From 1904 to recent, Nigeria has been ruled by thirteen different Nigerians either as a military or civilian rule. Generally, most of these men were overthrown as a result of a coup carried out by someone in the military. Also, a lot has been said about how old men have ruled the country for a while now. As a result of that, we will be looking at a list of youngest Nigeria heads of state.
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General Yakubu Gowon (32)
The first on our list is General Yakubu Dan-Yumma Gowon who became the head of state at the age of 32. He was the Military Head of Nigeria from 1966 till 1975 making him the youngest person to have ruled Nigeria. He was the leader of the country during The Biafran war and he did his best to stop Nigeria from splitting. However, his government was later overthrown in a bloodless coup on the 29th of August 1975 while he was attending an OAU summit in Kampala. He was succeeded by Brigadier Murtala Muhammad.
Brigadier Murtala Muhammad (37)
Brigadier Murtala Muhammad is in the number 2 spot and he happens to succeed the youngest military head of state. He was made the head of state by a group of young military men on the 29th of April 1975. In fact, he played an important role in the removal of the AguiyiIronsi-led government and making Gowon president. Most people believed that he had the intention of returning Nigeria to civilian rule. However, he was killed in a failed attempt to overthrow the government on the 13th of February, 1976. He was succeeded by the then his Chief of Staff General Olusegun Obasanjo.
General Olusegun Obasanjo (39)
Well, this may be a surprise but the top three youngest heads of state seem to rule immediately after each other. General Olusegun Obasanjo was the former chief of staff of the Murtala-led government before he became the head of state. He became head of state when Murtala was killed in a failed coup attempt on the 13th of July, 1976. Most Nigerian believed that Nigeria was at its best during the leadership of General Olusegun Obasanjo
Major. General Muhammadu Buhari (41)
Before you say he is too old to be on this list, note that we aren’t talking about this present regime. Buhari was 41 years old when he first ruled Nigeria way back in 1983.
Gen J.T.U Aguiyi Ironsi (42)
Major General Johnson Thomas Aguiyi Ironsi became the first Military Head of State in Nigeria on the 16th January 1966. This was as a result of a successful coup d’état that removed the first civilian government from office. However, he was killed in a coup on the 29th July 1966 and was succeeded by General Yakubu Gowon.
Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (44)
General Babangida was the head of state from 27th August 1985 – the 26th August 1993. He came into power as a result of another coup attempt which overthrew the Buhari-led government.
Gen. Sani Abacha (50)
Compared to others, Abacha military career had the highest number of successful coups in Nigeria. Before he came into power on November 17, 1993, he once served as chief of staff and later minister of defense under the Babangida regime.
Alhaji Shehu Shagari (54)
Shagari was the first elected civilian president in the second republic on October 1st, 1979 at the age of 54. Also, he was the first civilian president with full executive powers which later led to the cancellation of the office of the prime minister.
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (56)
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was the first indigenous Governor-General of Nigeria from the 1st of October 1960 to the 1st of October 1963. He was the first Nigerian president after being appointed by the Queen of England after Nigeria gained Independence in 1960.
Ernest Shonekan (57)
Shonekan was appointed as interim president on the 26th of August 1993 by Babangida. Unfortunately, his services only lasted just for three months due to a palace coup led by General Sani Abacha.
light sleeper, heavy dreamer.