On Friday, 29 May 2015, something historic happened in Nigeria. For the first time ever, there was a peaceful transition of power from an incumbent civilian government to an opposition. The man at the center of all these was none other than President Muhammadu Buhari.
He and his party had swayed Nigerians into voting him into power using the ‘CHANGE’ mantra –‘Sai Changii’ -the popular slogan that swept many off their feet was constantly noised all over the northern part of the country as the All Peoples Congress (APC) raced to an unprecedented victory.
The man ‘Buhari’ has since taken over the reins as the 5th President of the fourth republic in the most popular black nation on planet earth.
We decided to bring you a few facts you might not know about Mr. President. Below are 10 of such.
1. No Nigerian ruler has jailed more people than Buhari
Yes, you got it right. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has ruled Nigeria before, and we still remember his antecedents as a military dictator. We all knew that Buhari jailed a whole lot of people during his stint in power in the 80s but then what many of you don’t know is that there has never been a Nigerian ruler who sent more people to prison than ‘Baba’ (back then o).
The Buhari and Idiagbon military administration jailed not less than 500 notable politicians and over 200 ordinary Nigerians during their crackdown on corruption and indiscipline in the 80s. President Buhari has since described himself as a converted democrat.
2. Involved in a military coup that toppled a civilian government
We do not believe that there was any top ranking military officer in the 60s to early 90s who wasn’t in one way or the other linked in a military coup. Buhari is no different, he was actively involved in the counter coup which happened in July 1966. But most notably, Buhari is remembered for the coup which toppled a democratically elected civilian government.
In 1983, General Buhari who was then a General Officer Commanding (GOC), at the third Armored Division of Jos conspired with a few top ranking military officers and overthrew the Shagari led civilian government. Buhari described Shagari’s government as “hopelessly corrupt!”
3. Jailed in Benin City
The power wielded by a dictator is always tempting to other high-ranking military officers and the mouths of these military officers watered at the opportunity of taking over the reins for even a day. They got their chance when Gen. Buhari left the country briefly in 1985. General Ibrahim Babangida seized the opportunity and promptly overthrew the Buhari led government.
On his return, he (Buhari) was arrested and incarcerated in… Well, we didn’t know at first, but we later discovered he was locked up somewhere in Benin City. For a period spanning 3-years, 1985-1988. Anyways, Buhari didn’t die, he stayed alive like Mandela and returned to rule Nigeria again some 28 years later.
4. First Nigerian president to double as minister
It has never happened before. No Nigerian President has ever appointed himself as minister of the federal republic. That was exactly what President Buhari did.
Our jaws dropped when Buhari decided to name himself the Minister of petroleum.
5. He is a highly trained military officer
Forget all that certificate hullabaloo -it was probably one of those political stunts being pulled by the opposition prior to the 2015 elections. We went digging and we discovered that Mr. President is a highly trained military officer.
He was trained as an Army officer in Kaduna. He was also trained as a military officer in Great Britain at the Officer’s Cadet School. General Buhari also trained at the Defense Services Staff College in India as well as the United States Army War College in America.
6. He is a seasoned cattle rearer
Yes, our president is a seasoned cattle rearer. Not just that he owns 270 cows, he knows how to milk a cow and all that stuff. We know this because this was the profession he used in supporting himself after his father died when Mr. President was just a little boy.
You see, being the 23rd child of his family, he had to do the cattle rearing thingy to get on with life after the death of the breadwinner of the family (his father). He must have been very dedicated to that job because today, he is the most highly placed former cattle rearer in Nigeria.
7. Still owns two mud houses in Daura
We took a look at Mr. President’s declared assets, and we found something interesting. Do you know he still maintains two mud houses he inherited from his now late elder sister and the other an inheritance from his late father?
This is a bit of cliché, but Mr. President is still looking for a land he owns in Port Harcourt while maintaining his mud houses.
8. Lost his first daughter to sickle cell anemia
Sadly, of the 10 children born to President Buhari, two are deceased. What caught our attention was the fact that Mr. President lost his first daughter, Zulaihat, to sickle cell anemia, a couple of days after she was delivered of a baby -the baby survived, though.
The fact that she died of sickle cell anemia means that the genotype of Buhari and that of his first wife, Safinatu, must not have been ideal.
9. Currently, runs a ranch in Daura
Currently, president Buhari owns a cattle ranch in his hometown, Daura Katsina State. From our findings, he has close to 300 cows in that ranch as well as a few sheep and goats. This shouldn’t surprise anyone.
10. He lost his first wife to diabetes
We all know Mrs. Aisha Buhari is the first lady in Nigeria today, but she wasn’t the first Lady when he was a dictator in 1984. It was Mrs. Safinatu Buhari who held that position of first lady at the time.
Sadly, on 14th January 2006, the former first lady died from complications due to diabetes. Now, you ask the question if President Buhari had already married Aisha before the death of Saifinatu; the definite answer is yes! She’s no newcomer.