Muhammadu Buhari, Muhammadu also spelled Muhammad (born December 17, 1942, Daura, Nigeria), Nigerian military leader and politician, who served as head of state in 1984–85 and was elected president of Nigeria in March 2015.
Educated largely in Katsina, Buhari took military training in Kaduna as well as in Great Britain, India, and the United States. He was involved in the military coup that ousted Yakubu Gowon in 1975 and was appointed military governor of North Eastern state (now Borno) that same year. He was appointed federal commissioner for petroleum resources by Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, who became military head of state when Gowon’s successor, Murtala Mohammed, was assassinated in 1976. By 1977 Buhari had become the military secretary at Supreme Military Headquarters, which was the seat of government. By September 1979 he had returned to regular army duties and commanded a division based in Kaduna. Although civilian government had returned to Nigeria in 1979 with the election of Shehu Shagari, dissatisfaction with dismal economic conditions and what the military perceived as corrupt politicians led to another military coup on December 31, 1983, and Buhari was chosen unanimously to be the new head of state.
Many of the economic problems that had existed under the Shagari administration also plagued the Buhari regime, and Buhari instituted austerity measures. He took a tough stance on corruption: during his tenure, hundreds of politicians and business officials were tried and convicted or awaited trial on corruption-related charges. His regime launched the “War Against Indiscipline,” a program which sought to promote positive values in Nigerian society, although authoritarian methods were sometimes used in the program’s implementation. In an effort to stop dissent against his policies, Buhari instituted restrictions on the press, political freedoms, and trade unionists.