Buhari, Muhammadu, 1942–, Nigerian military officer and political leader. A Fulani from Katsina State, he joined the army in 1961; he rose to the rank of general and participated in several coups. He was appointed military governor of North Eastern State (1975), federal commissioner for petroleum resources (1976), and military secretary at Supreme Military Headquarters (1977). Buhari again held army commands from 1980, and in 1983 he seized power from the democratically elected president, Alhaji Shagari . Economic problems and harsh political repression led to Buhari's overthrow in a 1985 coup that installed Ibrahim Babangida . Buhari, an unsuccessful opposition candidate for president in 2003, 2007, and 2011, became the All Progressive Congress candidate for president in 2015 and defeated the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan , who was seen as tolerating corruption and responding inadequately to the Boko Haram insurgency. One of Buhari's first major acts as president was the creation of a joint military force, led by Nigeria and including Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Benin, to combat Boko Haram. In 2017 Buhari was absent abroad for long stretches for undisclosed medical reasons, leading to speculation about his health and the need for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to assume the presidency temporarily.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: African History: Biographies