The military regime will always be a part of the Nigerian story. It was very instrumental to Nigeria being who she is today.
The military regime, a period associated with coup and wars, when the average Nigerian could not express their opinion. So many negativity was and is attached to this time frame if you ask the older generations of Nigerians, they will have one sorrowful story or the other to tell.
In as much as the military regime was a period of forceful actions, where a leader didn’t exactly owe his subordinates an explanation for all his actions (as we do now), the military regime was also a period where Nigeria experienced massive economic boom.
It witnesses a period of plenty for Nigerians, so much that people from neighboring countries started finding their way into the country, because we had much to eat and enough to give away.
Many people might argue that the military regime was nothing to write home about, but many others will tell you that they wish we were still using the military system of government in Nigeria.
One thing that is certain is that a group of people should always be given an opportunity to select who governs them, as it helps to build trust and good statesmanship.
Today, we will be considering 5 past military heads of states, who are still alive. Nigeria has had so many leaders in the past, some died after leaving the position, many died while in a position of power (mostly coup), while others are alive till date. Let’s look at 5 of these past military rulers who are still very much alive, we will also consider what they looked like then and now.
1. ABDULSALAMI ABUBAKAR
Abubakar is a man with a mixed legacy, most of the controversy recorded concerning the past head of state is in relation to his support for Abacha’s government.
He was born on the 13th of June 1942, in Niger state. Abubakar serves in both the Nigerian Air-force and the Nigerian Army. Abubakar was the Chief of defense staff before he took over from his boss, Abacha, after his demise in 1998.
2. OLUSEGUN OBASANJO
This senior statesman has definitely ruled Nigeria more than any other person. He ruled both as a military man and as a civilian. Baba Iyabo as he is generally called was born on the.
Obasanjo became a head of state in 1975 after Murtala Muhammad was assassinated, he was the highest-ranking officer at the time, so he automatically became the next in line for the position of power.
He handed over power to a civilian government in 1979. In 1999 Obasanjo ran for presidency under the people’s Democratic Party and he won. He was president for 8 years before handing over to Yaradua in 2007. He is now a farmer in Ogun State.
3. MUHAMMADU BUHARI
Yes, the present Nigerian president is also on the list. Buhari was also a military head of state. Buhari was born on the 17th of December 1942. Buhari, who became the military head of state in 1983, after removing Shehu Shagarri in a coup.
He ruled until 1985 when he was ousted by Babangida. Buhari once again became a president in 2015, after he won the democratic elections. Buhari is presently running his second tenure.
4. IBRAHIM BABANGIDA
AKA evil genius, Babangida was involved in so many coups during his time in the military, Babangida had been very active in the military, way before he became the head of state.
Babangida became the head of state after he ousted Buhari in a coup in 1985, he hails from Minna. He ruled Nigeria for 8 years before handing over in 1993, to the interim government of Shonekan.
As a civilian Babangida has shown interest in the presidency twice under the umbrella of PDP. He got a nomination form in 2007 before he withdrew his candidature, he also showed interest in 2011, but he ended up not running. In 2017, he had corrective surgery, Babangida is considered a foremost statesman.
5. YAKUBU GOWON
Popularly known for his involvement in the Nigerian Civil war, that took almost 3 million lives. He was the head of state during the civil war. Gowon was removed from power through a coup by Murtala Muhammad in 1975.
After he was ousted he went into exile in United Kingdom where he acquired a Ph.D. in political science. At a point, Gowon was stripped of his General rank and his pension put on hold, because of his alleged involvement in a coup that tried to take out Murtala. His sins were later forgiven and his rank and benefits reinstated.