After independence in 1960, Nigerian indigenous presidents started controlling the affairs of the country. In this write-up, you will be informed about the Top 10 Longest Serving Presidents In Nigeria’s History.
1. General Yakubu Gowon
Duration: 8 years, 362 days
Gowon took power after one military coup d’etat and was overthrown in another. Till date He remains the youngest person (31) 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.
His tenure lasted for 8 years and 362 days, making him the Longest Serving President In Nigeria’s History.
2. Olusegun Obasanjo
Duration: 8 years
He first ruled Nigeria as a millitary man for 3 years 258 days (1976-1979) and then came back again in 1999 presidential election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. In 2003, he ran for a second term and won by a margin of more than 11 million votes. Obasanjo is the second Longest Serving President in Nigeria’s History.
3. General Ibrahim Babangida
Duration: 7 years, 364 days
Babangida was the Chief of Army Staff and a member of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) under the administration of Major General Muhammadu Buhari. Babangida would later overthrow Buhari’s regime on 27 August 1985 in a military coup that relied on mid-level officers that Babangida had strategically positioned over the year. Babangida is the third longest serving head of state in Nigeria’s History.
4. Goodluck Jonathan
Duration: 5 years, 25 days
In accordance with the order of succession in the Nigerian constitution, following President Umaru Yar’Adua ‘s death on 5 May 2010, Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 6 May 2010, becoming Nigeria’s 14th Head of State. He also contested and won the 2011 general election against General Muhammadu Buhari. He left power in 2015 after he lost to Buhari. He is the fourth longest serving head of state in Nigeria’s History
5. General Sani Abacha
Duration: 4 years, 203 days
After overthrowing the short-lived transitional government of Chief Ernest Shonekan. General Sani Abacha went on to rule the country for 4 years and some days until his death in June 1998.
His administration was the first to record unprecedented economic achievements.
6. Shehu Shagari
Duration: 4 years, 91 days
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. His administration lasted for 4 years and 91 days. Shehu Shagari is the 6th longest serving head of state in Nigeria’s History
7. Umaru Musa Yar’Adua
Duration: 2 years, 341 days
After he was declared the winner of the controversial Nigerian presidential election held on 21 April 2007, and was sworn in on 29 May 2007. He went on to rule the country for 2 years and 341 days until his death in 2010. Till date he remains the most loved Nigerian president ever.
9. Nnamdi Azikiwe
Duration: 2 years, 107 days
On 16 November 1960, he became the Governor General, with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as Prime Minister. With the proclamation of Nigeria as a republic in 1963, he became the first President of Nigeria.
Azikiwe and his civilian colleagues were removed from power in the military coup of 15 January 1966.
10. Muhammadu Buhari
Incumbent 2 years, 96 days and counting
After unsuccessfully running for the office of president in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 general elections. In December 2014, he emerged as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the March 2015 general elections. Buhari won the election, defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
Buhari was sworn in on 29 May 2015. He is currently in his second term in office.