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
Cover Page i
Table of Contents vi
of the Study 1
of Problem 6
of Study 9
1.5 Methodology 11
1.8 Hypotheses 14
TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
General Babangida's Rise to Power 21
Transition - Time – Table 25
THREE: THE MILITARY AND TRANSITION PROGRAMME; 1985-1993
3.1 The Political Transition Programme, 1987
- 1992 under the Babangida
3.2 Trends and Problems of Transition
Programme In Nigeria Since 1990. 47
Philosophy: Political-Economy 53
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
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
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
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:
lagging status relative to other ex-colonial regions of South East Asia and Latin America.
deepening socio-political crisis.
dashed hopes and legitimate expectations of-African majority since nominal
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
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
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
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.
for example, an endless transition to civil rule programme was embarked upon,
by the military thereby delaying democratization perpetuating hegemonic rule in
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
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?
were other societal problems to democracy in Nigeria?
can democracy be institutionalized in Nigeria?
Military rule constitute impediment or serve as agent of democratization in Nigeria?
can political authoritarianism in Nigeria
and Africa be checked?
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?
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
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
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
study of available official publications on the transition to civil rule
programme of General Babangida, from August 1993 by means of documentation at
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.
The scope will try to explain the
transition to civil rule programme of General Ibrahim Babangida (1985-1993), in
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
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
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.
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
The scope is limited to the 8 years period
of General Babangida's regime (1985-1993).
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.
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.
class of people even though hijacked the machinery of government of government
lacks rationality to rule.
autocratic rule and exploitation, they stunt development of their societies in
all respects and create unconducive environment for democratic culture.
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.
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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