Muhammadu Buhari: Biography, achievements, family, net worth

Muhammadu Buhari: Biography, achievements, family, net worth

Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is the current Nigerian President. He defeated the incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 before winning a second term in the 2019 general election.


Buhari was born into a Fulani family on December 17, 1942, in Daura, Katsina State. His mother, Zulaihat, was of Hausa and Kanuri heritage, while his father was Mallam Hardo Adamu, a Fulani leader from Dumurkul in Mai’Adua. He bears the name Muhammad al-Bukhari, a Persian-born Islamic scholar who lived in the ninth century as the 23rd child of his father. Buhari was about four years old when his father passed away; his mother raised him. In 1953, he attended primary school in Daura and Mai’adua. From 1956 to 1961, he studied at Katsina Provincial Secondary School in Katsina State.


Major-General Buhari

In 1962, Buhari enlisted in the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) at 19. The college was upgraded to become an officer-commissioning establishment of the Nigerian Army in February 1964, and its name was changed to the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) (before 1964, the Nigerian government sent cadets who had completed their NMTC preliminary training to mostly Commonwealth military academies for officer cadet training).

Buhari received officer cadet training at the Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, England, from 1962 to 1963. He was given his appointment as a second lieutenant and made the Platoon Commander of the Second Infantry Battalion in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria, in January 1963, when he was 20 years old. Buhari completed the Platoon Commanders’ Course at the Nigerian Military Training College in Kaduna from November 1963 to January 1964. He completed the Mechanical Transport Officer’s Course at the Army Mechanical Transport School in Borden, England, in 1964 to expedite his military training.

Buhari led the Second Infantry Battalion from 1965 to 1967 before being named brigade major of the First Infantry Division’s Second Sector from April to July 1967 after the brutal coup d’état in Nigeria in 1966, which ended with the murder of Premier, Ahmadu Bello. Along with other young officers from Northern Nigeria, Lieutenant Buhari took part in the counter-coup in July that led to the overthrow of General Aguiyi Ironsi and the installation of General Yakubu Gowon.

When the Nigerian Civil War began, the 1st Division was temporarily relocated from Kaduna to Makurdi, Benue State, and was commanded by Lt. Col. Mohammed Shuwa. Shuwa was supported by sector commanders Martin Adamu and Sule Apollo, later replaced by Theophilus Danjuma, in dividing the 1st division into sectors and then battalions. The first position Buhari held was that of adjutant and company commander for the Second Sector Infantry of the 1st Division’s 2 Battalion unit.

He served as the Army Headquarters’ Military Secretary from 1978 to 1979 while also serving as a member of the Supreme Military Council during that time. Buhari (class of 1980) studied for a Master’s in Strategic Studies at the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, from 1979 to 1980 while holding the rank of colonel. The United States Army War College (USAWC) college grants its graduate officers a master’s degree in Strategic Studies upon completing the ten-month on-campus full-time resident programme and the two-year distance learning programme.

Buhari as Head of State

Muhammadu Buhari as military head of state

The Obasanjo/Yar’Adua administration, the previous military rule, was modelled after the organisation of the Buhari military leadership, which was also Nigeria’s fifth after independence. A Federal Executive Council, a Supreme Military Council, and a Council of States were all constituted under the new government. The administration reduced the number of ministries to 18 while also conducting a layoff exercise among the top levels of the civil service and police. Along with certain senior police and naval personnel, 17 permanent secretaries were also let go. To further its objectives, the new military administration also issued new laws.

The Buhari administration faced many of the same economic issues that had bedevilled the Shagari administration, and Buhari enacted austerity measures.

Because of his aggressive stance against corruption, hundreds of commercial and political leaders were tried, found guilty, or awaiting prosecution during his administration. Although authoritarian tactics were occasionally employed in the War Against Indiscipline, a programme that tried to advance good values in Nigerian society was started under his administration. Buhari put limitations on the press, political liberties, and unionists in an effort to quell opposition to his policies.

Although many Nigerians had initially praised Buhari’s initiatives to combat corruption and advance societal ideals, his government’s repressive tactics, combined with the country’s ongoing economic problems, contributed to unrest. Even the military had had enough by August 1985, and on August 27, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida seized power. At the end of 1988, Buhari was released after being imprisoned in Benin City.

Muhammadu Buhari contesting

In the presidential election of 2003, Olusegun Obasanjo of the Peoples Democratic Party beat Buhari. In a 2007 election that international observers roundly criticised for being tainted by voting irregularities, Buhari ran again but lost to the PDP’s Umaru Yar’Adua. In 2011, Buhari campaigned for President in a contest acclaimed for being mainly transparent, free, and fair, but incumbent PDP candidate Goodluck Jonathan defeated him.

Muhammadu Buhari Presidency

Muhammadu Buhari Presidency

Buhari ran in the 2015 presidential election as an All Progressives Congress candidate. His programme was based on his reputation as a fierce opponent of corruption and his unblemished and honourable character, but he declared that he would not look into previous corrupt leaders and would pardon those who had stolen in the past if they repented.

