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Abdulsalami Abubakar


10th President of Nigeria In office

June 9, 1998 – May 29, 1999

Preceded by Sani Abacha Succeeded by Olusegun Obasanjo

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 passed power to elected president Olusegun Obasanjo on May 29, 1999, the same day the constitution went into effect.

Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar 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. After this, he joined the military. Abubakar led Nigeria's mission to Lebanon and eventually rose to the role of Chief of Defence staff. His wife's name is Fati and they have six children.

Reported to have had an initial reluctance to accepting the position, Abubakar was sworn in as president after the death of military dictator Abacha; he shortly declared a weeklong period of national mourning. Several days after assuming office, he promised to hold elections within a year and transfer power to an elected president. (Nigeria has 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. Surprising some critics of the country's military, Abubakar kept his word and transferred power to elected president Obasanjo on May 29, 1999.

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. In 2000, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed him to try to shore up the UN Mission (MONUC) to the Congo-Kinshasa.

However, Abubakar's legacy is mixed. A lecture circuit at Chicago State University in Chicago, Illinois, United States featuring him encountered to opposition, due to the fact that he had supported Abacha's government. (Abacha's administration was notorious for its human rights abuses). 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.


  1. Successor to General Sani Abacha appointed. IFEX Alerts. International Freedom of Expression Exchange (1998-06-09). 
  2. Abdulsalami Abubakar. Online Nigeria. Devace Nigeria. 
  3. The World Factbook Online. Central Intelligence Agency (2007-05-31). 
  4. "As Peace Mission Deteriorates, U.N. Sends an Envoy to Congo", The New York Times, The New York Times Company, 2000-08-19, p. A7. 
  5. NCP, North America, protests Abdulsalami Lecture Series. National Conscience Party. 


Abubakar, Abdulsalami. (1998) Nigeria: A new beginning. Publisher: Federal Ministry of Information and Culture. ASIN: B0006FDZZG