammadu Buhari after casting his vote in the 2015 Nigerian presidential election. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Muhammadu Buhari has a reputation of being tough on corruption

President: Muhammadu Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari swept to a historic election victory in March 2015, becoming the first opposition candidate to win a Nigerian presidential poll.

A former military ruler, Mr Buhari defeated incumbent Goodluck Jonathan by three million votes.

Mr Jonathan's People's Democratic Party had dominated Nigerian politics since the end of military rule in 1999, but its supremacy was shaken by the formation of the Mr Buhari's All Progressives Congress party in 2013.

The APC in particular capitalised on Mr Jonathan's failure to deal with endemic corruption and the Boku Haram Islamist insurgency gripping northern Nigeria.

A Muslim ethnic Fulani from northern Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari in 1983 helped to oust elected President Shehu Shagari to and become the first head of Nigeria's second period of military rule, lasting until 1999.

His regime sought to combat crime and corruption, but was also accused of serious rights abuses. In 1985, he was himself overthrown by Gen Ibrahim Babangida.

Since the restoration of democracy in 1999, Mr Buhari stood three times for the presidency before winning in 2015.

He has distanced himself from military rule, promising to respect democracy and govern as a civilian leader. He scored a major diplomatic success in June 2015 when neighbouring countries agreed to Nigeria commanding a joint force to counter Boku Haram, rather than rotating the command among themselves.

Born as his father's twenty-third child in 1942 in northern Katsina state, Mr Buhari began his long military career in 1961.

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