AN ANALYSIS OF POLITICAL TRANSITION IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF BABAGINDA’S REGIME 1985-1993)


Content

ABSTRACT

The work critically examines Babanginda's transition programme and also analyses, the full time table which culminated in the June 12 Presidential election. The transition of Babangida though the longest in Africa, turned out to produce the freest and fairest election in the country. It also had a lot of innovations like grass root politics, zero party elections (non­-party elections Option A4 (open balloting system) and two party system. If the results of the elections had been upheld by the military, General Babangida could have gone down in African history as one of the best African leaders to have organised a free and fair election, but the annulment of the election robbed him of all these.

In conclusion, the work highlighted the fact that military transition programme in Nigeria has not produced an enduring democracy, rather it had led to another military take over, or military trying to change from Khaki to Agbada that is, install themselves in power. The military, must therefore not be left alone to organise a political transition government. Civilians too must play major role in this programme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

     Pages

Cover Page                                                                                                                           i          

Certification                                                                                                             ii

Dedication                                                                                                                            iii

Acknowledgement                                                                                                  iv

Abstract                                                                                                                                v

Table of Contents                                                                                                               vi

 

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background of the Study                                                                                      1

1.2      Statement of Problem                                                                                           6

1.3      Justification of Study                                                                                             9

1.4      Research Objectives                                                                                               10

1.5      Methodology                                                                                                           11

1.6      Research Scope                                                                                                       12

1.7      Expected Result                                                                                                      13

1.8      Hypotheses                                                                                                              14

Endnotes                                                                                                                   15

 

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW             

General Babangida's Rise to Power                                                                                21

Transition - Time – Table                                                                                                   25

Endnotes                                                                                                                               37

 

CHAPTER THREE: THE MILITARY AND TRANSITION PROGRAMME; 1985-1993 

3.1      The Political Transition Programme, 1987 - 1992 under the

Babangida Regime                                                                                                  42

3.2      Trends and Problems of Transition Programme In Nigeria Since 1990.            47

3.3      Babangida's Philosophy: Political-Economy                                                     53

Endnotes                                                                                                                   70

 

CHAPTER FOUR

Summary                                                                                                                              72

Recommendations                                                                                                             74

Conclusion                                                                                                                            78

Endnotes                                                                                                                               80

Bibliography                                                                                                                         83

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Nigeria has only experienced two civilian administrations since Independence from British colonial rule on October 1, 1960. The first lasted from 1 October 1960-15 January, 1966 and the Second lasted from 1 October 1879 to 31 December 1983.

Nigeria was universally regarded as a nation with a lot of promise and potential. Taken together, both regimes lasted a little under ten years. Both were overthrown by soldiers who declared the need to bring sanity and discipline into the affairs of the nation before putting in place a transition programme that would ensure a lasting democracy but almost three decades in power has turned the military itself into a sit-tight political party which then seemed incapable of handing over to anyone but itself.

The military's first incursion into politics was on January 15, 1966, when a group of young officers - six majors and a captain decided to rid the country of "the political profiteers, swindlers, the men in the high and low places who sought bribes, and demanded ten percent. The January boys, as they came to be known, had little idea what they wanted in practical terms apart from an end to the old order and after three days the last of them, Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu, surrendered to major General Aguiyi Ironsi Ironsi, later headed the new federal military Government. He promptly suspend the federal and regional parliaments and promise a new popular constitution preparatory to the soldiers returning to the barracks. Ironsi survived only seven months in office before he was overthrown in a counter -coup by northern soldiers on July 28, 1966, the result of lingering ethnic and religious tension created in the aftermath of the first coup.

The anti-Igbo riots in the north, lasted from June, 1967 to January, 1970, obviously helped to entrench military rule, not least by allowing the institution to promote itself as the saviour of the country. General Murtala Muhammed and his deputy General Olusegun Obasanjo came into power in 1976. Obasanjo came into power in 1976. Obasanjo handed over to an elected civilian administration-of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, a Northerner, as President of the Second Republic on October 1st, 1979.

The Second Republic did not last for long before it was overthrown by another Military regime of Major General Tunde Idiagbon (often referred to as the Buhari/ldiagbon regime), which overthrew Shagari's shaky government on New Year's Eve, 1987. The regime which was impervious to all reasons, was overthrown by General Ibrahim Babangida in August, 1985.

However, by mid-90s, Nigeria was no longer the pride of Africa, most of the countries that saw her as paragon of excellence in the early years of her independence have all virtually overtaken her on the lane of progress. The politics has gone awry while the economy has plummeted to an all time low due to bad economic programmes, corruption, and mismanagement of state funds and lack of accountability.

Ineffective leadership, frequent change of government, misrule were also translated into poorly managed economics and consequent over-arching debt burden leading to general impoverishment of Africans. Onimode, (1988) highlighting the extent of social and political failure in Africa, conceptualizes the African crisis into four manifestations:

·       Africa's lagging status relative to other ex-colonial regions of South East Asia and Latin America.

·       The deepening socio-political crisis.

·       The dashed hopes and legitimate expectations of-African majority since nominal independence.

