Interrogating Military Subordination To Civil Rule In Nigeria, 1960-2015

Onwe Ogah Chinedu


The Military in Nigeria as in other African countries has antecedents of truncating democracy. Consequently, the military has become one of the critical institutions germane to the survival of Nigeria’s nascent democracy. Therefore, traditional concerns of preventing military incursions in politics through subordination to civil rule in Nigeria remain important. Irrespective of elaborate constitutional provisions and good institutional structure for control of the military, total subordination of military to civil rule in Nigeria has remained mildly indecent issue. This is so because the characters of the Nigerian State as a predator state recruiting other predators for selfish interest has made civil rule vulnerable to military interference in Nigeria’s politics. It is not as if the political class did not understand the military neither do they have misconception of civil control of military. The problem is that Nigerian State as an institution does not exist in a vacuum; rather, it is made up of various groups whose political and economic interests are always in constant conflicts. Thus, allowing the military interference in Nigeria’s politics that led to the protracted stay of military in power. Despite this, since May 1999, the military has gradually subordinated itself to civil authorities in Nigeria. This paper through diverse secondary sources and historical analysis interrogates the process that made this possible. 

Full Text:



B.Gbulie, Nigeria’s Five Major Coup d’état of 15th Jauary 1966: First inside Account. Onitsha: African Educational Publisher 1981. p 242.

O.E. Taugban and C.C.C. Osakwe (ed), Perspectives in African Historical Studies: Essays in Houour of Professor Chinedu Nwafor Ubah.. Kaduna: Nigerian Defense Academy Press. 20013,p. 247.

Ibid p. 248.

, Lt. Col. D. Dieke. “The Challenges of Military Subordination to Civil Authority in Nigeria”. A research paper presented at Nigeria Army Education Corps Education Management Course 5/13, Nigeria Army School of Education, Sobi Cantonment, Ilorin June 2013, p.I.

P. Ekeh “Pitfalls in Renewed Transition to Civil Rule in Nigeria: Democracy and Development”. Journal of the Centre for Democracy and Development, Vol.I. No. I, 1998, P.12.

M.H. Kukah, |Witness to justice: An insiders Account of Nigeria Truth Commission”, Book Craft, 2011, p. 202.

Ibid. .


S.C. Ukpabi, “The Evolution of the Nigerian Army Under Colonial Rule” In Major Gen.J.W.T. Gbor, Military History in Nigeria from Precolonial Era to the Present. Ikeja. Longmau, 2004, p.133

Ibid, p.114



Ibid, p. 116


Ibid, p. 117


British House of Commons; 4th services, Vol III, 24Feb. 1898, Cols 1617

S.C. Ukpabi, “The Evolution of the Nigerian…”

Ibid, p. 118


Ibid, p. 119

S.C. Ukpabi, “ The Origins of the West African Frontier Force” in Journal of Historical Society of Nigeria, Vol , III No. 3 Dec 1966, p. 491


S.C. Ukpah, “The Evolution… p. 120

Ibid, p. 128

Ibid p 131

Ibid p. 132


Lt. Col. D. Drake “The Challenges of Military.. p.8

S. Baynham,” Civil Military Relations in Post-Independence Africa’’ South Africa Defense Review Issue Number 3, 19992, p. 70

R. Adesina, Military and Politics Compressive Strategies for ending Military Rule in Africa. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books. 1999, p.45.



M. Umar, “The Role of the Military in the Consolidation of Democracy in Nigeria” In S. Mohammed (ed), Role of Military in Consolidating Democracy in Nigeria. Friedrich Ebert Stiffing publications. 2006, p.152

C. Welch “The Military Democracy and Governance in Nigeria” in Democratization and Military in Nigeria. Lagos: Frank and Pub; 2004, p132

l. Saka “ The Faltering Prospect of Crafting Stable Civil-Military Relations in Africa’s Emerging Democracies” International Journal of Politics and Good Governance, Vol. 2, No 2.3 Quarter II, 2011, p.17.

S.P. Huntington, The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1957 p. 86.

R. Williams “Conclusion Mapping a new African Civil-Military Relations Architecture “in R. Williams et al (ed), Ourselves to Know: Civil- Military Relations and Defence Transformation in Southern Africa. Pretoria Institute for Security Studies. 2002, p. 198

S. Raynham, Civil-military Relations:

A. Cotter; T. Edmunds and A Forester, “The Second Generation Problematic: Rethinking Democracy and Civil-Military Relations” Armed Forces and Society Vol.29, No. I, p.31.

R. Williams, “Conclusion… “ p. 226

C. Welch, “The Military…” p.134

J. Sheomaker, “Introduction to the Nigeria Legislative and Defense Coordination in a Democracy” Lecture delivered at the Ministry of Defense, Abuja, 28 October, 2003, p. 15

D. Pion-Berlin (ed), Civil- Military Relations in Latin America, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2002, p..I.

O. Obasanjo, “Inaugural Speech to Participants of National War College Course 7,” Delivered in September 1999.


D. Trask, Democracy and Defense. Tennessee Crass publishing 1998, p.17

S. Adegumbi, “Guarding the guardian? The Obasaujo Regime and military Reform in Nigeria” Development Policy Management Bulleting Vol XIII, No 3, 2001, p.17

Ibid, p.118

E. J. Adach, “Nigeria Military and the Challenges of Democracy Consolidation” The Nigeria Army Quarterly Journal Vol. 3, No.1, Lagos Institute of Army Education. 2007, p.36

Federal Government of Nigeria Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 199. Federal Government Press, 1999.

Lt. Col. D. Dieke, “The challenges “p. 19

D. M. Jembewon, The Military Law and Society: Reflections of a General. Ibadan: Spectrum Books Limited, 1998, P. U

O. Obasanjo, “Inaugural Speech to participants of National War College……”


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.