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
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
3.1 The Third Military Regime 1975-1979
3.2 The Fourth and Fifth Military Regimes
Chapter Four: The Sixth and Seventh Military Regimes
4.1 The Transition to Civil Rule
4.2 Abacha’s Dictatorship and the State of the
Chapter Five: Summary, Conclusion
5.1 Summary and Conclusion
1.1 Background to Study
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
is significant because:
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.
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.
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.
and Limitation of 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
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
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
Chapter Five is summary, conclusion and
recommendation. The chapter draws a
conclusion on the study and makes useful recommendations.
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