Jonathan’s campaign requested that Buhari be disqualified from the election in 2015, arguing that he had violated the Constitution. The foundational document states that a person must be “educated up to at least school certificate level or its equivalent” in order to be eligible for election to the office of President.

Under Buhari, progress was uneven. His administration got off to a rocky start when, partly due to dwindling oil sales revenue, the nation entered a recession in 2016. Although there were signs of partial economic recovery from the recession by 2018, many Nigerians were still in abject poverty. The conflict with several Boko Haram divisions went on. Despite the military’s early success in suppressing the groups, the militants regrouped, and their attacks increased.

Furthermore, militants looking to sabotage oil production and secessionists from Biafra posed a security danger to Buhari’s administration in the nation’s southeast. The fight against corruption throughout his administration received both acclaims for its advancement and criticism for concentrating more on supporters than on political allies.

Buhari’s health and, thus, his capacity to lead Nigeria were questioned during this time due to his frequent trips overseas for medical treatment. He left the country many times in 2017 to receive treatment for an undisclosed medical condition; that year, he was gone for more than five months, leaving his vice president in charge. Buhari’s prolonged absences and lack of transparency surrounding his health sparked rumours that he had passed away and been replaced by a body double.

Buhari and his government downplayed the health issues, and he was chosen as the APC’s nominee for the February 2019 presidential election. The poll, which was originally supposed to take place on February 16 but was postponed at the last minute till February 23, featured more than 70 opponents for Buhari. He triumphed, gaining reelection with almost 56 per cent of the vote.


Buhari has achieved several things as the President of the country; some of them are: The Nationwide Social Investment Program, a national social welfare programme, was introduced by Buhari in 2016. The program was established to ensure that resources were distributed more fairly to vulnerable groups, such as children, youth, and women. Four initiatives deal with unemployment, poverty, and promoting economic growth:

The N-Power programme offers young Nigerians a monthly stipend of N30,000 ($83.33), job training, and educational opportunities. It is a social investment programme that President Muhammadu Buhari launched on June 8, 2016, to increase the employment rate for young people. The scheme was created to support the recipients’ capacity development and skill training as a key element of the National Social Investment program.

The Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCTP), which gives money to persons in the lowest income bracket and thereby directly aids the most vulnerable, works to combat poverty, enhance nutrition and self-sufficiency, and promote development by boosting consumption.

A microlending entrepreneurship initiative with an emphasis on farmers, petty traders, and market women is called the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP). This programme helps to lower the start-up costs of businesses in Nigeria by offering free loans to its beneficiaries. TraderMoni, MarketMoni, and FarmerMoni are some of the available programmes.

The National Home Grown School Feeding Program (NHGSF) offers free meals to pupils, especially those in underprivileged and food-insecure areas, to boost enrollment. By empowering women to become chefs and working with local farmers, the initiative fosters community development and sustains economic growth from farm to table.


Muhammadu Buhari and his family

Buhari wedded Safinatu (née Yusuf), his first wife, in 1971. Together, they had four girls and one boy, totaling five kids. Zulaihat (Zulai), their first child, was given Buhari’s mother’s name. Fatima, Musa (deceased), Hadiza, and Safinatu are their other children. Safinatu, the former first lady, passed away on January 14, 2006, as a result of complications from diabetes. Zulaihat (née Buhari) Junaid, Buhari’s first daughter, passed away from sickle cell anemia in November 2012, just two days after giving birth at a hospital in Kaduna.

Buhari’s first marriage to Safinatu ended in divorce in 1988. Aisha Buhari (née Halilu), Buhari’s second and current wife, and he were married in December 1989. Aisha, Halima, Yusuf, Zahra, and Amina were their other four girls and one boy; they were their other five children. In August 2021, Yusuf wed Zahra Nasir Bayero, a child of Emir Nasiru Ado Bayero.

Net worth

Muhammadu Buhari’s net worth is estimated at N33.2 billion ($80m). He is considered one of the richest leaders in Africa.


Buhari, just like any other leader, is not void of controversies. Muhammadu Buhari declared publicly in December 2014 that if he were elected President, the position of the First Lady would be abolished since it was unconstitutional.

The First Lady’s office is “obviously an irrelevant, fraudulent, and unconstitutional office, whose only purpose is to further plunder the resources of the country,” the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a Nigerian militant group that supported Buhari during the 2015 general elections, praised him for his plans.

Buhari has not yet abolished the position of First Lady since taking office on May 29, 2015. As the President’s wife, Aisha Buhari conducts business from the First Lady’s residence.

Buhari has made some contentious remarks about women after suggesting abolishing the First Lady’s position.

After his wife had earlier asked him to step up his leadership, Buhari emphasised during his visit to Germany’s then-Chancellor, Angela Merkel, that he did not know which party his wife belonged to but that she belonged to his kitchen, his living room, and ‘the other room.’

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Esther is versatile writer who thrives in writing top-notch long-form articles. She enjoys research and has an eye for details. She's currently a writer at BlackDot Media.
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