The first military coup in Nigeria took place on 15th January 1966 led by major Chukwunma Kaduna Nzeogwu, but the then most senior military officer, Major General J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi later took over position of the Head of state.
MILITARY RULE: 1966 – 1975
FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MILITARY COUP OF 15 JANUARY 1966
- Regionalization of political parties. The polities in Nigeria before independence and during the first Republic were ethnically and regionally based.
- Intra-party rivalry: The most significant intra-party conflict was that of the western region of 1962 and 1963 in the action Group.
- Census crisis of 1962/63: there were gross discrepancies in the census figures of May 1962 and that of November 1963. The 1963 census figures was still disputed this gave the Northern Region dominance over the whole south.
- 1964 federal elections: The 1964 election was attended with much shoddiness, alleged corruption and other malpractices.
- Influence of other coups: other coups in Africa with the latest being that of Togo on 13 January 1966 encourage the military to do a similar thing in Nigeria.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE 1966 – 1975 MILITARY REGIMES
- Major General Ironsi made some impact during his short rule. He restored normalcy, especially in the west, after the coup. He sought to build a stronger, united nation by instituting unitary system.
- Gowon created twelve states which allowed better development in the areas.
- He succeeded in ending the civil war in three years, embarked on reconciling with the Igbo and much reconstruction in the war ravaged East.
- The National Youth service Corps (NYSC) scheme was established and this encouraged mobility of Labour and unity among Nigerians.
- Gowon did not put in place any political project like the formation, registration of political parties. This led to the 29th July 1975 coup.
ACHIEVEMNET OF THE MURTALA/OBASANJO REGIME
- National purge: The administration from its inception stated clearly its mission of ridding the public service of corruption and redundancy.
- Creation of states: The regime created additional even states, bringing the total number of states to nineteen.
- Local government reform: The administration restructured the local government system and standardized it throughout Nigeria.
- Dynamic foreign policy: The nation spear headed support for the newly independent Angolan government and Liberation movement in Namiba, Mozambique and South Africa.
- Return to civil rule: A federal electoral commission was established which registered five parties that contested the 1979 elections, ushering in Alhaji Shehu shagari as the first civilian executive president of Nigeria on 1st October 1979
FAILURES OF THE MURTALA/ OBASANJO
- The public service probes and purge meant to instil discipline and a sense of probity were carried out discriminatorily in many cases.
- General Obasanjo’s operation feed the Nation failed to stop the inadequacy of local food production.
- Mass poverty continued as there was no programme of redistribution of wealth.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE BUHARI/ IDIAGBON REGIME
- The new regime took major steps towards revamping the economy and recovery of embezzled funds.
- It launched War against Indiscipline which encouraged order lines, moral probity, cleanliness and a general sense of direction and patriotism.
- The regime reorganized the country foreign missions with a view to cutting costs as much as possible.
- The Buhari administration allocated greater funds for the development of agriculture.
FAILURE OF THE BUHARI REGIME
- The Buhari regime was considered by many as being repressive.
- The regime’s programme of ridding the public service of corrupt officially led to in discriminated mass retrenchment and unemployment.
- The regime had no well defined foreign policy and so could not maintain the dynamism of the Murtaala/Obasanjo foreign policy.
- The regime took many steps on very important issues without due consultations with senior military officers, opinion leader, experts and other well- meaning Nigeria. It was an isolated regime.
- Account for the factors that led to the 1983 military coup in Nigeria
Account for the achievement of Buhari/Idiagbon