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Lagos Historical Review

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From welcome to hostility: Analysis of the change in civil attitude to military intervention in Nigerian politics, 1966 – 1999

Emmanuel Ikechi Onah

Abstract


This paper examines the change in civil attitude towards military  intervention in Nigeria between 1966 and 1999. Military intervention in  Nigerian politics was popular at first. This popularity was based on the  expectation that the military would correct the socio-political ills that the  civilians of the First Republic had created. It was then hoped that within a short space of time, the military would move society forward. It turned out that his did not happen. As the military grappled for direction, civil attitude to the military first became indifferent. The populace increasingly lost its  patience with military rule towards the end of the Babangida regime in the early 1990s through the Abacha dictatorship from 1993-1998 as their  expectations failed to materialize. As military rule failed, military  intervention was perceived an end in itself and an opportunity for military adventurists to seize power for personal gains. Through the content  analysis of secondary materials and other related sources, this work found that by the end of the 1990s civil attitude to military intervention in politics changed to hostility. The implication of this change in civil attitude to military intervention for democratic rule in Nigeria is that no matter the challenges faced in the country under civilian rule the military is not  expected to seize power. They are expected to remain within their  constitutional roles of protecting the state, while politicians work out the solutions to whatever problems the country faces.



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