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New Nigeria, Military And Democracy At 15

DEMOCRACYBefore May 29, 1999, Nigerians have witnessed different kinds of governance ranging from parliamentary, military, Interim National Government (ING), Diarchy to Democracy. Since Nigeria gained her political autonomy in 1st October, 1960, the military had occupied the political space of the nation close to 29 years. From January 1966 the Nigerian military periodically abort democratic processes in the country. They advanced several excuses of doing that such as corruption, violence, ethnicity, god fatherism, electoral malpractices amongst several others.

Military by their professional training are not supposed to involve in politics, but to protect the nation from external attack(s) and aggression(s).

During the military era, Nigerian experienced the institutionalization of corrupt practices, despite the disciplinary nature of the soldiers. Among the lot, two military administrations in Nigeria were justifiable. That of the 1966 military coup, when the soldiers struck to save the country from total disintegration.

Another military coup was the one that took place in December 1983 when Buhari/Idiagbon overthrown Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s administration to save Nigeria from massive corruption.

Apart from its perceived messiah’s roles, the military have caused so much havoc in the country.

Most of the crisis facing Nigerians today have caused by the military in government.

However, a new Nigerian came into existence in May 29, 1999 when the military finally went back to the barrack. Since then Nigerians are enjoying the dividends of democracy such as freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom of movement, rights to life and privacy and several more.

In the military era these fundamental human rights are restricted. Without mincing words, the worst democratic government is better than the best military administration in any part of the world. Military lack decorum while relating with the civilian class.

As the country celebrates this year’s democracy day, it is my plea that Nigerians should stand to defend the nation’s democracy and not to do anything that will truncate our common goal and destiny as an independent and sovereign nation. ###


Damiete West



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