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Abdulsalami A. Abubakar

In office
June 9, 1998 – May 29, 1999
Preceded by Sani Abacha
Succeeded by Olusegun Obasanjo

Born June 13, 1942 (1942-06-13) (age 67)
Minna, Niger State
Political party none (military)
Spouse(s) Fati Lami Abubakar
Children six
Alma mater Technical Institute, Kaduna
Occupation Soldier
Religion Islam
Photo credit: September 24, 1998 UN Photo of Abdulsalami Abubakar, Head of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

General Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar (rtd.) (born June 13, 1942) is a Nigerian general who was President of Nigeria from June 9, 1998 until May 29, 1999. He succeeded Sani Abacha upon Abacha's death. It was during Abubakar's leadership that Nigeria adopted its new constitution on May 5, 1999, which provided for multiparty elections. Abubakar transferred power to president-elect Olusegun Obasanjo on May 29, 1999.


Early life and military career

Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar hails from the Gwari ethnic group[1] and was born on June 13, 1942 in Minna, Niger State. He was educated at Native Authority Primary School in that city, the Provincial Secondary School in Bida, and finally the Technical Institute, Kaduna.[2] After this, he joined the military. Abubakar led Nigeria's mission to Lebanon and eventually rose to the role of Chief of Defence Staff.[2] His wife's name is Fati and they have six children.[3]


Reported to have had an initial reluctance to accepting the position,[3] Abubakar was sworn in as president after the death of military dictator Abacha; he shortly declared a weeklong period of national mourning.[2] Several days after assuming office, he promised to hold elections within a year and transfer power to an elected president. (Nigeria had been ruled by military leaders since Muhammadu Buhari seized power from Shehu Shagari in a 1983 coup.) It was during his leadership that Nigeria adopted its new constitution on May 5, 1999, which went into effect the day Obasanjo became president.[4] Surprising some critics of the country's military,[3] Abubakar kept his word and transferred power to elected president Obasanjo on May 29, 1999.

Later life

Following his short rule Abubakar received multiple honors, including the Rainbow/Push Coalition Peace Prize, the Economic Community of West African States International Gold Medal, and the Star Award of Ghana.[3] In 2000, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed him to try to shore up the UN Mission (MONUC) to the Congo-Kinshasa.[5]

However, Abubakar's legacy is mixed. A lecture circuit at Chicago State University in Chicago, Illinois, United States featuring him encountered opposition, due to the fact that he had supported Abacha's government.[6] (Abacha's administration was notorious for its human rights abuses).[6][7] He was also sued in that country by other Nigerians who claimed he was responsible for the death of 1993 president-elect Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, who died in custody after being prevented by the military from taking office, and for the violation of the rights of others during his administration.[8]

Books by Abubakar

See also


  1. ^ Fasure, Sola (14 July 2007). "Political resurgence in the North". The Nation (Nigeria: Vintage Press Limited). Retrieved 2009-12-20.  
  2. ^ a b c "Successor to General Sani Abacha appointed". IFEX Alerts. International Freedom of Expression Exchange. 1998-06-09. Retrieved 2007-06-07.  
  3. ^ a b c d "Abdulsalami Abubakar". Online Nigeria. Devace Nigeria. Retrieved 2007-06-07.  
  4. ^ "Nigeria". The World Factbook Online. Central Intelligence Agency. 2007-05-31. Retrieved 2007-06-09.  
  5. ^ Crossette, Barbara (2000-08-19). "As Peace Mission Deteriorates, U.N. Sends an Envoy to Congo". The New York Times (The New York Times Company): p. A7. Retrieved 2007-06-07.  
  6. ^ a b Akande, Laolu. "NCP, North America, protests Abdulsalami Lecture Series". National Conscience Party. Retrieved 2007-06-07.  
  7. ^ "Interview with Abubakar". Online News Hour. MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. 1998-10-21. Retrieved 2007-06-07.  
  8. ^ Aboyade, Funke. "‘Conflicting Court Orders in Abdulsalami Case Avoidable’". Thisday Online. Leaders & Company Limited. Retrieved 2007-06-07.  

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Sani Abacha
Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council of Nigeria
1998 – 1999
Succeeded by
Olusegun Obasanjo
Preceded by
Sani Abacha
Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States
1998 – 1999
Succeeded by
Gnassingbé Eyadéma


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