Since Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, returned to democracy in 1999, the country has held six elections and elected four presidents. With another election slated for February 2023, Nigeria would, by that time, celebrate 24 years of its return to democracy; following a military regime of 33 years (1966 – 1999) with the short-lived democracy under the Second Nigerian Republic of 1979 to 1983 included.
Highlights of Past President
Olusegun Obasanjo of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) became the first elected president after Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999. The former head of state won the presidential poll held on May 29th 1999 amidst the agitation in the South-west region of Nigeria triggered by the death of the winner of the 1993 election, Late Chief M.K.O Abiola. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in his eight years tenure secured the $18 billion Paris relief debt, formed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). Inflation rates during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo reign hit 18.87% but at the time he left office was 8.23%.
Another PDP member, Umaru Yar’adua, won the presidential election held on May 29, 2007. Late Umaru Yar’adua was elected President off the back of an eight-year tenure (1999 – 2007) as governor of Katsina State. Late Umaru Yar’adua came into government with a seven-point agenda that included power and energy, infrastructure, food security, wealth creation, transport sector, land reforms, security and education. Umaru Yar’adua created the Ministry of Niger Delta and the Presidential Amnesty Programme to substitute militancy in the region. His regime killed the then leader of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, in 2009. The inflation rate ranged between 5.39% and 13.72%. Late Umaru Yar’adua died on May 5, 2010.
Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was the Vice President to Late Umaru Yar’adua. And after the death of his boss in 2010, the former governor of Bayelsa State, Goodluck Jonathan assumed office. Goodluck Jonathan was re-elected in 2011, still under the umbrella of PDP. The former Bayelsa State governor formed nine new universities, commissioned railway projects and inaugurated the 2014 Constitutional Conference, amongst other achievements. But kidnappings (including the kidnap of 200 Chibok girls), bombings in the northern part of the country and other security challenges tainted his four-year tenure. Inflation rates fluctuated between 8.06% – 13.72%. Goodluck Jonathan lost re-election in 2015.
In May 2015, after three consecutive failures, the All-Progressive Congress (APC) broke the dominance of the PDP in presidential elections through President Muhammadu Buhari. The former head of state won the country’s apex position with a “change” agenda hinged on a fight against corruption, tackling insecurity, etc. President Muhammadu Buhari, whose tenure is to run out in 2023, has commissioned roads and railway projects, launched Africa’s first electronic currency, eNaira, and many more. In President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the country is experiencing one of the worst ever economic crises, heightened insecurity, diminishing power sector, and many more concerning issues. Inflation rate currently stands at 17.61 (May 2022).