|Nigeria's Former Presidents|
Nigeria, Sub Saharan Africa’s second largest economy is also the most populous nation in the African continent and accounts for 47 per cent of West Africa’s population. With a population of over 150 million people, the oil-rich nation blankets under a dark history that was marred by coups d'état, military aggression, corruption, human right abuses, inter-faith violence, media gagging, ethnic clashes, among other vices that were common with many post-colonial African states. However, after staggering from one coup to another since independence on October 1, 1960, the country had its first democratically elected president in 1999 in Oluṣẹgun Mathew Okikiọla Arẹmu Ọbasanjọ. Obasanjo’s election as President marked the first transition from a military to a democratic rule. His election paved the way for the return of a civilian leader to the country after 15 years of military rule.
Since then, Nigeria has never looked back in terms of its mode of governance and method of electing leaders. When Obasanjo left office in 2007, he was replaced by Umaru Musa Yar'Adua who won the April 2007 elections under the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP). The elections were however condemned by local and foreign observers, who alleged widespread vote-rigging. But in spite of democratic elections prevailing in the country, Nigeria has long been facing political instability due to violence emanating from the oil producing Niger Delta; it is generating wealth but the country’s people are yet to benefit from this. From Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe (held the top position throughout Nigerian First Republic) to Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi (deposed by rebels after only 6 months as President), from General Sani Abacha, (the de facto President of Nigeria from 1993-1998) to Obasanjo, clashes in the Niger Delta remains one of the biggest quandary to any of Nigeria’s long history of Generals and Major-Generals who have occupied the nation’s Shangri-la.