AN ANALYTICAL APPRAISAL OF MILITARY RULE IN NIGERIA 1966 – 1999


Content

ABSTRACT

This research examine the Analytical Appraisal of Military Rule in Nigeria which span 1966 and 1999. The research work is divided into five chapters.

Chapter One is a general introduction of the study.  It discusses the background to study, the statement of the problems, significance of study, objective of study, research methodology, scope and limitation of study and literature review.

Chapter Two discusses the first military coup in Nigeria and the struggle to safe Nigeria from disintegration when the Igbos tried to secede by declaring a Biafra Republic.  The chapter also discusses the regime of Generals J.TU Aguyi Ironsi and Yakubu Gowon.

Chapter Three discusses, Generals Murtala and Obasanjo regimes and their achievements and then the Muhammadu Buhari regime which was short-lived.

Chapter Four examines Generals Babangida and Abacha’s regime and the transition to civil rule which ended with the General Abdulsalam’s regime who finally handed over power to a democratically elected government.

Chapter Five is summary, conclusion and recommendation.  The chapter draws a conclusion on the study and makes useful recommendations.

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Chapter One: Introduction

1.1      Background to Study

1.2      Statement of problem

1.3      Objective of Study

1.4      Significance of Study

1.5      Research Questions

1.6      Research Methodology

1.7      Scope and Limitations of Study

1.8      Literature Review

 

Chapter Two:  The First and Second Military Rule 1966-75

2.1      General Aguyi Ironsi 1966-67

2.2      General Yakubu Gowon 1967-1975

 

Chapter Three: The Third, Fourth and Fifth Military Rule 1975-1993

3.1      The Third Military Regime 1975-1979

3.2      The Fourth and Fifth Military Regimes 1984-1993

 

Chapter Four: The Sixth and Seventh Military Regimes 1993-1999

4.1      The Transition to Civil Rule

4.2      Abacha’s Dictatorship and the State of the Nation

 

Chapter Five:  Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1      Summary and Conclusion

5.2      Recommendation

            Bibliography

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1    Background to Study

This project is a study of military rule in Nigeria.  It is premised on the background that Nigeria’s problems emanated from the moment the military intervened in the administration of the country.  The military ruled Nigeria from 1966 to 1999 when it seized power from a democratically elected civilian government headed by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe as president.  In 1979, the military handed over power to a democratically elected government headed by President Shehu Usman Shagari.  On first January, 1984 the military again seized power and ruled the country for another thirteen years.  On May 29, 1999, after holding unto power for fifteen years, the military handed over power to a democratically elected government headed by President Olusegun Obasanjo.  The military in its central command image has concentrated so much power at the central government and weakened the component units.

 

The military are not supposed to rule but whenever they take over the governance of the country, they often make allegation of corruption, tribalism, nepotism, regionalism, confusion, rivalry, mismanagement of public office and general indiscipline in the political leadership of the country.  Because of the frequent military intervention in politics for the most part of the second half of the twentieth century, the period has been styled the age of the “Generals” and age of the “Colonels.”

 

The moment the military took over the governance of the country in 1966, they administered the country as if it was a unitary state.  So much power was concentrated at the centre so that nothing can be done without reference to the federal or central government.  Even after the military handed over power to a democratically elected government in 1979, there were constitutional problems in the governance of the country.  This is because both the 1979 and the 1999 constitution were handed over to the civilians by the military regime. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, made by the military and kept secret until its departure from power is nothing but a codification of military maladies and unitary ideology.  It could be described as a rigid constitution.

 

The 1999 constitution on which the country now operates to a very large extent took away concurrent and residual legislative powers of the state government and vested it on the central government.  Nigeria is a federal state and operates a federal constitution.  A federal constitution divides power between central and the regional government in such a way that each of the government is independent within a particular field.  This means that on subjects that the constitution assigns to the central government, the central government can exercise its powers without reference to the state governments.  The same applies to the subjects that the constitution assigns power to the state governments.

