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Who Is the Best Nigerian President from 1960 Till Date?

Nigeria has had a series of presidents since she gained her independence, but who is the best president from 1960 till date? Check out the article to know more.

Best Nigeria President

Who is the best president of Nigeria from 1960 till date? Well, Nigeria has had up to 15 leaders since it became a republic in 1963. Still, the question of corruption is yet to be resolved. The effects are glaring all over the country.

Be that as it may, some civilian rulers – Presidents have done more than others during their time of leadership. And we are going to be considering those leaders and their achievements 

Nigeria has had many leaders, both civilian and military, but since we’re considering presidents, it doesn’t include any Nigerian military leaders.

In this article, we are going to give an honest view on the question “who is the best Nigerian President from 1960 till date?”, with much evidence.

However, you’re free to think otherwise, but then I am sure you will agree with me when you are done reading this article. So join our ride. You’ll see that we are on the same side.

List of Nigeria Presidents and Heads of State since 1960

First, so you can adequately measure their achievements, here is a list of Nigerian President and their period of service:

s/nNames of Nigerian LeadersPeriod of service 
1.Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa1960 – 1966
2.Chief Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe1st October 1963 – 16th January 1966
3.Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi16th January 1966 – 29th July 1966
4.General Yakubu Gowon1st August 1966 – 29th July 1975
5.General Murtala Ramat Mohammed29th July 1975 – 13th February 1976
6.General Olusegun Aremu Okikiola Matthew Obasanjo13th February 1976 – 1st October 1979
7.Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari1st October 1979 – 31st December 1983
8.Major-general Muhammadu Buhari31st December 1983 – 27th August 1985
9.General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida27th August 1985 – 27th August 1993
10. Chief Ernest Adekunle Oladeinde Shonekan26th August 1993 – 17th November 1993
11.General Sani Abacha17th November 1993 – 8th June 1998
12.General Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar9th June 1998 – 29th MAY, 1999
13.General Olusegun Aremu Okikiola Matthew Obasanjo (Rtd)29th May 1999 – 29th May 2007
14.Umaru Musa Yar’adua29th May 2007 – 5th May 2010
15.Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan6th May 2010 – 29th May 2015
16.Muhammadu Buhari29th May 2015 – till date


Who Is The Best Nigeria President From 1960 Till Date?

It is true that our leaders have squandered National funds and botched our national resources, but then the million-dollar question remains, who is the best Nigerian president from 1960 till date? 

This article will go through 7 top Nigerian presidents. We will start from the least to the best, including their achievements during their tenure.

Read along


Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (1960 to 1966)

Who Is The Best Nigeria President From 1960 Till Date?

The first on our list Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, was not a president per se. He is the only prime minister Nigeria has had. Therefore, he is worthy of being mentioned.

He ruled alongside Nnamdi Azikiwe as President and Queen of England as Monarch.

Alhaji Abubakar Tafewa Balewa is from Bauchi State. He attended Kastina college, where he finished his five-year education in 1933. And then started a teaching career in his hometown – Bauchi State.

Before becoming a prime minister, Alhaji Balewa had served in different public offices. In 1946 he was elected as a legislator for the Northern House of Assembly. 

As his political career continued, he served as the minister of works as well as the minister of transport, where he made drastic improvements to the transport sector of Nigeria.

After Nigeria had gained her independence, Alhaji Balewa was retained as the prime minister of the country, during his tenure, he joined in the building of the organization of African Unity as well as improving Nigeria’s relationship with other African countries.

He also played a vital role during the congo crises of 1960 to 1964 and led a protest against the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960. These are the few other things Alhaji Tafewa carried out.

However, his tenure was filled with political unrest, accusations from the people, and much sectional factionalism.

On the 15th of January, 1966, Alhaji Tafewa was killed in a military coup. His body was found in Lagos six days after he was removed from his seat. The details of the murder are yet to be known.

READ: President Bola Tinubu: Blessing or Curse?

Nnamdi Azikiwe (1963-1966)

Who Is The Best Nigeria President From 1960 Till Date?

Nnamdi Azikiwe is the first Nigerian President. He was not elected through electoral processes, rather he was the governor general during Nigeria’s colonial rule, then he was retained after Nigeria became a republic in 1963.

