The Best Nigerian presidents of all time

The situation in Nigeria from independence to the present day makes it difficult to believe that an effective and efficient president has ever held office in the country’s history. 

Nigeria has experienced its share of poor leadership. Nonetheless, even at the country’s worse points, there exist a few leaders, to a certain extent, who attempted to ensure that that nation advanced tremendously. They were the greatest Nigerian heads of state ever.

This work examines the achievements of Nigeria’s greatest leaders of all time.

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The best Presidents or heads of state ever to rule Nigeria

1. Olusegun Obasanjo, 1976-1979 and 1999-2007

Obasanjo was born on March 5, 1937, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. He served as president from 1976 to 1979 and from 1999 to 2007. He is without a doubt one of Nigeria’s greatest presidents. Numerous online media articles and opinion polls on this subject support this. Olusegun Obasanjo served as both president and head of the military.

From 1976 to 1979, he ruled the country as a general. Nigerians witnessed minute evidence of good leadership during this regime. This was largely caused by efficient governance, developments, and incessant reforms.

Usually, it is said that Obasanjo brought peace, security, and unity to the country during his time in power, especially during his civilian rule. During his military regime, Obasanjo established a constitutional drafting committee to hand over the government to a civilian leader, this action shocked the entire nation to its guts. His strong belief in democracy was demonstrated by this.

In addition, Obasanjo established numerous anti-corruption agencies throughout the nation. For instance, organizations like the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were established during his tenure.

Before leaving office in 2007, Obasanjo had increased Nigeria’s foreign reserves by about 50%, from $2 billion to $43 billion.

2. President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, 2007-2010

Through a survey conducted by TheCable and to which more than 2,000 Nigerians responded, it was found that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua came in second place on the list of the best presidents in Nigeria. During Nigeria’s first republic, he was born in Kastina to Musa Yar’Adua, a former minister in Lagos State.

One of the presidents who led Nigeria with the interests of the people in mind was Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. His most significant policy framework was the 7-Point Agenda. Additionally, he initiated the Niger Delta Militants’ amnesty program.

Sadly, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua did not last long enough to accomplish more for the nation. In 2010, he passed away, and his deputy, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who continued to do more for the nation, took his place.

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3. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, 2010-2015

Goodluck was born in 1957 in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. He was Nigeria’s president from 2010 to 2015. Despite his family being poor, Goodluck was able to study and graduate all the way to the University level.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was regarded as one of Nigeria’s greatest achievements following two facts, he was not a previous military ruler or related to any of the Nigerian elite. If not for his inept handling of the Boko Haram crisis, it is believed that Goodluck would have been the best president Nigeria has ever had. This was the greatest test of his system.

Despite this, Goodluck’s government was able to effectively deal with and control the Ebola outbreak in the country. Additionally, he brought the country’s railway industry into existence.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is still referred to as Nigeria’s most democratic leader. He never influenced the outcomes of elections. Additionally, he made an effort to bring development to every part of the country and to unite it. However, many Nigerians contend that he was unfit to lead this nation, with most later regretting the steps taken then.

4. General Muhammadu Buhari, 1983-1985 and 2015-2023

General Muhammadu Buhari is another leader worthy of mentioning. According to numerous reports and polls, he is surprisingly among the best Nigeria has ever produced.

President Buhari during his military regime was known as a straightforward totalitarian from 1983 to 1985. the President also ensured within his power that the country was free of corruption and disorder.

Since Buhari is currently president at the time this article was published, it would be unfair to draw conclusions on his accomplishments. Nevertheless, President Muhammadu Buhari has implemented various reforms thus far, including the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which was established to support the nation’s economic recovery.

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5. General Murtala Rufai Ramat Mohammed, 1975-1976

On November 8, 1938, General Murtala Mohammed was born. He served as a general in the Nigerian army and ruled the country from 1975 to 1976. 

A great number of individuals assert that his opponents murdered him just 200 days after he assumed office due to the optimistic visions he had for Nigeria.

He is frequently hailed as a hero, and his 200 days in office were often regarded as one of the best in Nigerian history. During his time in power, he began making preparations to relocate the capital to Abuja. 

Additionally, he implemented many foreign policies to support the nation’s growth and development. Lastly, after Yakubu Gowon, he established seven additional states.

6. General Ibrahim Babangida, 1985 to 1993 

Ibrahim Babangida was born in Minna, Nigeria, on August 17, 1941. He was a military commander and one of Nigeria’s greatest presidents in terms of economic and infrastructural development. 

The “Structural Adjustment Program” was one of many innovations introduced by Babangida. This was primarily done to support the agricultural sector and the export of made-in-Nigeria goods to other nations.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), which we know today, was also introduced by Babangida. Additionally, the National Drug Enforcement Administration (NDLEA) was established during his tenure. In contrast to what we have today, these agencies were very effective, which was another wonderful aspect of his regime. The regime also built the Third Mainland Bridge, which was the longest bridge in Africa (presently the second longest bridge).

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Conclusion

Nigeria has been independent for over 50 years, a majority of that time has seen the country being ruled through a dictatorship military power. This article listed the best Nigerian presidents of all time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who was Nigeria’s leader during the civil war?

Yakubu Gowon was Nigeria’s head of state during the Nigerian civil war.

Which Nigerian President started the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)?

The government of Yakubu Gowon started the NYSC.

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Richard Okoroafor

Richard Okoroafor

Richard is a brilliant legal content writer who doubles as a finance lawyer. He brings his wealth of legal knowledge in corporate commercial transactions to bear, offering the best value that exceeds expectations.

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