Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe was a Nigerian political leader and statesman. From 1963 to 1966, Azikiwe served as the first president of Nigeria. Often referred to as the Father of Nigerian Nationalism, Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe played an important role in Nigeria's struggle for independence. He is also credited with establishing the University of Nigeria (UNN).
Muhammadu Buhari is a Nigerian politician and the current president of Nigeria. Since becoming the president, Buhari has introduced many social welfare programs that address unemployment and poverty. The programs were mainly introduced to help increase economic development in the country.
Umaru Musa Yar'Adua became President of Nigeria after winning the highly-controversial 2007 presidential election as candidate of PDP. He earlier served as Governor of Katsina. He went to Saudi Arabia in November 2009 to receive treatment for pericarditis. He was never seen in public again and although he returned to Nigeria in February 2010, he died in May that year.
An Oxford graduate, Nigerian military leader and politician C. Odumegwu Ojukwu started his career as an administrative officer. He later reigned at the governor of the Eastern Region in Nigeria and became the 1st president of Biafra. He won many accolades, including the honorary title of the Ikemba of Nnewi.
The great-grandson of a leader who founded his village, Nigerian politician Shehu Shagari served as the 6th president and the 1st democratically elected president of Nigeria. Initially a teacher, he joined politics as the secretary of the Northern People's Congress. He strengthened the economy of Nigeria and deported countless West African migrants.
Nigerian statesman Ahmadu Bello was the only Premier of Northern Nigeria. The Sardauna of Sokoto, he was one of the main spokespersons for Northern Nigeria during the country’s struggle for independence. He is also remembered as a founding father of modern Nigeria. He was assassinated in Nigeria’s first military coup.
From being the first female student at her secondary grammar school, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti rose to be Nigeria’s foremost feminist and a champion for women’s rights. Initially a teacher, she launched the Abeokuta Women’s Union and also participated in Nigeria’s independence struggle. She later won the Lenin Peace Prize and the Order of the Niger.
Noted Nigerian politician Diezani K. Alison-Madueke held three important positions in the Nigerian federal government including as Minister of Mines & Steel Development and as first female Minister of Petroleum Resources and Minister of Transportation. She is also the first woman who was inducted to the board of Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria and elected as the President of OPEC.
Obafemi Awolowo was a Nigerian nationalist and statesman. He played a key role in Nigeria's independence movement. He began his career as a journalist and edited several publications. He later studied law and entered politics. As a politician, he was respected for his exemplary integrity and strong character. The Obafemi Awolowo Foundation was founded in his memory in 1992.
Nigerian general Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi was named Johnny Ironside after facing an angry mob of Congolese people during the Congo Crisis and releasing hostages from Katangese rebels. He reigned as Nigeria’s 1st military head of state. He was eventually assassinated by a few Northern Nigerian officers.
The first Nigerian civil engineer, Herbert Macaulay was a multi-talented man who had been a politician, a musician, and a journalist. Also remembered as the Father of Nigerian Nationalism, he was one of the major figures who opposed British colonialism in Nigeria. He practiced ancient African magic and the occult.
Nigerian politician Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa served as the only Prime Minister of Nigeria following the country’s independence. He was deputy-leader of NPC and became Prime Minister after the party won the plurality of votes in 1957 in the Federal House of Representatives. He continued to serve the position after Nigeria gained independence in 1960, and got re-elected in 1964.
Abdulsalami Abubakar GCFR served as Chief of Defence Staff of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Following the unexpected death of General Sani Abacha, the then military head of state of Nigeria, Abubakar became the military President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. During presidency, Abubakar established a plan that provided for multiparty elections.
Nigerian statesman and lawyer Chief Ernest Shonekan GCFR, served simultaneously as head of government and head of transitional council under Ibrahim Babangida. Following crisis of Third Republic, the Interim National Government was established with Shonekan as interim Head of State. Shonekan’s largely powerless government was eventually overthrown in the 1993 Nigerian coup d'état led by Defence Minister General Sani Abacha.
Nigerian politician and All Progressives Congress member Chibuike Amaechi has served as the country’s minister of transportation for 2 months. He has previously also been the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Governor of Rivers State. He has also made headlines for corruption accusations against him.
Former senator from Oyo State in Nigeria, Abiola Ajimobi was previously an oil tycoon who headed the National Oil and Chemical Marketing Company as its MD/CEO. The first Oyo State governor to successfully serve 2 terms, he died of COVID-19 in 2020 at age 70.
Nigerian lawyer and politician Femi Gbajabiamila, a member of All Progressives Congress, serves as the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria since June 2019. He became a member of the House of Representatives of Nigeria in May 2003 and served as Minority Leader and thereafter as House Leader of the House of Representatives before assuming office as Speaker.
Nigerian politician and People's Democratic Party (PDP) member James Ibori ruled as the 2nd Governor of Delta State. Starting his political career with the National Republican Convention, he later joined the Grassroots Democratic Movement and the PDP. He was later sentenced to 13 years in prison for laundering money in the UK.
Major General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua held different positions during Nigerian Civil War. He participated in 1975 Nigerian coup d'état and then served as Transport Minister under new Head of State Murtala Muhammed. Following assassination of Murtala in 1976 Nigerian coup d'état attempt, Yar'Adua became de facto second-in-command as Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, under new Head of State Olusegun Obasanjo.
Nigerian politician Kayode Fayemi has previously been the country’s Minister of Solid Minerals Development and now heads the Ekiti State as its governor. He has been part of the #EndSARS protest but has also been accused of bribery, corruption, and electoral fraud in the past.
