What are the reasons for military intervention in Nigerian politics? Due to the numerous crisis and political instability in Nigeria during civil rule, the country’s started to decline drastically. There was religious conflict, regional crisis and power struggle in every part of the country. This made the military to intervene in Nigerian politics since civilians were unable to handle the whole situation. According to the military, there main reason for taking over the government was to bring about peace and progress in the country but that was not just the reason.
When the military eventually took over power, Nigerians regreted military rule because they were even more reasons for taking over power which the military did not made known to the country. In this article, i will discuss some of the core reasons for military intervention in Nigerian politics.
Meanwhile, if you have not read my article on the achievements of the military in Nigeria, kindly do so because you are going to learn a lot from that article too. So what are the reasons for military intervention in Nigeria?
1. Regionalism in politics: Before the coming of the military, many political parties only accepted members from some regions of the country. Take for instance, some political parties were strictly for the Northerners and some were strictly for the Southerners. This contributed to the reason why there was little or no growth and development in the country.
Believe it or not, the regionalism of politics was a major problem in Nigeria immediately after independence. There was a great power struggle between regions of Nigeria. Consequently, the military came with the intention to end this disunity in the country.
2. Corruption, nepotism and tribalism: Aside from the fact that politics was regionalised, there was also a high level of Corruption, Nepotism and tribalism in the country. The level of corruption corruption in Nigeria grew to the extent that people were killed to that a politician can win election. The poor masses surfered because there were not allowed to enjoy the natural resources of the country. The rich oppressed them and too everything to themselves.
After considering this, the military thought it wise to take over power as that seemed to be to only way to stop the high level of corruption in the country.
3. The hunger to control the government: One of the reasons for military intervention which was not made known by the military to Nigerians was the fact that the military had the desire to control the government their own way. This was one of the core reasons for military intervention in Nigeria because it made the military so interested in controlling the government.
Thus, with the incessant crisis and conflicts in the country, the military saw an opportunity to come into government and partake in exploiting the country.
4. Inflation in population: Following the 1962 population crisis which was as a result of uncertainty in the population census conducted in Nigeria, the military also saw reasons why they should take over power. The crisis highlighted the high rate of conflict among the regions of Nigeria and fight or struggle to benefit more from the income of the nation.
The crisis almost disintegrated the regions of Nigeria. When the military saw this, they decided to calm the country down through dictatorship and this was achieved.
5. Action Group Crisis of 1962: Undoubtedly, the Action Group crisis of 1962 also contributed to the reason why the military intervened in Nigeria’s politics. It was one of the significant crisis in the history of Nigeria. Though the crisis was as a result of the leadership struggle in the west, it was also seen as a national problem. The military saw it as one of the results of the inability of civilians to handle the government.
6. Absence of free and fair election: Before the intervention of the military, almost all the elections that was held in Nigeria was usually followed with a lot of killings, stealing of ballot boxes etc. As a result of this, the military came into power to stop the incessant electoral malpractices. Although, electoral malpractice did not really disappear when the military handed over political power to civilians, but it reduced considerably.
7. Mismanagement of the country’s resources: Based on research, Nigeria is one of the top countries that is blessed with natural resources. But even at that, the country was not able to manage its resources after independence. Consequently, the military saw this as a reason to take over power. To them, a dictatorial rule is more capable of managing the country’s wealth that the so called civilian rule.
This was not really the case when the military eventually took over power. The resources of the country seemed to be even more misused during the military regime in Nigeria.
8. Embezzlement of government funds: The high rate of stealing and Embezzlement of government funds after independence was alarming. It got to a point when politicians couldn’t hide the fact that they were actually stealing from the wealth of the country. This made the military to intervene in Nigeria’s politics. Accordingly, under the administration of Obasanjo, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was created to fight against all levels of embezzlement and stealing in the country.
9. Influence of other coups: If you have ever asked why the military continually intervened in Nigeria’s politics, then the answer is actually because of the influence of other military coup which happened in the past. After the 1966 coup the military saw how easy for them to take over power through force and take total control of the government. So, other coups followed. Even till today, it is not impossible for the military to take over power because it has happened in the country before. It is so in other countries too.
Also see: 7 Major Pillars of democracy
In conclusion, we have seen some of the bad and good reasons for military intervention in Nigerian politics. Apparently, some of the reasons actually worth the intervention of the military. Take for instance, i do support that the military should intervene where there is intense embezzlement of funds in a nation. However, the fact that military rule brought about dictatorship and infringement of the rights of Nigerians is not a good one.