Military rule has been one of the greatest factors responsible for the set back of the African continent. Infact General Sanni Abacha’s regime has been described by many scholar’s, as the most unconcerned government when it comes to the issue of economy. Therefore, this project assesses the effect of military rule on the Nigeria economy choosing the General Sanni Abacha’s regime as a case study. Chapter one serves as the general introduction to the study. Chapter two reviews the past relevant literatures on the issue of military rule of General Sanni Abacha’s regime in particular. In chapter three, General Sanni Abacha’s intervention in Nigeria politics and its aftermath on the economy and discussed. Chapter four guest the in-depth comparative analysis of the regimes policies with its achievements. Chapter five serves as the conclusion of the study where recommendations are govern. The research work, having observed the shortcomings of military rule concludes that all stakeholders in Nigeria politics should do everything possible to prevent military from coming to power in Nigeria. 


Title Page i

Certification ii

Dedication iii

Acknowledgement iv

Abstract v

Table of Content vi


1.1 Background of the Study 1

1.2 Statement of the Problem 3

1.3 Purpose of the Study 4

1.4 Significance of the Study 5

1.5 Research Questions 6

1.6 Scope and Limitation 7

1.7 Definition of Key Terms 7


2.1 Introduction 9

2.2 Survey of Military Rule In Nigeria 9

2.3 Features of Military Rule 14

2.4 Remote and Immediate Causes of Military Rule 

of Nigeria 17



3.1 Introduction 20

3.2 The Military Rule Under General Yakubu Gowon

(1966 – 1975) 21

3.3 The Military Rule Under Muritala

Muhammed/Olusegun Obasanjo (1975 – 1979) 23

3.4 The Military Rule Under Muhammed Buhari 

and General Idiagbon (1983 – 1985) 25

3.5 The Military Rule Under Ibrahim Babangida 

Regime (1989) 26

3.6 The Military Rule Under Abacha’s Regime 

(1993 – 1998) 30

3.7 The Military Rule Under Abubakar Abdulsalam 

Regime (1998 – 1999) 32


4.1 Economic Situaton Under Abacha 34

4.2 Political Situation under Abacha 35

4.3 International Relations Under Abacha 36

4.4 Consequences of Abachas Regime 37


5.1 Summary 43

5.2 Conclusion 45

5.3 Recommendations 45

References 48




The most populous country on the African continent, the Nigerian experience with democracy has been paradoxical and ambiguous (Diamond, 1995). Although the military controlled the government for twenty-four of the first thirty-four years of independence, Nigeria has never accepted indefinite authoritarian rule, and no military rule that has not committed itself to a transition to democracy has been able to survive. Through ten national government, ix successful military coups, a civil war, and a dizzying economic boom followed by a crushing depression – not to mention repeated assaults by military regimes on human rights and associational life Nigerians have maintained a passionate commitment to personal freedom and political participation. 

The various military regimes, in Nigeria have embarked on lasting reforms that have transformed Nigeria polity, hence, their impacts are seen in political and economic spheres (Aliu, 2000). The impacts of military rule in Nigeria is seen in political and economic lives. These have both positive and negative effects, politically the military has contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria through state and local government creation exercise, constitutional engineering and enunciation of transitional programmes. The military regimes that came to power had in their various ways contributed to the realization of the unity in Nigeria, on the other hand, military regimes had contributed to democratic instability and human right abuse in the country. 

On the economic scene, the contributions of military rule is also felt, whether positive or negative. The military economic contributions and policies formulation and implementation for instance, the Nigeria Enterprises promotion Decree of 1972/1977 or the indigenization policy was formulated by the military rule. Additionally, the introduction of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) by Babangida regime was aimed at revamping nation’s economy. Some other economy policies of successive military regimes in Nigeria are the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructures (DFRRI). Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) and so on. 


Military intervention in the polity of Nigeria is an aberration – a deviation from the normal practice. However, in appraising the impact of the military on Nigerian political economy, therefore, evidences abound to show that the Armed Forces have touched the political and economic life of the nation and its citizens some of the policies of the successive, military regime have heaved had both developmental and modernizing effects while others are outright negative. 

From the above premise therefore, the problem which this study intends to solve are as follows to what extent has military regimes contributed to the political economy of the Nigeria – State? Are the political and economic achievements of the military regimes being consolidated by the civilian administration. How can the political economy lives of Nigeria be improved? These and other questions will form the basis of this study. 


Specifically, this study will examine the effects of military rule on Nigerian political economy. Other objectives include: 

(a) To identify the reasons for military intervention in Nigeria politics. 

(b) To discuss the impacts of Abacha’s regime on the political and economic spheres on Nigeria. 

(c) To proffer suggestions on how the Nigerian political economic climates can be stabilized. 


There are dearth of materials on the effects of military rule on the political economy of Nigeria. This study is therefore one of the intellectual contributions to this topic. The study will enable the citizens to compare the political and economic impacts of military rules with that of the civilian administration in Nigeria. Beside, it will assist government in the political economy reforms having learned from the experiences of the successive military regimes in Nigeria. 

