Africa’s Muslim presidents [1]: Somalia, Nigeria, The Gambia

Muslim involvement in nationa building is a must wherever one finds him/herself. Muslims are exhorted by Islam to obey laws of nations where they find themselves but more importantly if those laws are in consonance with Islamic law.

The presidency is usually the highest political office in any country. A number of Muslims are currently holding that office.

This article will focus on Sub-Saharan Africa given that North Africa is led by Muslims as is to be expected.

Politics below the Sahara has different dynamics, depending on which country one looks at, you are likely to find a mix of ethnic/tribal, regional, historical and religious factors playing a role in who gets to become president.

Africa Sahara’s presidential census revealed that there are quite a number of African presidents on the continent but most of them are concentrated in West Africa. We look at a number of them in the first of three articles.

The leaders in this part are Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, The Gambia’s Adama Barrow and Somalia’s Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.

Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari

The setuagenarian came to power on the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party in 2015. He defeated then incumbent Goodluck Jonathan to become president.

Buhari is a former military ruler and former minister of petroleum, a post that he took after coming into office – in a move to check widespread corruption in the sector.

The APC campaign at the time focused on three things: Security, especially fight against Boko Haram, reviving the economy and fighting corruption. Buhari has expressed his intention to stand for polls in 2019 – a second and final term.

Buhari’s vice president is Professor Yemi Osinbajo, a pastor.

The Gambia’s Adama Barrow

Adama Barrow ascended to president on the back of an opposition coalition. The coalition led to the loss of long-serving Yahya Jammeh in December 2016 elections.

Jammeh tried reversing his loss but was forced to leave the country when ECOWAS forces were deployed to oust him, He is currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea.

Barrow is the Gambia’s third president. The first Sir Dawda Jawara was overthrown by Yahya Jammeh in 1994. Barrow’s vice is Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang.

Somalia’s Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.

His name combines that of the Holy Prophet of Islam (Mohamed) on two sides and Mohammed’s father’s name in between. His more popular Italian nickname follows – ‘Farmaajo,’ Italian word for cheese, it is so official he has it on his twitter handle.

Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmajo’ was on February 8, 2016 elected the 9th President of Somalia. An election held in an airport hangar due to increasing insecurity largely because of the activities of al-Shabaab insurgents.

His main pre-occupation has been the fight against Al-Shabaab and reviving the country’s economy. His right hand man is Ali Hassan Khayre – Prime Minister and leader of government business.

He holds American and Somali citizenship. He left his job in the United States to run for the post. He also spent eight-months in 2011 as Prime Minsiter but that period was described as a failure as Al-Shabaab run amok under his watch.

READ MORE ABOUT HIM: Profile: Somalia’s ‘cheese’ President, Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed ‘Farmaajo’



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