The purpose of this study was to look at the military and Nigerian politics: an assessment of the military’s dominance over the Nigerian political sphere from 1999 to 2015. The study looks at the historical background in Nigeria from 1966 to 1976. The role of military authority in the transition to democracy from 1976 is also investigated in the paper. Finally, the study assesses the military’s dominance over Nigeria’s political landscape from 1999 to 2015. The research was conducted using historical research analysis. The findings found that the military’s dominance continues to be felt in many aspects of governance in the country, as the military elite amassed vast riches throughout their lengthy tenure in power. When the country reverted to democracy in 1999, Governors (Prince Olagusoye Oyinlola of Osun State; Jonah Jang of Plateau State), Senators (Senator David Mark, a two-term Senate President), and Ministers have all come from the military. They play important roles in the country’s business, politics, nation-building, and peacekeeping. The retired military officers have likewise controlled the Fourth Republic for 14 of the present 21 years. As a result, the report recommends that the political class and elites avoid repeating the country’s experience between 1979 and 1983, which resulted in the military’s return to politics. In addition, the country’s socio-economic concerns should be objectively addressed, with a focus on the country’s worrisome incidence of insecurity and unemployment.



Background of the study

Flora Shaw, who later married Lord Lugard, the British colonial administrator, invented the word “Nigeria” on January 8, 1897, and used it as the title of an article in The Times (Meek, 1960) to describe the huge region surrounding the River Niger and its basin. It was originally known as the Niger-area, but after a lengthy period of use, it was abbreviated to Nigeria. Mungo Park was on his way to explore the Niger River when he came across this enormous expanse along the river. Nigeria has a population of approximately 150 million people, making it the most populated country in Sub-Saharan Africa. The country’s population density is 145 people per square kilometer (Nigerian National Population Commission: Abuja, Nigeria, 2001).

Nigeria has over 250 nationalities and is located on the West African coast in the extreme inner corner of the Gulf of Guinea. The Yorubas in the south west, the Ibos in the south east, and the Hausa- Fulanis in the north are the three most populous nationalities, accounting for 65 percent of the population, with minorities accounting for the remaining 35 percent (Butts & Metz, 1996). Nigeria has about 250 languages (Agbaje, 1990), however some research claim there are as many as 400.

In January 1966, the military gained control of the country after a bloody coup led by Major Nzeogwu (Osoba, 1996). This coup was supposed to put an end to the five years of misrule, ineptness, and corruption that had preceded it. After more than six decades of colonial misrule, the First Republic politicians’ six-year blunders led the military to intervene in administration (Roberts, 2005; Babawale, 1993; Gambari, 1995). Military rule has been a recurring phenomenon in Nigeria since then. Military intervention in politics was far more often than open, competitive elections in bringing about political change. The country’s military mistakenly appeared as a self-proclaimed messiah to preserve the nation. “It is only in the Nigerian army that you discover Nigerians,” Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu is alleged to have observed during the stormy decade of the 1960s (Suberu, 1997), an assertion that proved false after decades.

On January 15, 1966, the military seized power in Nigeria.

became engrossed in the political debate. In fact, they became embroiled in a procedure that contradicted their professional training and attitude. They attempted to reform the polity, for example, by issuing a series of policy statements supported by military decrees (Olutayo, 1999). They established states and local governments in this environment, and they implemented administrative reforms impacting the bureaucracy and civil service in an attempt to restructure the civil service in this context (Amowo, 1995). Some of these may be acceptable, but the vast majority were carried out to serve local interests, which inevitably resulted in additional issues that the military appears to be unable to resolve. After decades of military misadventure in politics, Nigerians realized that the military intervention, which they had been so enthusiastic about and welcomed, was an outlier and a major setback for the country (Elaigwu, 1986). Military rule isn’t open and inclusive; instead, it’s limited, exclusive, and frequently autocratic. The military used ethnic, regional, religious, and communal identities to gain control. The more the political process is heightened, the more it is threatened with instability, making it easier for the military to justify its continued rule on the grounds that it wishes to prevent the disintegration of the country life known as Nigeria in 1900.

Statement of the problem

Nigeria’s political sphere has always centred around its prior presidents, who, according to history, held one or two political positions in the country’s previous republic or are currently in power in the fourth republic (Gambari,1995). Nigeria has had four presidents since 1999, according to political history. Except for Goodluck Jonathan, all of these presidents served in the military during Nigeria’s military dictatorship from 1966 to 1979, followed by democracy in 1999. (Etebom,2014). Obasanjo, for example, was the military president from 1976 to 1979 before becoming the democratic president in 1999. After serving in the military from 1964 to 1975, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua became the first democratically elected president of Nigeria in 2007. Following Jonathan’s presidency, Buhari, a former head of state under the military administration from 1983 to 1985, was elected democratically in 2015. The military and Nigerian politics are set against this backdrop: an estimate of the military’s political dominance in Nigeria from 1999 to 2015

Objective of the study

The study’s overall goal is to examine the military and Nigerian politics, with a focus on the military’s dominance over the Nigerian political sphere from 1999 to 2015.

In order to investigate the military’s historical antecedents in Nigeria.

To look into the role of military rule in the democratic transition.

To assess the military’s political dominance in Nigeria from 1999 to 2015.

Research hypotheses

For the study, the following hypothesis has been proposed:

H0: Between 1999 and 2015, there was no military dominance in Nigeria’s political arena.

HA; Between 1999 and 2015, the military dominated the Nigerian political landscape.

Significance of the study

The military and Nigerian politics will be examined in this study, which will include an assessment of the military’s dominance over the Nigerian political sphere from 1999 to 2015. As a result, the research will be important in the following ways.

Nigerians: This study is important to the Nigerian people because it would reveal the military’s dominance in the country’s political sphere, allowing citizens to assess whether it has been beneficial to the country’s growth.

Academics: This study is important to the academic community since it will add to the current literature on the military’s dominance of Nigeria’s political landscape.

Scope of the study

This research will look at the military’s historical background in Nigeria. The study will also look into the role of military authority in the democratic transition. Finally, the study will assess the military’s dominance over Nigeria’s political landscape from 1999 to 2015.

Limitation of the study

The researcher faced some challenges in conducting this study, including time limits, money constraints, language barriers, and the attitudes of the respondents.

Furthermore, there was a component of researcher prejudice. The researcher had some biases, which may have shown up in the manner the data was gathered, the kind of people questioned or sampled, and how the data was evaluated afterward. It’s impossible to overestimate the impact of all of this on the findings and conclusions.

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