In addition, this study will be beneficial to students lecturers and researchers who currently conduct research on military and political economic in Nigeria. It will also be a source of reference for future research on similar topic. 


This study is aimed at answering the following questions.

(a) Is military is the best system of government? 

(b) Does military rule allow the citizens to contribute to the development of the nation? 

(c) Does military rule guarantee human right? 

(d) Does military rule violence pose a threat to democratic government? 

(e) Does ethnicity constitute the effect of military rule on Nigerian political economy?


This study covers the effects of Abacha regime on Nigeria political economy from 1993 to 1998. It will also be restricted to aspects of military administration, such as the features, historical background, and organisation. 

The underlisted constraints are the obstacles of this study. 

(i) Inadequate materials on the military and Nigerian political economy.

(ii) Financial and time constraints limited the study to Abacha administration. 

Inspite of the above problems, optimum use of the available resources were ensured. 


These definitions have been adopted as operational meanings for the following terms in the study. 

MILITARY: - This refers to a political and highly skilled body of persons specially trained to protect the territorial integrity of a nation. 

This includes the arm, Navy and the Air force.

MILITARY RULE: This is a system of government by the military or the khaki boys: Army, Navy and Air force. 

POLITICAL ECONOMY: Political economy refers to the interrelationship between political and economic system. It explains how the political and economic set up of a nation is being organized. Presently, the Nigerian political economy can be best described as liberal democracy. 




Literature review is an integral aspect of any academic research. No work can be completed without reviewing both past and present works. Thus, this chapter attempts a review of relevant works of scholars on the effects of military rule on Nigerian political economy. To this end, the chapter is subdivided into the following survey of military rule in Nigeria, feature of military rule and remote and immediate causes of military rule in Nigeria.


It is pertinent to know the definition of military before we can fully appreciate the concept of military rule. Achike (1973) defined military as a political and highly skilled body of persons specially trained to protect both internal an external aggression. The military is a significant segment of any class society. As Volkogenor (1987) pointed out, “the social influence of military leaders is often so strong that it decides the destinies of revolutions affects state development programmes and home and foreign policies”. In Nigeria, the significance of the military does not denial from the execution of its constitutional duties particularly that of defending Nigeria’s territorial integrity but its in constitutional seizure of power through coup de’tat and its consequent domination of socio political life (Idiaka, 1994). 

Military is a body of professional men and women who are trained in the use of arms and armament for the protection and security of a particular state and mankind in general. While the protection and security of a state within its territorial boundaries is a vital element of sovereignty and easily appreciated, the dialogue agreed that ensuring the protection and security of mankind has to do with instances in which the military has served or serves in international peace keeping and in assisting the state to restore law and order or those in frequent occasion when the intensity of civil strife is beyond the capacity of the police control (Janowit, 1964). The military consists the Army, Navy and the Air force. 

At this juncture, it is pertinent to discuss the concept of military rule is not synonymous with the participation of military personnel in governance. 

These can be military note without the direct, physical involvement of the military in government conversely, military personnel may be involved directly in the process of government without necessarily transforming the government into a military regime (Asobie 1999). 

There is military mile in any country where the armed forces are known to exercise overriding political control in the state. A variant of this, which is rather common, is where the military directly controls the institutions of government and participate in the process of day to day governance. In this case, military is part and parcel of the governing elite. This is the direct military rule pattern. 

What is sketched above is the popular nation of military rule. Similarly, in popular opinion a military regime exists where a group of military personnel (usually officers) takes over the functions of government in the name of the armed forces and then rules coercively, through the support of the armed forces. Without a popular mandate (Asodie, 1999). 

The essence of a military regime, however, is that whatever the composition of government, whether military dominated or with civilian numerical superiority the military leadership of the day is, in practice, the supreme or at least, the pre-eminent source of political decision making. Defined in this way, military regimes may then be classified into two main types. Direct military rule and indirect military rule (Finer 1970). 

Under direct military rule, the serving military officer of the day assume direct responsibility in government holding political offices; including the post of the political chief executive. An all-civilian cabinet many exist, but it operates under, and at the suffcrance of the military, positioned at a higher political national pedestal (Finer, 1970). 

In an indirect military regime, an all-civilian government exercises political authority on the surface. But this is only a façade for behind the scenes, it is the military that call the shots. The backstage influence of the military ranges over the entire field of political activity (Finer, 1970). 

The direct – indirect and the direct quasi in the direct – direct, the military is totally in change it involves no pretence of seeking popular legitimacy by appointing civilian into government. An example is the all military council in Libya in 1969, following the September Coup detat. In the direct – quasi – civilianization type, the military leaders go through some fake or foreign form of legitimization. His is done by conducing popular plebiscites, or they constitute and inaugurates some captive (sometimes elected) Assembly made up the civilians. An example was Babangida’s regime in Nigeria from 1992 to 1993 (Aobie, 1999)  



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