When Nigeria was granted Independence in 1960, the transition from monarchy to democracy was not immediate. Sir James Robertson was the Colonial Governor who had to served as the Governor-General for just 46 days before he was replaced by Nnamdi Azikiwe to act as the Governor-General in the stead for Queen Elizabeth under the Monarchy system. Nnamdi Azikiwe acted as the Governor-General from November, 1960 to October 1963 for 2 years, 319 days. It was in 1963 that the transition took place from Monarchy to Democracy which gave birth to beginning of different presidents who have taken Nigeria on a path that has brought to where she is presently.
In the history of Nigeria, there were some rulers and presidents who served in office lesser than 3 years of their intended tenures.
Chief Ernest Shonekan – 83 Days
He was elected on 26th August, 1993 as an interim president when General Ibrahim Babangida resigned from office. He was removed by General Sani Abacha through a coup on 17th November in that same year.
Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi – 194 Days
When a bloody coup led by Major Nzeogwu and his team which led to the death of the Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa and Premier Ahmedu Bello on 16th January 1966, Major-General Aguiyi-Ironsi came on board as the Military ruler but he was assassinated in July the same year through a coup.
General Murtala Mohammed – 199 Days
General Murtala Mohammed came into power in the same way military rulers normally emerge – via a coup that removed General Yakubu Gowon on 29th July, 1975 but on the 13th February, 1976 he was assassinated on his way to the office, after several bullets were pumped into his official car.
General Abdusalam Abubakar – 355 Days
Upon the death of General Sani Abacha who had died in office, it was General Abdusalam Abubakar who was handed over the reins of power on 8th June, 1998. It was time for Nigeria to go give another go at democracy so on the 29th of May, he resigned from office to give way for a new civilian president.
Major-General Muhammdu Buhari – 1 year, 239 days
It was Major-General Buhari’s coup that ousted second republic elected President Shehu Shagari on 31st December, 1983 putting an end to the second republic. In the same way he came into power, he was ousted on 27th August 1985 under two years. Presently He is the incumbent president of Nigeria but this time as a civilian.
Umaru Musa Yar’Adua – 2 years, 341 days
The fourth republic president was the second president after Olusegun Obasanjo who also served and resigned as a military ruler on 1st October, 1979. The soft-spoken president came into power under the People Democratic Party (PDP) when he took office on 29th May, 2007 but due to health related issues he died in office on 5th May, 2010 bringing an end to his tenure.