A native of Katsina State, Muslim, born in 1942, Buhari was 7th head of state of Nigeria (1983 – 1985. His initial military training was at the Nigerian military training school and military college, Kaduna. This was furthered at the Officer’s Cadet School (UK), Army Mechanical Transport School (UK), Defence Services’ Staff College (India), and United States Army War College. His previous work experience includes: Governor (North-Eastern Nigeria, 1975), Federal Commissioner for Petroleum Resources (1976-78), Chairman, NNPC (1978), Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF, ’95 – ’99).However, in 1995, he was appointed chairman of the PTF by the Sani Abacha administration. There is a general perception that he handled this excess oil revenue fund with transparency and efficiency.
Relative to the political scene, Buhari is certainly not a newcomer. In 2003 and 2007, he contested the presidential elections on the ANPP
platform and lost in both cases to the ruling party, PDP. He unsuccessfully challenged both doctored election results in court.
He is judged to be a man who commands a sizable level of followership and respect, especially among the Nigerian youths,intellectuals, every day people and Nigeria in diaspora. This may be due to the successful implementation of an anti corruption and indiscipline campaign during his military rule.
Many Nigerians still see this effort as having instilled the highest level of order, discipline and perhaps accountability in the nation’s history.
On the global front, Buhari is reported to be well respected. It is on record that he and Nelson Mandela were the only private African individuals invited by the White House to Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony.
In the last Nigeria presidential election he successfully tapped to the use of electronic social media networking as campaign tools,
Regarding national issues such as accountability and governance, he proposes the concept of an online budget monitoring and performance system. He has set a target to generate and distribute at least 15,000 MW of electricity by 2015, achieve a real GDP annual growth of 10%, transform the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to a commercial business, and progress the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). A critical point of his manifesto is to make information technology, manufacturing, agriculture and entertainment Nigeria’s key economic drivers.
To be continued…….