 

The unlimited jurisdiction conferred on the State High Court by the 1979 constitution to entertain all matters brought by the citizenry was limited under the 1999 constitution. The fundamental human rights provisions in the constitution, were limited by a number of provisos.  The constitution contained a lot of inequities and absurdities which are clear departure from the constitutional arrangement in the First Republic which allowed the constitution of the Federation.  It also guaranteed a just revenue sharing formula.

 

The 1999 constitution tinkers extensively with issues of national security that borders on incidence that endangers human existence or welfare.  These are matters that concern the protection of the lives, rights, dignity and property of citizens.  It also involves the protection of the country’s resources, cultural integrity, territory, sovereignty and lawful institutions.  The aim of national security is to secure the just and equitable living conditions for all the citizens of the country.  Security includes the means at the disposal of the government for protecting the state and its citizens from external aggression and internal insurrection.  The state exists for the interest of defence, public safety, public morality etc.  The freedom of expression and the press is an aspect of national security and it is necessary for a true democracy.  But the leadership of the country under the military has failed in this respect.

 

The military has tended to defend its intervention in politics in terms of relatively progressive ideas.  The military when they take over power usually mobilize ‘progressive’ ideas and ‘progressive’ symbols in order to attract public attention and sympathy to their regime and to mobilize support for the government so as to legitimize their autocratic power.  Their progressive ideas are essentially incompatible, at least in their logic, with the maintenance of existing relations of production.

 

1.2    Statement of Problem

Whereas the legitimacy of the military in governance is questionable, Nigeria has had more years of military regime than civil rule.  Some have argued that this constitutes a problem to Nigeria’s political advancement and economic development.  Prolonged military administration in the country has hindered constitutional progress because the country has had more years of governance by Decrees rather than by plebistes.  A constitution is a body of laws which determines how a state is governed.  It defines the structure and functions of the organs of government.  It declares the principles which regulate the operation of these organs, and defines the bonds between the citizens and the state.

 

Thus, the Nigerian military entrenched itself as part of the Nigerian ruling class irrespective of whether or not its ideology subordinated the citizenry or not.  The study is a critical assessment and appraisal of some major forces that brought about military intervention in Nigeria’s politics.

 

The research attempts to trace the history of the military rule in Nigeria particularly from the time, Nigeria had the first military coup.  It is common knowledge that from 1966, Nigerians suffer the fear of insecurity arising from oppressive military regimes.

Prompted by the antecedent of militarization the people began to procure arms and light weapons to defend themselves.  From the 1980s, when the military again seized power unemployment became a key factor in the labor market as university graduates applied and did the jobs of secondary school leavers.

 

When Nigeria got her independence in 1960, a federal constitution was put in place.  The purpose of the constitution is to promote the good governance and welfare of all persons on the principles of freedom, equality and justice and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of the people.  Unfortunately however, the politicians who took over power immediately after independence were engrossed by personal aggrandizement and disagreement such that people lost their affection for one another.  People lost their lives in the partisan conflict which ensued.  These inter-group conflicts later culminated in the civil war of 1967 – 1970.

 

The military has been a threat to Nigeria’s political security as found in her frequent intervention in the country’s polity through coups and counter coups.  The military often subordinate the civil populace and reduce the country to a barrack.  Since independence, Nigeria has been subordinated economically to technologically advanced countries of Europe, America and Asia.  The import-dependent nature of the economy had negative impact on material production, cost of living and standard of living.  Market forces and labour conditions are determined by economic conditions abroad.  Consequently, majority of the people suffer the influence of high cost of living, low standard of living and unemployment.  As a result of the harsh economic environment, youth violence and other crimes related to physical assault such as, murder, arson, armed robbery, rape, kidnapping, assassination etc are now carried out for various reasons but the most common purpose for carrying out these crimes in Nigeria is to obtain money.

