Today marks yet another important milestone in the history of Nigeria. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu takes the reins of leadership of the most populous country on the African continent. It’s a historic occasion marking a watershed moment in the life of the nation. For Tinubu, it’s a call to higher responsibilities and a turning point in his political career.

Tinubu’s foray into politics began in 1991 when he joined the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP). He got elected as senator representing Lagos West District in the Third Republic. That Republic was aborted by military fiat, leading to the cancellation of the presidential election of June 12, 1993. The then military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, annulled the election which was won by the late Chief Moshood Abiola on the platform of the SPD. Tinubu got actively involved in the struggle to revalidate Abiola’s victory at the poll. The pushback from the military establishment that enthroned the Gen Sani Abacha junta forced Tinubu and a few other compatriots into exile in 1994. The roles Tinubu played, alongside other pro-democracy agitators in the formation of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) and its sustenance up to the time Abacha died in 1998 are well documented.

Following Abacha’s death, the ban on partisan politics was lifted almost immediately by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar who succeeded him. Tinubu returned to Nigeria in 1998 and joined the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD). He got elected as Governor of Lagos State in 1999 on the platform of the AD. He was reelected in 2003 and served out his second tenure in 2007. Out of office, Tinubu has been actively involved in building bridges across ethnic, religious and political borders. He is credited with head hunting, grooming and mentoring younger generation of professionals for leadership responsibilities. He remained in the opposition up to 2013 when his Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) merged with other political parties to form the All Progressives Congress (APC). He mobilised support for General Muhammadu Buhari, leading to his emergence as the presidential candidate of the APC in the 2015 election. The rest is now history.

Path to Nigeria’s Fourth Republic

Nigeria’s journey to the Fourth Republic started on May 29, 1999 with the then military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar handing over to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as a democratically elected President. Obasanjo was sworn-in at the Eagle Square, Abuja as the 12th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He contested the 1999  presidential election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Obasanjo contested on a joint ticket with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as his running mate. The Obasanjo/Atiku ticket defeated Chief Olu Falae who contested on the platform of the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD). The AD had formed an alliance with the defunct All Peoples Party (APP). The working alliance had produced the late Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi as his vice presidential candidate. After the initial four-year tenure, the Obasanjo/Atiku ticket got re-elected in 2003 for a second and final four-year term. The Obasanjo/Atiku ticket defeated the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) which had General Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential candidate and the late Dr Chuba Okadigbo as his running mate. The Obasanjo/Atiku ticket served out its final term on May 29, 2007.

The PDP ran the 2007 race with the late Alhaji Umaru Yar ‘Adua as its presidential candidate and Dr Goodluck Jonathan as running mate. The PDP’s Yar ‘Adua/Jonathan ticket defeated Buhari’s ANPP. Buhari had contested with the late Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke as his running mate. Consequently, Obasanjo handed over to Yar ‘Adua as the 13th President of the Republic. However, Yar ‘Adua died in May 2010, a year before the expiration of his first four-year tenure. Dr Jonathan had served out the remaining part of the tenure which terminated in 2011. Jonathan contested for President in 2011 and defeated Buhari who contested on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Thus Jonathan was sworn-in as the 14 President of the Republic on May 29, 2011 for a fresh tenure of four years.


Jonathan secured the PDP ticket and again, contested in 2015 at the expiration of his four-year mandate. This time, he faced a stiff opposition from Buhari who had aligned forces with political heavyweights across the country to form the All Progressives Congress (APC). Parties that merged into the APC included the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) a breakaway faction of the (PDP) and a splinter group in the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). Buhari defeated the candidate of the ruling PDP in the 2015 presidential election. He ran with Prof Yemi Osinbajo as his vice presidential candidate. It was the first time an opposition party would unseat a ruling party in a presidential race. Buhari was sworn-in as the 15th President of the Republic on May 29, 2015. The Buhari-Osinbajo ticket re-contested in 2019. It was a keen contest with the PDP ticket with Atiku as candidate and Mr Peter Obi as his running mate. The Buhari-Osinbajo ticket won another four-year mandate terminating today, May 29, 2023.

Unlike previous elections in the Fourth Republic that featured two major political parties, the 2023 presidential election was a three-horse race. The APC had Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as its presidential candidate with Senator Kashim Shettima as his running mate. Atiku ran on the platform of the PDP with Dr Ifeanyi Okowa as vice presidential candidate. The Labour Party (LP) had Mr Peter Obi and Dr Datti Baba Ahmed on its ticket as presidential and vice presidential candidates respectively. Tinubu won the election, which held on February 25, 2023 defeating Atiku and Obi of the PDP and LP respectively. Tinubu will be sworn-in today at the Eagle Square, Abuja as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The former Lagos State Governor is taking over the leadership baton from Buhari whose two-tern tenure ended today. Tinubu’s first four-year tenure as President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces starts running from today. It will end on May 29, 2027.

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