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10 Problems Of The Nigerian Military Rule

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10 Problems Of The Nigerian Military Rule. by BhbHoLLAH (m): 12:19am on November 11
Habeeblah Olamilekan
Kwara state polytechnic,ilorin
Graduate, Nigeria.

Military rule in Nigeria first started on January
15, 1966, when a group or army officers
overthrew the NPC-NNDP government thereby
overthrowing Sir Ahmadu Bello; the post-
independence leader of the country and killing
many of the country’s political leaders.
15th of January 1966 marked the beginning
of military rule in the country and the military
era has been filled with series of coups and
counter coups. Military rule in Nigeria has
caused a chain of drastic effects on Nigeria
and Nigerians, some of the problems of
military rule in Nigeria includes but is not
limited to:

1. Loss of Lives and Properties
The military power desires to rule with
absolute control and as such eliminates any
form of threats. During the January 15, 1966
coup, the first ever coup, it was quite bloody
with 11 senior Nigerian politicians and 2
soldiers being murdered also, 3 soldiers were
kidnapped in the course of the coup.
The coup plotters attacked Ibadan, Lagos and
Kaduna within a period of 2 days. These were
the first of many deaths to occur as each
coup was replaced by a more bloody counter
coup; military leaders in Nigeria neuter ruled
nor lived long as they were either captured,
kidnapped or outrightly killed.

2. Relegation of the Constitution
to the Background

The Constitution is a set of rules meant to
guide the affairs of the government and the
people, it is a form check on the power and
stomping on the rights of other people.

However, it is the first to go in a military era.
Due to the desire for absolute power, one of
the first things the military does is to nullify
the power of the constitution. This gives total
freedom to rule as they wish without having to
follow the set of rules contained in the

After the first coup, Major Chukwuma Ojukwu
Nzeogwu officially announced the successful
coup on Radio Nigeria in Kaduna. He is
quoted as further saying ‘ the Constitution is
suspended and the regional government and
elected assemblies are hereby dissolved…”

3. Lack of Freedom
In the military era, speeches against the ruling
power is not tolerated and could lead to the
imprisonment and assassination of such

There was a coup attempt during the Abacha
led administration in 1995 and this led to the
arrest and imprisonment of the likes of
General Obasanjo, Major General Shehu
Shagari, Musa Yaradua and some other
prominent soldiers.

Also, some of the civilians that spoke against
these imprisonments were also imprisoned;
prominent among them was Beko Ransome-
Kuti. The military took control of the media
for propaganda purposes, The military decide
to a larger extent what you should hear in the

Private media houses have restrictions on
what they air out to the public. People also
don’t have the freedom of speech.

4. Instability Of Government
The government during the military regime
was unstable. Throughout the 33 years of
military rule in Nigeria, Coup d’état was the
order of the day, governments were
overthrown, political leaders assassinated and
oppositions silenced.

During this regime and you can just wake up
to hear that a new Head of State had
emerged. This led to instability in the
government and the lack of continuity in

5. Corruption
The military regime was a very corrupt one.
Unlike the civilian regime where it is widely
spread and many had their own share of the
national cake, in the military era, national
resources were siphoned by a few while
majority lived in fear and terror unable to
speak for fear of imprisonment torture or

Only few had access to the national cake and
carry out their corrupt act. After more than
three decades, Nigeria is yet to recover all the
loot Abacha, a military dictator stole.

6. Incompetence or Inexperienced

The military regime constituted military
personnel who lacked administrative and
political experience to govern. Military
personnel are trained and used to the
application of force to get desired results,
other peaceful means like negotiations,
exchange or even concession seem alien thus,
even if they come into power with seemingly
good motives, they are politically incapable to
rule the nation, Nigeria.

7. Independence of the Judiciary
The judiciary in Civilian or Democratic rule
serves the purpose of check and balancing on
the excesses of the government, however,
during the military reign their independence
was sometimes not guaranteed which rendered
the judiciary powerless.

8. The Nigerian Civil War
The military rule was responsible for the civil
war that claimed millions of lives. many of the
high ranking officials in the military felt that
the first coup had been carried out to favour
the Igbo people.

Particularly, due to the fact that many of the
leaders and military officers murdered during
that coup were northerners. Coincidentally,
many Igbo Majors were promoted soon after
the coup which furthered confirmed these
speculations. These led to a counter coup and
a chain of effects leading to the Nigeria-Biafra

9. Lack Of Legitimacy
The military was a totalitarian and oppressive
government whose authority derives from
military power and intimidation rather than
democratic choice of the people.

Those who are in power tend to enjoy
advantages such as unquestioned authority,
nearly unlimited power, and access to a wider
range of resources than are typically offered
to citizens within the same nation.
Additionally, military dictatorships tend to be
ruled by a single individual who has no real

Military dictators tend to lead their countries
for a long time, very rarely stepping down
voluntarily, meaning that violent struggle is
necessary to implement a different style of
government. As such the military lacks the
legitimacy citizens’ consent gives.
Read Also: 10 Problems of Security in Nigeria
and Possible Solutions

10. Stagnation
Despite over seventeen years of unbroken
civilian rule, Nigeria is still staggering from
the effects of thirty three years of military
oppression, the rigging of elections continues
till date, the siphoning of national wealth
which could have been used to erect structure
of national benefits, the relegation of systems
of checks and balancing to a helpless state,
the declaration of decrees have negatively
affected the economy and stagnated

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I'd rather be underrated and overpaid

Than be overrated and underpaid

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