He is counted as one of Nigeria’s best presidents since 1960 till date because he is one of the people who fought for Nigeria’s independence from colonial masters.

President Zik was born to Igbo parents in Anambra state, which aided him in speaking Igbo. Other life experiences helped him speak the other major Nigerian indigenous languages – Yoruba and Hausa.

After his foreign education and many failed attempts to get a job, he continued his journalism career in Ghana, and after some time, he extended to his country Nigeria. 

During his journalism career, Nnamdi spoke and wrote so much on nationalism and black pride, little wonder he is known as the father of Nationalism.

To begin his political movement, Zik joined the National Youth Movement (NYM), and then continued with a lot of ups and downs but finally got into the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.

He was then appointed as governor general together with Tafewa Balewa. One of the great things Nnamdi did was help Nigeria gain independence.

He also built her one of the most prominent universities, “The University of Nigeria, Nsukka.” 

SEE: Atiku Abubakar Net Worth, Biography and Political History

Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari (1979 to 1983)

Who Is The Best Nigeria President From 1960 Till Date?

Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari was the first elected Nigerian president after the military regime of Olusegun Obasanjo. He served from 1st October 1979 to 31st December 1983.

Shehu was born in 1925 to an Islamic polygamous family in northern Nigeria. His father died during his early days, which forced him to stay with some relatives.

He finished his elementary education at Yabo elementary school in 1935, then continued at Barewa college, where he finished five years of education in 1944. From there, he started a career in teaching.

During his political career, he served in so many offices, such as Federal Minister for Economic Development of independent Nigeria, Federal Minster of internal affairs, and federal minister of works.

One of the prominent things he did as a minister of works was the construction of the Eko bridge in Lagos.

Being counted as one of  Nigeria’s best presidents from 1960 till date, he increased Nigeria’s economy. He also brought about the Green revolution, which helped large-scale farming and improved agriculture.

Shehu Shagari’s tenor also favored Nigeria’s industrialization, transport, and housing. Also, many industry goals were achieved under his administration.

However, his regime was not free of corruption, undisciplined political fraud accusations, and many oil sagas which he could not manage.

After running for a second tenor, General Muhammed Buhari overthrew and arrested him when he launched the beginning of a new Military government.

One of Nigeria’s best presidents from 1960 till date – Shehu Shagari. A man who improved Nigeria died after a brief illness on October 28th at National Hospital Abuja.


Muhammadu Buhari (2015 till date)

Who Is The Best Nigeria President From 1960 Till Date?

President Muhammad Buhari was once a military leader who overthrew Shehu Shagari. He was known for his discipline and correctness. Hence, he was elected in 2015.

However, President Buhari has not lived up to citizens’ expectations since he was elected as president. Although several industries braced up when he won the election, he had already disappointed citizens in the first 100 days of his rule.

His tenure started with frequent visits to other countries for medical care since he was very ill. It continued with major inflation in rice and other commodities.

In 2016, a year after he was elected, Nigeria’s economy declined by 1.6%, and you could hardly notice any growth in the country’s GDP. The level of unemployment remained stable, and hardship increased.

Also, during his tenor, the price of fuel skyrocketed. Nigeria has never experienced such since her birth. The value of the Naira has also declined, and much of Nigeria’s funds cannot be accounted for.

However, Buhari’s regime has reported some good things from which some citizens have benefitted. 

Buhari’s regime has initiated the N-Power program for Nigerian youth who are educated or skilled to earn 30,000 Naira as a monthly stipend.

He has also brought about other social welfare programs like The Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCTP) for low-income citizens, and The National Home Grown School Feeding Program (NHGSF).

President Mohammed Buhari started his first tenure in 2015 after winning the election against Dr. Goodluck Johnathan. His second tenure began in 2019 after he won the election against Atiku Abubakar.

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Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan (2010 – 2015)

Who Is The Best Nigeria President From 1960 Till Date?

Here is the 3rd best President of Nigeria since 1960 till date. His tenure lasted from 2010 to 2015. He is the first incumbent President to lose an election.

Goodluck Ebele is from Bayelsa state, which is in the South-south of Nigeria. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Zoology at The University of Port Harcourt and his master’s degree and doctorate.

Before emerging as the President of Nigeria, Goodluck served as the governor of Bayelsa state (where he hails from) and vice president during Umaru Musa’s rule.

