Muhammadu Buhari, the freshly inaugurated president of Nigeria, has a jaded past and likely a tumultuous future as leader of a nation wrought with violent insurgency.
Below is everything you need to know about Nigeria’s newly minted president Muhammadu Buhari.
1. ) This isn’t President Buhari’s first go at being leader of Nigeria
In 1983, Buhari assumed control of Nigeria following a military coup that deposed the country’s short lived leader Shehu Shagari.
Buhari would go on to rule for just under two more years until 1985 when he himself was removed from power in a military coup.
During Buhari’s first term as President of Nigeria, he developed a reputation as a strict ruler, characterized by human rights abuses and a steadfast campaign against Nigerian corruption called the “war against indiscipline.”
2.) President Buhari’s military prowess contributed greatly to his election
The threat of the insurgent group Boko Haram, which has shrouded Northern Nigeria in violence, likely contributed to Buhari’s election over incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
Before the election, President Buhari promised voters that he would put an end to Boko Haram’s insurgency within months after being elected — after he narrowly survived an assassination attempt likely orchestrated by Boko Haram militants.
3.) In his first stint as Nigerian leader, Buhari displayed military grit
Through his stint as military leader of Nigeria in 1983, Buhari has developed somewhat of a positive track record for warding off enemy invaders, especially in Nigeria’s Northeast.
Mainly, he is remembered for his success in parrying Chadian soldiers after they made attempts to annex Nigerian controlled islands.
Accolades such as this proved to be an enticing and decisive factor in Buhari’s campaign against Goodluck Jonathan.
4.) Buhari has a less than admirable track record in regard to economic policy
When Buhari seized control of Nigeria in 1983, one of the leader’s first orders of business was to drastically reduce government expenditures.
This meant slashing all state subsidies on health care, education, and agriculture and transferring the responsibility to private contractors. Additionally, the leader ramped up taxes on the poor and unilaterally cut public service jobs.
Such policy measures were a part of Buhari’s self-declared “war on indiscipline,” a major blow to the economic well being of Nigeria, and a contributing factor to his eventual ousting.
5.) President Buhari has a marred track record in regard to human rights
In addition to his checkered economic track record, President Buhari also possesses a shaky reputation in regard to civil liberties.
As evidenced by his first presidency, Buhari has a low tolerance for dissidence or deviation, having jailed many journalists and public servants during his short tenure as leader.
Buhari became very well known for punishing public workers who showed up late to work with grueling physical activity akin to military boot camp.
Additionally, Buhari maintained a very strict security state, banning protest and any speech deemed critical of the state. Famously, Buhari was responsible for jailing iconic Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti as a part of such a campaign.