The North Central State with Kaduna as its capital Kaduna had two military governors, Abba Kyari (1967 – 1975) and Usman Jibirin (1975 – 1977). Furthermore, since the inception of the state as Kaduna in 1976, it has had 9 military governors and 7 civilian governors till date.
Group Captain Mukhtar Muhammad was the military governor of Kaduna from 1978 – 1979. Group Captain Ibrahim Mahmud Alfa who held the position from 1978 – 1979, the year the Second Republic began under a civilian government led by President Shehu Shagari replaced Group Captain Mukhtar Muhammad. Alhaji Balarabe Musa was elected as the first civilian governor of the state under the platform of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP). He served from 1979 to 1981, when the Kaduna State House of Assembly controversially impeached him. His deputy, Abba Musa Rimi who completed the tenure till 1983, succeeded him.
In 1983, Lawal Kaita was elected as the Governor of Kaduna on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). However, another military coup took power from civilian authority once again. The new military regime of General Muhammadu Buhari appointed Air Vice Marshall Usman Muazu as the Military Governor of Kaduna. He served from 1984 – 1985. Two years later, another coup led by General Ibrahim Babangida appointed Colonel Dangiwa Umar as the Military Governor of Kaduna from 1985 to 1988. Abdullahi Sarki Mukhtar replaced Colonel Dangiwa Umar and ran the state from 1988 to 1990.
The last Military Governor appointed by General Ibrahim Babangida regime was Abubakar Tanko Ayuba. He ran Kaduna from 1990 to 1992 and handed over power to a civilian elected governor in the ill-fated and short-lived Third Republic. Mohammed Dabo Lere became the third elected civilian governor of Kaduna. He emerged victorious from the 1992 elections under the platform of the National Republican Convention (NRC). His rule was short-lived due to the last military coup in Nigeria’s political history, which was engineered and led by General Sani Abacha. As a result, Colonel Lawal Jafaru Isa was appointed as the 7th military governor of Kaduna. He ruled the state from 1993 to 1996.
General Sani Abacha appointed Colonel Hamid Ali as the 8th Military Governor. The current Director General of Nigerian Customs ran Kaduna from 1996 to 1998. The sudden death of General Sani Abacha, and the emergence of General Abdulsalam Abubakar as the Head of State led to appointment of Umar Faruk Ahmed as the Military Governor of Kaduna in August 1998. He served until 1999 and handed over to a civilian Governor after the end of the transitional regime.
The Fourth republic began in 1999 and has continued to endure. Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) emerged victorious in the 1999 gubernatorial elections. After serving two consecutive terms of four years, Makarfi was succeeded by Architect Namadi Sambo, who ran the state from 2007 to 2010. After the death of President Umaru Yar’adua, President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Governor Namadi Sambo as his Vice President. Thus, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, his deputy took over as the Governor of Kaduna. Governor Patrick Yakowa ran for elections under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2011 and won under controversial circumstances. However, he died a year later in a tragic helicopter crash.
This led to the emergence of his deputy, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero as Governor and he ran the state from 2012 to 2015. He unsuccessfully ran for re-election in the recently concluded 2015 elections but lost out to Mallam Nasir El-Rufai of the All Progressive Congress (APC). Nasir El-Rufai became the first opposition politician to govern Kaduna since the birth of the Fourth Republic. He is the incumbent Governor of the state after being sworn in on May 29, 2015.