General Yakubu Gowon (31 years old)
He was born on October 19, 1934. Gowon took over after Major General Aguiyi-Ironsi, the second president of Nigeria and the first military head of state, was killed on July 29, 1966.
On August 1, 1966, a month and two weeks before his 32nd birthday, he became the third President of Nigeria and the youngest head of state ever. Nigeria had over 51 million people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $6.4 billion at this time.
Gowon’s nine-year rule is the longest in Nigerian history (1966–1975).
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General Murtala Muhammed (37 years old)
He was born on November 8, 1938. Muhammed took office on July 29, 1975, after criticising General Aguiyi-leadership Ironsi’s administration and working as a federal commissioner under Gowon. At the time, Nigeria was home to more than 60 million people and had a GDP of $27.8 billion.
At the age of 37, Gen. Muhammed became the fourth Nigerian head of state. He was assassinated ten days after creating nine new states — Bauchi; Benue; Borno; Imo; Niger; Ogun; and Ondo — on February 3, 1976.
General Olusegun Obasanjo (39 years old)
He was born on May 5, 1937. On February 13, 1976, the Supreme Military Council made him the head of state when Nigeria had 64.7 million people and a GDP of $36.3 billion
Obasanjo went on to be the first to rule Nigeria as a military leader and a civilian president.