List of Nigerian Presidents (from 1960 to date)

Nigeria had only one president since 1914 till 1960 and that was Queen of England.  After independence in 1960, Nigerian indigenous presidents started controlling the affair of the country. In this write-up, you will be informed about the presidents of Nigeria since independence since 1980 till date.

Sir A Tafawa Balewa

He was the very first prime minister of Nigeria.  He became the prime minister in 1960 and was killed 6 years after during a coup de tat. He became prime minister via a political coalition between the National Council for Nigeria and the Cameroons and the NPC. The former party was led by Late Nnamdi Azikiwe.  Tafawa Balewa was a teacher and he entered into government in 1952. He later served as the minister of transport during the colonial era.

Gen Aguiyi Ironsi

Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi  was a Nigerian Igbo political figure. He served as the President of Nigeria from January 16, 1966 until he was overthrown and killed in a coup on July 29, 1966. Major General J.T Aguiyi-Ironsi, Nigeria’s  first military Head of State was born in 1924 in Umuahia, Abia State. He later joined the Nigeria Army in 1942 as a private and was promoted Major General in 1964.

General Yakubu Gowon

He took power after one military coup d’etat and was overthrown in another. He remains the youngest person to have ruled the country. His government fought to keep Nigeria one during the civil war(1967-1970), which broke out in the aftermath of  the regional tensions arising from the January and July 1966 coups d’etat.

Gen Murtala Mohammed

A hausa, trained at the British military academy at sandhurst, murtala muhammed had command  of federal field  forces in the had played a prominent role in rallying northern offices behind the july1996 coup that fell ironsi .Murtala Muhammed was however killed on February 13,1976 in an abortive coup attempt when his car was ambushed in traffic in lagos .

General Olusegun Obasanjo

e was a chief of staff during Muritala R Muhammed regime before he was named as a military leader in the country. He was the first military leader in the country. He handed over power to a civilian government, Alhaji Sehu Shagari, he became elected civilian president on may 29 ,1999

Alhaaji Shehu Shagari

Nigeria’s Second Republic President, was the first elected president of Nigeria to exercise full executive powers, after the handover of power by General Olusegun Obasanjo caretaker Government.

Maj. General Muhammadu Buhari

Major General Buhari and Major General Tunde Idiagbon were selected to lead the country by middle and high rank military offices after a successful military coup d’etat that overthrew civilian President Shehu Shagari on December 31,1983.

Gen. Ibrahim Babangida

He introduced the concept of military president into the Nigerian political lexicon and till date remains the country’s only military leader addressed by that title. He maintained a firm grip on power and tried to abrogate the unpopular policies he inherited in office. Babangida’s regime was popular for its liberal economic policies.


After Ibrahim Babangida, there follows a series of other presidents, like

Chief Ernest Shonekan,

Late General Sanni Abacha,

General Abdulsalam Abubakar,

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo,

Late Umaru Musa Yar’adua,

Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and

Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari, who is the current present president.

23 thoughts on “List of Nigerian Presidents (from 1960 to date)”

  1. Nigeria! Together we shall grow.
    My people of nigeria God is the only leader who can rule our nation peacefully. Lets rely on Him and He will sent us His representative. God bless Nigeria.

  2. This list s not complete and it shows the compiler lack a complete understanding of Historical events in Nigeria. After Tafawa Beaewa the next Head of State was the then Senate President, Orizu Nwafor who was in power for 3 months as Acting President just like Shonekan. This fact should not be lost in History

  3. Thank you for taking the time to post this, it served a purpose for me. But in commending you, I’d like to humbly point out a few things.
    Anything worth doing is worth doing well…
    So many mistakes…typographical, information and continuity. Please get a proofreader, because it pays to have an extra pair of eyes looking through your work to point out typos and missing information.
    also, Balewa was first PM but Azikiwe was first president.

    Again, many thanks.

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