BUHARI: The making of history (Part I)


After three previous failed attempts at the presidency, Muhammadu Buhari, a retired infantry general has finally fulfil his ambition of occupying Aso Rock, Nigeria’s presidential palace,a s the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Buhari, who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, polled a total of 15,416,221 votes to defeat the incumbent and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, President Goodluck Jonathan, who got 12,853,162 votes.

The APC candidate got the highest number of votes in 21 states and met the constitutional requirement to be declared President-elect by getting more than one quarter of the votes in 27 states., while Jonathan prevailed in 15 states and Abuja.

The APC candidate won in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Sokoto, Yobe, Zamfara and Borno states.

Jonathan on the other hand prevailed in Rivers, Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa, Imo, Enugu, Ekiti, Edo, Delta, Ebonyi, Cross River, Bayelsa, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Abia and the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja).

Buhari’s victory makes it the second time since 1999, when Nigeria returned to democratic rule, that a retired military officer would become Nigeria’s president.

The retired army officer’s journey to the presidency began in 2003 when he contested under the platform of the now defunct All Peoples Party, APP, polling 12.7 million votes to lose to Olusegun Obasanjo, also a retired army officer, who was seeking a second term as president.

Four years later, Buhari, contesting under the ANPP, attempted another shot at the presidency, going head to head with a fellow northerner, Umar Yar’adua of the PDP.

But like it happened in his contest against Obasanjo, Buhari lost again.

By 2011, Buhari was instrumental in the formation of another party, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, under which platform he against contested along with a Southern muslim as running mate.

On April, 16, 2011, he ran against the incumbent, President Jonathan, polled 12.2 million votes to lose to Jonathan who got almost twice his votes.

After the 2011 general elections, three major political parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and Buhari’s CPC – began merger talks that would enable it provide a formidable platform to challenge the dominant PDP.

That experiment became a reality on February 6, 2013, when the APC was founded.

Again, this time, Buhari threw himself into the ring and contested the party’s presidential primaries in December 2014, against political heavyweights like Atiku Abubakar, former vice president; Rabiu Kwankwaso, governor of Kano State; and Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo State.

At the end of the day, the retired general polled 3,430 delegates votes to defeat his challengers.

For his running mate in the run up to the 2015 general election, Buhari again picked a south westerner as a running mate and during his campaign, the 73-year-old retired general traversed the length and breadth of the country canvassing for votes.

The 2015 presidential election was the first time Mr. Buhari won in states outside northern Nigeria, winning all the south-western states except Ekiti State.

Marriage, family and personal life
Born on 17 December 1942, in Daura, Katsina State, to his father Adamu and his mother Zulaihat, Buhari is the 23rd child of his father and was raised by his mother, after his father died when he was about three or four.

In 1971, Buhari married his first wife, Safinatu (née Yusuf) Buhari (First lady of Nigeria December 1983-August 1985). They had five children together, four girls and one boy.

Their first daughter, Zulaihat (Zulai) is named after Buhari’s mother. Their other children are Fatima, Musa (deceased), Hadiza, and Safinatu.

In 1988, Buhari and his first wife Safinatu were divorced and in December 1989, Buhari married his second and current wife Aisha (née Halilu) Buhari and are blessed with five children, a boy and four girls. They are Aisha, Halima, Yusuf, Zarah and Amina.

On 14 January 2006, Safinatu Buhari, the former first lady, died from complications of diabetes and was buried at Unguwar Rimi cemetery in accordance with Islamic rites.

In November 2012, Buhari’s first daughter, Zulaihat (née Buhari) Junaid died from sickle cell anaemia, two days after having a baby at a Hospital in Kaduna.

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