Reasons For Military Intervention In Nigerian Politics

Author: George Ibenegbu

Military intervention in politics is a very common problem faced by developed and developing countries. Whether your country is democratic or totalitarian, you can still get the military forces involved in politics; this also happened in Nigeria during the period of military juntas. Let us take a look at the some top reasons for military intervention in Nigerian politics.

What is military intervention?
Totalitarian and democratic regimes have a common problem, which is the possibility of military intervention. Military forces usually decided who gets what during a coup d’état, and so many cases of military interventions have been witnessed and discussed under history and political studies. Students of various universities also focus on the individual and general cases of military interventions in politics.

The main role of every military force in every country is to protect the country from external military forces. The Army is expected to provide and construct plans for the effective protection of citizens from the external threats. The military is also created to protect the regimes and constitutional order of countries.
The military is a hierarchic and authoritative structure where you cannot find any democratic features. It is very simple – you cannot be chosen as a general of the army, you can only attain this position through years of training and experience. The national army and guard is a very powerful structure. In some countries, it is even forbidden to criticize the military forces.

Explaining military interventions in Nigerian government is not an easy task as there is always a mix of different factors contributing to military coups. Military intervention can peacefully coexist with politics like it was in the middle-ages Japan, where you can find an Emperor as a nominal power and Shogun (Supreme military commander) as a real power.
There are five theories that can help to explain and examine military intervention in Nigerian politics. Let us take a look at these five theories and reasons why Nigeria may fall under the military rule again!

1. Socio-Economic Development
According to this theory, a military intervention can happen as a result of disbelief in the socio-economic development of the country. Socially and economically stable countries are less prone to military coups. Military interventions usually take place in countries with low-income status. Nigeria experienced this problem during the military coups up to the beginning of the 1990s. Nigeria may not be able to survive another economic crisis. The last oil war in the world forced Nigeria to develop new sectors of the economy. Without a strong and stable economy, the chances for military coup can become pretty high!

2. Corruption and Political Development
Another great reason for military intervention in politics is political crisis in a country; like in the case of military interventions during the Cold War because the communistic regimes failed against capitalism and democracy. Corruption always weakens the government and results in high chances of military coups. Nigeria is still one of the most corrupt countries in the world, therefore, it will not be a surprise if the weak, corrupted politicians surrender the country to military rule. Without a strong political leader, Nigeria may fall into another military coup. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a stable economy and political atmosphere to protect the country! Military intervention in Nigerian government may only occur under weak politicians.

3. The Centrality of the Military
This theory provides the idea that the greater the resources and power the military has, the greater the chances of a military coup. A weak civilian institution may provoke strong military forces to take over power in the country, this is why the actions of military forces should be monitored!

4. Conflicts based on issues in the society
These conflicts may include religious and ethnic problems; this happened in Nigeria during the first rise of Biafra. Nonetheless, it can still happen as Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations are a threat to the democratic regime. Nigeria is multicultural with various religious beliefs. Nonetheless, the extremist religious groups may become a real threat and destroy the government in Nigeria. ISIS is the most obvious example of how religious fanatics can destroy a country. Therefore, it is necessary to protect Nigeria from this kind of threat.

5. Regional Differences
Regional differences are always provided as the reason for military intervention in the political affairs of Latin America. Nigeria also has some problems existing between some states. Nigeria is a country where more than 400 tribes coexist peacefully. Nonetheless, the political climate could change. Nigerian tribes may carry out actions that will cause political instability in the country and increase the likelihood of military coups. This will however not happen if the Federal government can provide new methods of cultural exchange between the representatives of the tribes.

If you try to examine military intervention in Nigerian politics throughout history, you will see that it happened due to a combination of factors. Therefore, it is necessary to stabilize the economic and social life of the country. If this does not happen, then Nigeria may experience another coup d’état.

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