THE All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, retired, was born on December 17, 1942 in Daura, Katsina State. He was the 13th and the last child of his mother Zulaihat Buhari. He was also the last and the 23rd of his father, Hardo Adamu, a Fulani chief of Dumukori, a village near Daura, Katsina State.
He was barely four when his father died. He was, therefore, brought up by his mother.
He started his primary education at Central Primary School and later Kankia Primary School, where he finished in 1955.
His secondary school education was at Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College, Katsina, Katsina State).
He started his military career in 1962 when he joined the then Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna, which later became Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna.
He attended several other military trainings both at home and abroad. His last military training was at United States Army War College (USAWC), Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA, where graduates are awarded Masters degree in Strategic Studies.
He also held several leadership positions in the military during his 23-year career which culminated in his being appointed the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in 1983, after the military putsch which ousted President Shehu Shagari.
That 1983 military coup was the second he would be participating. He was also part of the July 1966 military putsch which did not only oust General Aguiyi Ironsi’s government but killed him and his host, Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi.
General Muhammadu Buhari, before becoming Head of State and Commander-in-Chief in 1983, had also held different political offices.
He was appointed Governor of North Eastern State (which was later split into Bauchi, Borno and Gongola States. Gongola State has been further split into Adamawa and Taraba State) in 1975, by late General Murtala Muhammed.
Again in 1976, he was appointed Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources by the then Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo, retired. He was to later add the chairmanship of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to his portfolio in 1976 when the corporation was established.
It was under his administration as the chairman of NNPC that the four existing petroleum refineries in the country today were built.
The zenith of all his political appointments was on December 31, 1983, when his military colleagues appointed him the military Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the country after they overthrew the democratically elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
He was Nigeria’s Head of State and Commander-in-Chief until August 27, 1985, when he was eased out of power through a military coup d’etat. He was placed in detention somewhere in Benin City, Edo State until 1988, when he was released.
In 1996, he was back as part of the administrators of the country when late General Sani Abacha, appointed him the chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), a position he held until 1998.
In 2003, General Buhari (retd), decided to throw his hat into the ring of partisan politics. He emerged the presidential candidate of All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), in that year’s (2003) presidential election. He lost to the incumbent, President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Again in 2007, he emerged the presidential candidate of All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), against the ruling party, PDP candidate, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who was from the same Katsina State with him.
He was defeated in the presidential election.
In 2010, General Buhari, retd, left ANPP to single handedly form Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). It was on the political platform of CPC that he for the third time contested the presidential election on April 16, 2011. He was again defeated by the ruling party candidate, this time President Goodluck Jonathan, who took over from Umaru Yar’Adua. Jonathan defeated Buhari by 22,495,187 votes to 12,214,853 votes.
In 2013, Buhari’s party, CPC merged with Asiwaju Tinubu’s ACN and ANPP to form All Progressives Congress (APC), the political platform on which he intends to contest the February 14, 2015 presidential election for the fourth time.
HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY
General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), got married to his first wife, Late Safinatu Buhari (nee Yusuf) in 1971. Between them they had five children, four girls and a boy. But today, only three of the children are alive. Musa, the only male of the five children was said to have died at childhood, while the first daughter, Zulaihat, who was named after Buhari’s mother died in November 2012, of complications from sickle cell anaemia, two days after she delivered a baby in a hospital in Kaduna.
General Buhari divorced his first wife in 1988 after he was released from detention by General Ibrahim Babangida’s government.
Unconfirmed report had it then that the General divorced his first wife because she was frolicking with Babangida’s government despite warning her not to do so. The woman eventually died in 2006 of complications from diabetes.
However, in 1989, the General married another wife, Aishat, who was said to be a cousin of one of his friends.
Aisha Buhari was born in Adamawa State into the family of the first Minister of Defense, Alhaji Mohammadu Ribadu. She attended Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria where she bagged a Bachelors degree in Public Administration. She also has a diploma in Physiotherapy and Beauty Therapy.
She is also an alumnus of the famous Carlton Institute of London and Academy Esthetique Beauty Institute of France, Dubai, where she earned a post graduate diploma in Cosmetology and Beauty Therapy.
Mrs. Aisha Buhari also has five children four girls and a boy for the General. They are Aisha, Halima, Yusuf, Zarah and Amina.
– TOLANI ABATTI