As a President, Goodluck encouraged girl child education. He also tackled the Ebola viruswhich reduced deaths in Nigeria. He also reformed the justice system.

He also supported cleaning lead-poisoned villages and signed the prohibition act against same-s3x marriage in 2014.

However, his tenure was tarnished by terrorism and corruption. He could also not curb the insecurity that started and grew during his tenure.


Olusegun Mathew Okikiola Obasanjo (1999 to 2007)

Who Is The Best Nigeria President From 1960 Till Date?

The best President in Nigeria from 1960 till date is President Olusegun Obasanjo. President Olusegun Mathew Okikiola Obasanjo ruled as a Military leader from 1976 to 1979 before serving as a civilian ruler from 1999 to  2007.

Olusegun Obasanjo was born in the village of Ibogun-Olaogun, a tribe. He was mainly educated in Abeokuta, Ogun State. He continued with the army, where he spent part of his life serving his country.

One of the good things Chief Olusegun did during his tenure as a head of state was to return the rule to a civilian government, which many military leaders never did.

For his good works, Nigerians voted him back to power in 1999, and he ruled for two tenures till 2007.

During his tenure, Chief Olusegun was able to bring GSM into Nigeria, pay off Nigeria’s foreign debts, and privatize public entities. This and many more make him one of Nigeria’s best presidents.

However, his tenure was plagued with corruption, and his third tenure agenda idea gave him away. He was also unable to resolve the Sharia law saga.

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Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (2007 to 2010)

Who Is The Best Nigeria President From 1960 Till Date?

Umaru Musa Yar’Adua ruled from 2007 to 2010. His satisfactory rule was cut short by his death in 2010. The office was then left to his vice to handle.

This president helped Nigeria’s economy by launching the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, which subsided the bombings and killings in the Niger Delta states of Nigeria.

He also began dredging the Niger river and made the judiciary independent of every other arm of government.

Yar’Adua also declared his assets, one thing no Nigerian leader has been able to do since 1960.

However, his tenure was not without fault as he was accused of rigging the 2007 elections and other corrupt practices that took place during his tenure.

READ: Nigerian National Anthem: All You Need to Know

Wrap Up

You have seen the Nigerian presidents and their achievements. You may not support the position of this article regarding who the best Nigerian president from 1960 is till date.

This is why the comment section has been provided below. Please provide suggestions with relatable pieces of evidence. Let’s get educated together!

FAQS on Who Is the Best Nigerian President from 1960 Till Date?

Who are the presidents of Nigeria from 1960 till date?

Names of Nigerian Leaders
Period of service 
1. Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa
1960 – 1966
2. Chief Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe
1st October 1963 – 16th January 1966
3. Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi
16th January 1966 – 29th July 1966
4. General Yakubu Gowon
1st August 1966 – 29th July 1975
5. General Murtala Ramat Mohammed
29th July 1975 – 13th February 1976
6. General Olusegun Aremu Okikiola Matthew Obasanjo
13th February 1976 – 1st October 1979
7. Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari
1st October 1979 – 31st December 1983
8. Major-general Muhammadu Buhari
31st December 1983 – 27th August 1985
9. General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida
27th August 1985 – 27th August 1993
10. Chief Ernest Adekunle Oladeinde Shonekan
26th August 1993 – 17th November 1993
11. General Sani Abacha
17th November 1993 – 8th June 1998
12. General Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar
9th June 1998 – 29th MAY, 1999
13. General Olusegun Aremu Okikiola Matthew Obasanjo (Rtd)
29th May 1999 – 29th May 2007
14. Umaru Musa Yar’adua
29th May 2007 – 5th May 2010
15. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
6th May 2010 – 29th May 2015
16. Muhammadu Buhari
29th May 2015 – till date

Who is the number one president of Nigeria?

Muhammadu Buhari is currently serving as Nigeria’s 15th president, a position he has held since May 29, 2015. After the 2023 Nigerian presidential election, Buhari is set to be succeeded by Bola Tinubu, who will take over as the new president on May 29, 2023.

Who is the first executive president of Nigeria after 1960?

Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari is the First executive president of Nigeria

Esther Gad
Esther Gad
I am a freelance writer, who loves to convey information through written contents. I build simple and conversational content tailored to the specific audience which can help industries build customer trust and in long term increase sales