·       The abysmal gap between socio-political performance and what is feasible in terms of the rich material, human and cultural potentialities.         

Onimode, goes further to say, that these are essentially welfare, policy institutional and structural failure of the superstructure. In other words, the origin of the African crisis is traceable to political failure. This is in perfect agreement with the views of Claude Ake.

We are never going to understand the current crisis in Africa much less contain it, as long as we continue to think of it as an economic crisis, its economic consequence is serious as we know only too well but they are nonetheless incidental, not only is the crisis essentially political in character, it is also political in its origin.

The African crisis, though manifested in all facets of the life of the African, its origin was never difficult to locate as the two eminent professors quoted have shown. The superstructure has proved itself incompetent on the basis of which crisis have been precipitated. But the superstructure in Nigeria is insensitive and hegemonic. Quite aware of the crisis it has created but unable to do anything about it, the bankrupt leadership who occupy the political superstructure in Nigeria held tight to its position, expecting the worst but silently praying that it may not come.

In fact, in many parts of the world mere mention of the name “Nigeria” has been associated with all that is criminal, corrupt and unacceptable. Moreso, the situation of Nigeria became more suspicious. The post Apartheid Africa should have developed a robust political vision of African's total liberation. Only if the opportunities offered Nigeria at Independence were not squandered by a succession of selfish and incompetent leadership Nigeria would have escaped the opprobrium of being classified as the 19th poorest country in the world, behind most African counterparts.

The Nigeria of the mid 90s is a country in a prostrate state wracked and bogged by a plethora of burning issues, among which were the June 12 crisis with systemic collapse of human dignity and strategic infrastructure.

The African masses rose up against their hegemonic rulers and demanded democratization of their political process. Meanwhile, the Western aid donors to Africa, excited at the renewed prospects for liberal democracy of the Western type tied subsequent aid given to the extent and seriousness of democratization by the regimes.

Consequently, Benin Republic led the way in the democratization process in 1990 followed by Zambia in 1992, Ghana in 1993, etc. while other African countries were seriously transcending successfully to democratic rule, Nigeria which introduced an elaborate transition to civil rule programme as far back as 1987, is still attached to military rule; more than ten years after.

One of the implications of this overstretched transition to civil rule in Nigeria, is certainly, that of further political failures. The effects of this political underdevelopment, how it has been brought about and the impacts on the fate of democracy in Nigeria and Africa in general, are what this research work shall seek to explore and explain.

 

1.2      STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

The post independent Africa was bequeathed with a leadership that was probably unaware of the enormity of the problems, it was being saddled with directing the political emancipation and managing the social economic development of the ex-colonial peoples, who looked forward to independence with great expectations for the enhancement of their welfare conditions, must have seemed a mere task to the     American      elite    who            inherited political power on the exit of the colonizers.

Although the African leaders inherited a fledging democracy anchored on multiparty attendant opposition, became unacceptable to most of these leaders. Thus, many African independent leaders concentrated all powers in their own hands in their separate countries.

The leaders soon lost track of reasons and became oppressive and so set in mismanagement and bad government with `very bad or poor human right records.

Somehow, the army seized power to remove the dictators or to arrest the problems of mismanagement in the economic but they too soon became autocratic. In all cases, the masses or the people were at the receiving end with all the expected benefits that were said to follow political kingdom, notforthcoming, the people found themselves increasingly relapsing to abject poverty and squalor, ignorance and diseases.

Whereas the masses out bare existence, their leaders had perfected strategies to perpetuate themselves in office and use the states resources for private ends for more than a decade, some of them held tight to power tolerating no opposition of any kind as in Zaire under Mobutu, Togo under Eyadema and so on and until the pro-­democracy agitation exploded ignited by frustration. Where some of them gave up to democratic alternative, others were adamant in resistance and had used the military to manipulate the pro- democracy and had consolidated their position as it happened in Togo and Kenya.

In Nigeria for example, an endless transition to civil rule programme was embarked upon, by the military thereby delaying democratization perpetuating hegemonic rule in Africa.

Thus the following questions are raised regarding the consequences of protecting hegemonic rules and democratization of African countries with a focus on the Nigeria transition to civil rule programme, 1985.

·       Transition to civil rule programme in Nigeria lasted over ten years (1987-1993) what were the effects of this protracting transition to the political consciousness and attitudes of the people?

·       What were other societal problems to democracy in Nigeria?

·       How can democracy be institutionalized in Nigeria?

·       Does Military rule constitute impediment or serve as agent of democratization in Nigeria?

·       How can political authoritarianism in Nigeria and Africa be checked?

·       With the way General Babangida's transition programme ended, it could be argued that they never truly wanted to relinquish power to a civilian government. The same attitude is rampant among autocratic and international pressures in favour of democracy. Is the Military genuinely interested in democratization in Nigeria?