Nigerian labor and employment minister Chris Ngige has previously been the governor of Anambra State and the senator of Anambra Central. A doctor, he has also been a Federal Ministry of Health deputy director. Starting his political career with the People's Democratic Party, he is now a member of All Progressives Congress.
Nigerian politician Ayo Fayose has previously been the governor of Ekiti State for 2 terms. He once accused Aisha Buhari, the wife of Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, of corruption. The People's Democratic Party politician was himself accused of vote rigging and money laundering. He is married to philanthropist and activist Feyisetan.
Nigerian politician Buruji Kashamu served as Senator for Ogun East and Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on States and Local Government. A chieftain of PDP in Ogun State, Kashamu served as Chairman, Organization and Mobilization Committee of PDP in Nigeria’s South West zone. He was PDP’s candidate during 2019 Ogun State gubernatorial election. He succumbed to COVID-19 disease in 2020.
Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme was the 5th vice president of Nigeria, who was also the 1st elected vice president of the country. The National Party of Nigeria politician was also a skilled architect who had launched Nigeria’s first indigenous architectural firm. He was also a qualified lawyer.
Former Nigerian politician Diepreye Alamieyeseigha served as a governor of Bayelsa and apparently began looting the state of its riches almost immediately after being sworn in. He diverted state funds to create ventures such as Solomon & Peters Limited. His company was later named in the Panama Papers.
Nigerian politician Abubakar Audu scripted history as the first civilian governor of Kogi State. Initially a banker, he had also worked with First Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. He had been the Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning for Benue State. He was also charged of corruption during his tenure.
Former Nigerian Chief of Naval Staff Allison Amaechina Madueke was fired after he supported the release of democratically elected civilian president Moshood Abiola who was imprisoned after General Sani Abacha’s coup. Post-retirement, he served on the boards of enterprises such as Regalia Nigeria Ltd. and Excel E & P.
Nigerian politician Ogbonnaya Onu began his career as a teacher and a lecturer of chemical engineering. He later ruled as the 1st Executive Governor of Abia State. He has been twice elected as the minister of Science, Technology and Innovation. The All Progressives Congress member is a University of California, Berkeley alumnus.
Nigerian politician Adebayo Osinowo, or Pepper, initially established himself as a businessman and served as the MD of companies such as NIMCO International. He started his political journey as a Member of the Lagos State House of Assembly for Kosofe Constituency, before becoming a Senator for Lagos East.
Nigerian politician, banker Femi Pedro served as Deputy Governor of Lagos State and during such tenure was appointed as Chairman of Lagos State Revenue Mobilization committee. An experienced banker, Pedro helped in increasing internally-generated-revenue of Lagos State. He served as CEO of First Atlantic Bank (presently FinBank) and currently serves as Chairman of SMEDAN and Lagos State Sports Trust Fund.
Nigerian businessman and People's Democratic Party member Ibrahim Idris initially traded in hotels, furniture, and construction. The politician later served as the Governor of Kogi State and was re-elected after his first term. His 3 daughters survived a plane crash in 2006, which he termed a miracle of God.
Nigerian born Irish politician Rotimi Adebari was elected as mayor of Portlaoise Town Council in June 2007 and with this he became the first black mayor in Ireland. He was also elected to the town council and to the Laois County Council. He unsuccessfully ran as an independent candidate for the Laois–Offaly constituency during the 2011 Irish general election.
Apart from being Nigeria’s minister of state for defense, Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi has also been the Nigerian ambassador to Togo. The son of former Nigerian military head Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Irons, he was also the first person from the Igbo community to become the Nigerian defense minister.
Nigerian Major General Joseph Nanven Garba gained national attention after announcing the 1975 Nigerian coup d'état on Radio Nigeria that resulted in overthrow of Yakubu Gowon as Head of State. Garba then served as Nigeria's foreign minister. Other significant offices held by him include that of Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy and President of the United Nations General Assembly.
Nigerian politician Samuel Akintola started his career as a lawyer and joined the Action Group as a legal advisor, later heading the group as a deputy leader. He later became the Premier of Western Nigeria. He was assassinated in the Young Majors Coup in January 1966.
Initially a professor of political science, Bolaji Akinyemi later served as the country’s External Affairs Minister. The esteemed academician has also taught at UCLA and Cambridge. He has chaired the National Think Tank. He opposed the reigns of both Ernest Shonekan and Sani Abacha.
Chief Christopher Sapara Williams CMG was the first indigenous Nigerian who formally qualified as a lawyer and was called to the English bar on November 17, 1879. He earned repute as an advocate, and served as Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association. He emerged as an influential figure in Nigerian politics during colonial era and served as member of Legislative Council.
Nigerien educator and politician Mohamed Ben Omar was founder and President of Nigerien Social Democratic Party. He served as government minister in different cabinets including as Minister of Employment, Labor and Social Protection, from April 2017 until his death due to COVID-19 in May 2020. He served as Fourth Vice-President of the National Assembly of the 4th and 6th Republic.
Nigerian lawyer and politician Inuwa Abdulkadir served as Minister of Youth Development. He also held other offices including as National vice-chairman (North West) of the All Progressives Congress and Secretary of the Sokoto Sultanate Council. He received the title of Magatakarda (Chief Scribe) of the Sokoto Caliphate by Sultan Muhammadu Maccido. Abdulkadir died after suffering from COVID-19 in July 2020.