 

1.3    Objective of Study

The objectives of this study are to:

1.        Study the nature of military rule in Nigeria from 1966 to 1999

2.        Assess the impact of military rule on the country

3.        Ascertain the reaction of the civil populace to military rule

4.        Provide useful information on military rule in Nigeria.

 

 

1.4    Significance of Study

This study is significant because:

1.                 It will provide useful information and insight on military rule in Nigeria from 1966 to 1999

2.        The study is significant because it provides intellectual understanding of the nature of military rule in Nigeria in the period of study.

3.        The study could assist policy makers on the need to establish a stable government.

4.        It could encourage human right groups in their fight against human right abuses.

5.        The study will act as a spring board for other researchers in this field.

 

1.5    Research Questions

The following questions would be asked and answered:

1.        What was the nature of Nigeria’s military leadership in the period 1966 to 1999?

2.        What was the human right posture of the various military regimes between 1966 and 1999?

3.        How did Nigerians react to abuses of their human rights between 1966 and 1999?

4.        How can Nigerian prevent future military incursion in the polity of the country.

 

 

 

1.6    Research Methodology

The study adopts a historical method of research through the use of primary and secondary sources.  Primary source was obtained by way of official publications.  While secondary sources were obtained through the extensive use of published books, chapters in books, articles of journals and newspaper publications.

 

1.7    Scope and Limitation of Study

The study covers the period 1966 to 1999.  This period is important because it witnessed military autocratic rule from 1966 to 1999.  It was only interrupted by four years of civil rule from 1979 to 1983, then another fifteen years period of military rule before a return to full-blown democracy which commences in 1999.

 

1.8    Chapter Synopsis

Chapter One is a general introduction of the study.  It discusses the background to study, the statement of the problems, significance of study, objective of study, research methodology, scope and limitation of study and literature review.

 

Chapter Two discusses the first military coup in Nigeria and the struggle to safe Nigeria from disintegration when the Igbos tried to secede by declaring a Biafra Republic.  The chapter also discusses the regime of Generals J.TU Aguyi Ironsi and Yakubu Gowon.

 

Chapter Three discusses, Generals Murtala and Obasanjo regimes and their achievements and then the Muhammadu Buhari regime which was short-lived.

 

Chapter Four examines Generals Babangida and Abacha’s regime and the transition to civil rule which ended with the General Abdulsalam’s regime who finally handed over power to a democratically elected government.

 

Chapter Five is summary, conclusion and recommendation.  The chapter draws a conclusion on the study and makes useful recommendations.

 

 


 

Note and References

1.        Annual Report on the Human Rights Situation in Nigeria.  Lagos, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), 1998, ix.

2.        A. Adefolarin. Political Science and Government of West Africa.  Lagos, Niger Print Ltd, 1984, 202-3.

3.        F. Adigwe.  Essentials of Government For West Africa.  Ibadan, Ibadan

University Press, 1981, 13.

4.        Annual Report of CDHR, op cit, 1998, x.

5.        C. Ake.  A Political Economy of Africa.  Ibadan, Longman Group Ltd, 2005, 187.

6.        F. Adigwe, op cit, 1981, 9.

7.        A. D. Ali. “Security Threats in Nigeria: The Challenges of Our Time 1960-2008. Paper Presented at the 53rd Annual Congress of the Historical Society of Nigerian Gombe State University, 13th-15th October, 2008, 5-6.

8.        A. Adefolarin. Op cit, 1984, 257-260.

9.        J. Igbokwe, Igbos: Twenty Five Years After Biafra.  Lagos, Advent Communications Ltd., 1995.

10.      G. O. Orewa. We Are All Guilty:  The Nigerian Crisis.  Lagos, Spectrum Books Limited, 2002.

11.      G.O. Orewa. Op cit, 109)

12.      B. J. Dudley, Instability and Political Order:  Politics and Crisis in Nigeria. Ibadan, Ibadan University Press, 1973.

13.      Ibid, 26.

14.      Omolewa Michael: Certificate History of Nigeria England, Longman Group Limited, 1986.

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