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On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained independence from Britain. An all-Nigerian Executive Council was headed by a prime minister, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. On November 16, 1960, Nnamdi Azikiwe became the first governor-general of a federation of three regions of the north, east and west, with Lagos as the Federal Capital. Each of the regions was headed by a premier with a governor as ceremonial head. On October 1, 1963, Nigeria became a Federal Republic and severed whatever ties were left with the British monarchy, but remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. An amendment to the 1960 Independence Constitution replaced the office of the governor-general with that of the president. Nnamdi Azikwe was sworn into that office on October 1, 1963. The office at that time was primarily ceremonial, and the main duties of the president were on such things as receiving foreign dignitaries and opening Parliament.
In a January 1966 failed coup d'état, a group of army officers, led by Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu, overthrew the central and regional governments, killed the prime minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and tried to take control of the government. Nzeogwu was countered, captured and imprisoned by General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi. General Aguiyi-Ironsi was named Military Head of State.
In July 1966, a group of northern army officers revolted against the government, killed General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, and appointed the army chief of staff, General Yakubu Gowon as the head of the new military government.
In October 1979, after more than 13 years of military rule, Nigeria returned to democratic rule. The National Party of Nigeria emerged victorious in the presidential election and Alhaji Shehu Shagari became the first democratically elected president.
In August 1993, General Babangida stepped down and chose an interim government to replace him. Ernest Shonekan was named as interim president. General Sani Abacha seized power from Shonekan in November 1993 and became the president and chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council.
Calling a national referendum in terms of an act of Parliament
Receiving and recognising foreign diplomatic and consular representatives
Appointing ambassadors, plenipotentiaries, and diplomatic and consular representatives and other federal officers with the advice and consent of a majority of the Senate
Pardoning or reprieving offenders and remitting any fines, penalties or forfeitures
Chapter VI, Part I, Section 131 of the constitution states that a person may be qualified for election of the office of the president if:
They are a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
They have attained the age of thirty five years;
They are a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party;
They have been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
A person who meets the above qualifications is still disqualified from holding the office of the president if:
They have voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria (except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly) or they have made a declaration of allegiance to such other country;
They have been elected to such office at any two previous elections;
under the law in any part of Nigeria, They are adjudged to be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind;
They are under a sentence of death imposed by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud or for any other offence, imposed on them by any court or tribunal or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on them by such a court of tribunal;
within a period of less than ten years before the date of the election to the office of President they have been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or they have been found guilty of the contravention of the Code of Conduct;
They are an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in Nigeria or any other country;
being a person employed in the civil or public service of the Federation or of any State, they have not resigned, withdrawn or retired from the employment at least thirty days before the date of the election; or
They are a member of any secret society;
They have been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or an Administrative Panel of Inquiry or a Tribunal set up under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, a Tribunals of Inquiry law or any other law by the federal or state government which indictment has been accepted by the federal or state government respectively;
I do solemnly swear/affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will strive to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions; that I will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will abide by the Code of Conduct contained in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that in all circumstances, I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will; that I will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought under my consideration or shall become known to me as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as President; and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Nigeria. So help me God.