The Military And The Challenge Of Democratic Consolidation In Nigeria: Positive Skepticism And Negative Optimism

Emmanuel O. Ojo


Nigeria like several other countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America depicted the picture of a ‘praetorian state’ or what Leo Dare called the ‘praetorian trap’. The reason for this nomenclature is not far fetched. The polity alternated between civilian and military administrations since her ‘flag independence’ in October 1960. The only respite so far is the uninterrupted civilian administration since May 29 1999, when the nascent democracy was inaugurated. Even at that, the risk of military intervention has not completely evaporated from the political firmament. The thrust of this paper, however, is an in-depth analysis of the role(s) of the military in democratic political transitions in post-colonial Nigeria. This study becomes imperative in the context of the military superimposed democratic transitions in Nigeria. In a nutshell the paper recognizes the fact that much as the military as an institution had been promoting democracy, they have also been truncating same – a kind of contradictory compatibility – thus making Nigeria laboratory for testing military role(s) in democratic transitions.

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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.