Born in northern Niger state, Babangida received military training in Nigeria, India, Great Britain, and the United States. He rose through the ranks and was known for his courage—he played a major role in suppressing an attempted coup in 1976 when he walked into a rebel-held radio station unarmed.
After Murtala Mohammed became the military head of state in 1975, Babangida joined his Supreme Military Council. He played a significant role in the coup that replaced the civilian government of Shehu Shagari with the military regime led by Muhammad Buhari. However, deep dissatisfaction with Buhari’s restrictive governance led Babangida to oust Buhari in August 1985. Babangida lessened the governmental control of the press and released a number of detainees from the former civilian government. However, he faced the same economic problems that Buhari had struggled with and the same domestic dissatisfaction. He came to an agreement with the International Monetary Fund and received new loans from the World Bank, but the resultant devaluation of the naira, the local currency, led to social unrest, which he addressed by dissolving part of the Nigeria Labour Congress and temporarily closing the universities.
Babangida announced early in 1986 that a civilian government would be formed by 1990, later extending the date by two years to allow more time for preparation. He decreed that no politicians from the civilian regimes or office-holding military officials could stand as candidates. He allowed no political parties during the transition period and approved only two political parties when campaigning began. Expressing dissatisfaction with the process of fielding new political parties, the Babangida government created its own parties, the National Republican Convention and the Social Democratic Party (SDP). As a further move to show that he was firmly in control, Babangida dissolved the Armed Forces Ruling Council in favour of smaller bodies and dismissed many of his closest military colleagues. An attempted coup in April