1.3      JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY

Nigeria is not only said to be an economically backward country in the world today, but also one of the most politically backward. Nigeria's socio-economic backwardness can be traced to her political disarticulation, failures and subsequent disorientation. Truly, Nigeria was colonially exploited and dominated, but South East Asia and Latin America suffered the same too. Why is it that, while those other ex-colonial regions are breaking away from poverty and under-development, Africa is increasingly getting poorer and nose-diving in all indices of political and economic conditions of her people.

Africa has 22 out of 31 least developed countries in the world; the highest incidence of civil wars and consequent innumerable number of refugees, the lowest literacy level and the least life expectancy and not to mention the poorest feeding habits. What about urban slum and housing hazards, high unemployment level and rural urban migration?

These basic social failures are all the more culpable, says Onimode, because they reflect the wide gap between performance and potentials in Africa? Most glaringly, many African countries have remained under one form of autocratic rules or the other since independence. In the midst of all these, Africa has the highest number of undemocratic regimes with the worst managed economies and the most rampant abuses of human right.

While South East Asian countries (Indonesia, Philippines etc) that have broken even in socio-economic development were said to have done so under autocratic regimes, Africa's own autocratic regimes leads their people into deeper backwardness and poverty.

This research has tried to show how hegemonic rules have been responsible for the backwardness in African development, using the Nigeria Military autocracy and its transition to civil rule programme from 1985 - 1993.

 

1.4      RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

The objective of this research is to bring to the fore, how the Nigerian Political class, through military regimes, one party regimes and sit-tight president for life, have politically underdeveloped Nigeria. Furthermore, an exploration and description of how Africa and Nigeria can be freed from the political stranglehold of hegemonic rule, through the complete and total empowerment of civil society by nurturing and internalizing genuine democratic culture have been pursued.

It is firmly believed that only through democratizing Africa, that the people would be energized and innovations be realised for thorough political and economic development.

 

1.5      METHODOLOGY

The methodology adopted in this research is mainly the library research and seminars attended. It is culled from primary and secondary sources. The Secondary resource includes News papers, magazines, monographs, text materials from the library while the primary include seminars attended, interviews conducted and opinions of scholars. The research material is qualitative because present data are used for the analysis.

·       Careful study of available official publications on the transition to civil rule programme of General Babangida, from August 1993 by means of documentation at primary source.

·       The currency of the subject matter compelled commensurate reliance on relevant opinions and discussions expressed by the Nigerian, in Newspapers, magazines and journals concerning democratization and transition to civil rule in Nigeria.

 

1.6      RESEARCH SCOPE

The scope will try to explain the transition to civil rule programme of General Ibrahim Babangida (1985-1993), in Nigeria. The study of Nigerian transition to democratic programme which, is a reflection of what obtains in other African countries that have been under hegemonic rule. The reason for choosing the Nigerian transition to civil in spite of the fact that the early 1990s witnessed transition to civil or democratic rule or agitation for it in many African countries, previously dominated by autocratic regimes is because the Nigerian transition had certain peculiar characteristics as follows:­

·       It was the longest initiated by open popular demand or agitation for democracy but rather, by the military regime. This perhaps accounts for the overbearing predominance of the military government all through the botched transition programme.

·       The Nigerian transition commenced well ahead of popular agitation for democratization in other African countries. Whereas the Nigerian transition took off actually in 1987, the Bennois uprising that sparked off pro-democracy agitation in other parts of Africa occurred in 1990. It can therefore be argued the Nigerian transition of the Babangida regime proceeded ' and ignited those of other African countries to some extent. An example justifying the above argument is the Ghanaian transition which was precipitated mainly by the pressures from Ghanaians resident in Nigeria, when it seemed real that the Nigerian programme was running on course.

·       It was the longest of the transition (8 years) and yet ended tragically.

In addition to the above stated fact, the Nigerian transition programme, under study attracted worldwide attention and interest. Now, purely on the academic side, the study enterprise is crucial to comparative studies which enhance the construction of theory in political science.

The scope is limited to the 8 years period of General Babangida's regime (1985-1993).

 

1.7      EXPECTED RESULT

The goal of this research project has been to prove some points as follows:

·       That Africa is impoverished by a segment of the African population who dominates the large majority of their countries.

·       By maintaining their hegemonic rule, this tiny minority of the political class exclude popular participation of the people in the affairs of their countries through the denial of both positive and negative freedoms.

·       This class of people even though hijacked the machinery of government of government lacks rationality to rule.

·       By autocratic rule and exploitation, they stunt development of their societies in all respects and create unconducive environment for democratic culture.

·       For sustained political and social economic development to be positive in Nigeria and Africa, hegemonic regimes must be replaced with democratic ones, which alone, can engender true and people oriented development.

It is also the goal of this research to contribute to the existing knowledge on the travail of democracy in Nigeria and Africa.

 

1.8      HYPOTHESIS

Hypotheses are tentative statement or propositions made between two variables which has empirical basis. This study has been propelled by a central hypothesis stated as follows:­

1.     The more the prevalence democracy, the lower the incursion of military rule into Nigeria's politics.

2.     The higher the spate of military rule, the lower the level of fundamental human rights.

3.     The more the existence of military regime, the higher the prevalence of violence and injustice.

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