Government & Politics

List of Nigerian Presidents Who Have Chaired ECOWAS

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A Historical Overview of Nigerian Leadership in ECOWAS

List of Nigerian Presidents Who Have Chaired ECOWAS

With the recent appointment of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of the Heads of State and Government, Nigeria once again asserts its influential role in shaping the trajectory of this sub-regional African body. This article delves into the historical context, highlighting the Nigerian presidents who have previously chaired ECOWAS and emphasizing President Tinubu’s inclusion in this prestigious list.

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  1. General Yakubu Gowon – Founding Chair (1972):

As a founding member of ECOWAS, Nigeria has been at the forefront of regional integration and cooperation. General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s head of state at the time, served as the first chairman of ECOWAS, paving the way for subsequent Nigerian leaders to assume this crucial position.

  1. Olusegun Obasanjo (1978-1979):

Under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s leadership, Nigeria continued to champion the ideals of ECOWAS, promoting economic development, peace, and stability across West Africa.

  1. Muhammadu Buhari (1985 and 2018-2019):

President Muhammadu Buhari held the chairmanship of ECOWAS twice. His initial tenure in 1985 was cut short due to a military coup. However, during his second term from 2018 to 2019, President Buhari played a pivotal role in advancing regional integration and addressing security challenges.


  1. Ibrahim Babangida (1985-1989):

Following President Buhari’s initial term, General Ibrahim Babangida assumed the ECOWAS chairmanship, contributing to the organization’s efforts to foster economic growth and political stability within the region.

  1. Sani Abacha (1996-1998):

During General Sani Abacha’s presidency, Nigeria continued to exert its influence in ECOWAS, with a particular focus on regional security and cooperation to combat transnational threats.

  1. Abdulsalami Abubakar (1998-1999):

General Abdulsalami Abubakar took charge of ECOWAS during Nigeria’s transition from military to civilian rule, emphasizing the importance of democratic governance and regional cooperation.

  1. Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (2008-2010):

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s tenure as ECOWAS Chairman emphasized the pursuit of regional economic integration and the promotion of peace and stability in West Africa.

  1. Goodluck Jonathan (2010-2012):

Under President Goodluck Jonathan’s leadership, ECOWAS focused on consolidating democratic governance, resolving political crises, and fostering economic growth through regional cooperation and trade.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Appointment (2023):

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s recent election as the Chairman of ECOWAS marks another significant milestone in Nigeria’s legacy of leadership within the organization. With his vast experience and visionary approach, President Tinubu is expected to spearhead efforts to strengthen regional economic ties, promote sustainable development, and address pressing challenges faced by member states.

Nigeria’s impressive roster of presidents who have chaired ECOWAS highlights the nation’s commitment to regional integration and cooperation. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s ascension to the position underscores Nigeria’s unwavering dedication to fostering peace, stability, and economic progress within West Africa. As President Tinubu assumes his new role, the international community eagerly anticipates the positive impact he will have on ECOWAS and the region as a whole.

Source: Punch Newspapers

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