In Nigeria, the position of Chief of Army Staff is occupied by the most senior commissioned officer appointed by the President of Nigeria. The role of the Chief of Army Staff is the formulation and execution of policies and strategies directed towards the accomplishment of National security and operational competence of the force.
This is a comprehensive list of Chiefs of Army Staff in Nigeria’s history:
Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya
This is the incumbent Chief of Army Staff that assumed office on May 27, 2021, after appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari, following the death of Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attairu, the preceding Chief of Army Staff. Lt. Gen. Yahaya was commissioned into the Nigerian Army in 1990, after successful completion of officer cadet training.
Prior to his appointment as Chief of Army Staff, he served as Theatre Commander, Operation HADIN KAI, with the responsibility of counter counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.
Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru
Occupied the position of Chief of Army Staff for three months from January 26, until his death on May 27, 2021, where he was involved in NAF Beechcraft B300 King Air 350i crash. He was commissioned into the Nigerian Army in December 1986.
He was involved in several military assignments before his appointment of COAS, in and outside the shores of Nigeria; military observer with the United Nations (UN) in Sierra Leone, Operations Officer for Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) operation in Liberia, and Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, among other.
Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai
He was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as Cheif of Army Staff in July 2015. He occupied the position for five years and six months until January of 2021. His military journey began in January 1981 when he enrolled for officer cadet training in the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA). On the 17th of December, 1983, he was commissioned into the Nigerian Army.
Gen. Kenneth Minimah
From January 2014 to July 2015, Lt. Gen. Minimah served as the Chief of Army Staff. Before his ascent to the COAS, he has functioned as General Officer Commanding of Nigerian Battalion 2, Commanding Officer of 149 Infantry Battalion, Director of Standards and Combat readiness as well as Commandant Officer of the Nigerian Army School of Infantry.
He was commissioned into the Nigerian Army on December 18, 1981, after successful completion of officer cadet training at the Nigerian Defence Academy. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Master’s in Strategic Studies, both from the University of Ibadan.
Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika
Ihejirika served as Chief of Army Staff for three years and four months under the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, from September 2010 until January 2014. He obtained a degree in Quantity Survey from Ahmadu Bello University and is an alumnus of the following military institutions; Command and Staff College, Jaji, and the National War College.
Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Dambazua
Appointed as Chief of Army Staff by President Yar’Adua in August 2008. He occupied the position for two years and a month, until September 2010. He enrolled in the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1974 and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army in 1977.
He later became Minister of Interior from 2015 to 2019 under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Gen. Luka Nyeh Yusuf
He was born on September 22 and died on June 2, 2009. He occupied the position of Chief of Army Staff from June 2007 until August 2008.
Gen. Owoye Andrew Azazi
Born on February 1, 1952, and died on December 15, 2012. He occupied the position of the Chief of Army Staff from 1st June 2006 until May 2007. Thereafter he served in the following positions; National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief of Defence Staff, and General Officer Commanding 1 Division Kaduna.
Gen. Martin Luther Agwai
Appointed into the position of Chief of Army Staff in June 2003. He occupied the position for three years till June 2006. He also acted in the capacity of Chief of Defence Staff as well as several international military assignments in Sierra Leone and Darfur. He retired in December 2009.
He is an alumnus of National Defence University, USA, and Command and Staff College where he obtained military training.
Major General Alexander Odeareduo Ogomudia
Served as Chief of Army Staff from April 2001 to June 2003, under Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. His military career took off in 1972 when he was commissioned into the Nigerian Army Signal, and he occupied several top positions in the forces such as; General Staff Officer, Adjutant, Commanding Officer, Defending Staff, and Director of Telecommunications, among Other roles.
He attended a number of military training in the United States of America, India, and Nigeria.
Gen. Victor Samuel Leonard Malu
Born on January 15, 1947, and died October 9, 2017. He served in the position of Chief of Army Staff for a year and eleven months from May 1999 until April 2001.
Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi
Occupied the post of Chief of Army Staff from March 1996 until May 1999. He received military training at Nigerian Defense Academy in 1968, and Command and General Staff College, USA.
He has occupied other posts of repute prior to his appointment as Chief of Army Staff which include: Adjutant, Commanding Officer, Directing Staff, Commander and Director of Training in the Department of Operations, Army Headquarters.
He retired in May 1999.
Major General Alwali Kazir
Occupied the position of Chief of Army Staff for a year and seven months from August 1994 until March 1996.
Major General Mohammed Chris Alli
Served as Chief of Army Staff for nine months from November 1993 until August 1994
Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusua
Occupied position of Chief of Army Staff of Nigeria from September 1993 until November 1993.
Gen. Salihu Ibrahim
Born June 25, 1835, and died December 10, 2018. He occupied the position of Chief of Army Staff from August 1990 until September 1993.
Born September 20, 1943, and died June 8, 1998. He was the Chief of Army Staff from August 1985 until August 1990. He later occupied the Chief of Defence Staff position from 1990 until 1993, Minister of Defence, and Head of State of Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998.
He was the first Nigerian Army Officer in Nigeria that attained the rank of full military general without skipping a rank.
Major General Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda
Occupied the position of Chief of Army Staff from January 1984 until August 1985.
Gen. Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi
Occupied the position of Chief of Army Staff from October 1981 until October 1983
Gen. Gibson Sanda Jalo
Born on March 1, 1939, and died on January 10, 2000. He served as Chief of Army Staff from April 1980 until October 1981.
Gen. Ipoola Alani Akinrade
Occupied the position of Chief of Army Staff for six months from October 1979 until April 1, 1980
Gen. Theophilus Danjuma
Served as Chief of Staff from July 1975 until October 2019
Major General David Akpode Ejoor
Born on January 10, 1932, and died on February 10, 2019. Served as Chief of Army Staff from January 1971 to July 1975.
Major General Hassan Katsina
Born March 31, 1933, and died July 24, 1995. He occupied the post of Chief of Army Staff from May 1968 until January 1971.
Col. Joseph Akahan
Born on April 12, 1937, and died in May 1968. He served as Chief of Army Staff for a year from May 1967 until May 1968.
Col. Yakubu Gowon
Served as Chief of Army Staff for six months from January 1966 until July of the same year.