Why Nigeria has not experienced military coup since 1999 – Obasanjo

FROM LEFT: A retired Maj.-Gen. in the British Army, Dickie Davis; Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs Idiat Adebile; Formal President Olusegun Obasanjo; and Director of Brenthurst Foundation, MR Greg Mills, at the launch of a book titled: “Making Africa Work”, in Lagos on Wednesday (2/8/17).
03984/2/8/2017/Dapo Kayode/BJO/NAN
FROM LEFT: A retired Maj.-Gen. in the British Army, Dickie Davis; Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs Idiat Adebile; Formal President Olusegun Obasanjo; and Director of Brenthurst Foundation, MR Greg Mills, at the launch of a book titled: “Making Africa Work”, in Lagos on Wednesday (2/8/17). 03984/2/8/2017/Dapo Kayode/BJO/NAN

A former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has explained why Nigeria has not experienced military intervention in its democratic journey since 1999.

Mr. Obasanjo gave the insight in a book titled “Making Africa Work”, launched recently in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The book was co-authored by the former president and three others – Greg Mills, Director of Brenthurst Foundation; Jeffrey Herbst, President of NEWSEUM and Dickie Davis, a retired major general.

Mr. Obasanjo, who first ruled Nigeria as a military head of state between 1976 and 1979, later governed the nation as a democratically elected leader between 1999 and 2007.

While giving insights into how nations of the world can put an end to military interventions, the former president explained that no matter the excuse, military interventions had major negative impact on democracy, governance and unity of Nigeria.

He, however, argued that the often prescribed solution of specifically putting a ban on coups in the constitution was not the answer.

“A coup is a treason punishable by death only if it fails, and yet it puts the plotter in the State House if it succeeds. It was a destructive and destabilising practice, wasteful for the military itself, and undermining in terms of discipline, good order and military conduct,” Mr. Obasanjo wrote.

“A junior officer takes a gun and looks at his political boss and senior officers through its sights, bumps them off and puts himself in the State House.

“He instantly becomes superior and senior to all political and military officers. Such was the situation existing in Nigeria between 1966 and 1999.”

Giving specific insight into how he handled the challenge when he was in office, Mr. Obasanjo revealed how he cleverly placed senior military officers on compulsory retirement.

“On assuming office as president, I decided to put an end to these incessant coups. I asked the military to submit the list of all officers who had either participated in coups in the past or benefited in the dividends of coups by being appointed to political office as governors or ministers,” the former president wrote.

“Not knowing what the list was meant for, the military faithfully compiled it and submitted to me as the commander-in-chief and chairman of council of each of the arms of service. Ninety-three officers in all were given six hours’ notice of retirement on a Friday, and ordered not to spend the Friday night in uniform or in barracks to prevent adverse reaction.

“The following Monday, the service council met to ratify the retirement of all the officers. From my vantage position and background as a battle-tested and war-victorious general, I knew that an officer out of uniform and barracks is like a fish out of water, and their power and influence would be greatly diminished.

“The retirement of these 93 officers all in one day was salutary. It meant that taking part in a coup ot benefitting from one could catch up with you, no matter how long it would takes, and for as long as you are alive,” he explained.

Mr. Obasanjo, however, noted that the officers’ retirement did not stand in the way of any of them entering public life or making progress in it.

“Some of them later entered politics and became elected governors; some went into parliament; others got appointed as ministers and ambassadors,” he wrote.

“The idea was not to punish them for life but to exclude them from positions in the military where they could be coup planners, coup plotters, coup executors or coup beneficiaries.

“And once an officer has tasted the trappings of a political life, of living in a government house, with free food and so on, he would easily look for excuses to want more if he is in a position to make it happen.”

Explaining why the nation hasn’t experienced such incidence of coup d’etat, the former president said the measure was quite effective even if it wasn’t perfect.

“The fact that since 1999, there has not been a coup or an attempted coup in Nigeria speaks to the effectiveness of the measures taken to put an end to the destabilizing influence of coups on the political life and dispensation of Nigeria.

“Before 1999, and since independence, the longest that a democratic dispensation had lasted was six years –from 1960 to 1966.

“It has neither been easy nor perfect, but there are improvements and evidence of learning among the political class. Any bad signs and misconduct would have to be carefully monitored,” he argued.

He also urged countries with similar experiences to find an effective and relatively painless way of curbing the incidence of coups and corruption by the military.

Until 1999, Nigeria had experienced several military interventions in its politics, beginning from 1966.

Recently, there were reports of rumoured coup plots in the Nigerian army but the military authorities said such alleged plots had been nipped in the bud.


DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD:DIABETES Is CURABLE! Don't Let It Threaten You! To NORMALIZE Your Blood Sugar In 21Days For Life, Click Here!!!.


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • Agba

    When the north felt the power is about to slip away from them,they will play another card,like the HATE SONGS that is going on in Nigeria now against the SOUTHERNERS for oct 1/2017,is a way of inviting the millitary,when killing start,and equal reaction from other side.But this 2017 the millitary will find it difficult,tension in all region,if SOMALIA can have 15 WARLORDS?How many WARLORDS will emerge from Nigeria.?

  • Intrepid

    Go Sidon with your yeye book. Nigeria has gotten enough of your masquerading.

    • Okakuoofbenin

      Gbam

  • lummy11

    That was the master stroke that ebbed coups in Nigeria… I remember alot of ‘pulling out’ services was conducted all over the country at that period

  • konzemac

    Obj hmmmm

  • Decimator

    The greatest beneficiary of the Tyranical Status quo himself, presenting himself as usual as the solution to the problem he played a vital role to nuture.

    It is high time Obasanjo learns to permanently keep mute in offering solutions to the problems he helped to create.

    It is over with Obasanjos One Niga-Area Tyranny !!!!!!!!!!!

    Period

    • Okakuoofbenin

      Thank you bros

  • Ghana never did same, but have enjoyed democratic stability more than Nigeria. I think it’s just a will by the military to see democracy been entrenched as a culture in the country.

    • PolyGon2013

      Ghana is not Nigeria. Nigeria is more complicated. Kudos to OBJ. We all knew that he retired those generals to nip any coup plotting in the bud!

  • Capt Sankara

    Nigerian english – “nip in the bud.” – cool but used too frequently in all Nigerian writeups and speeches. lol !

    • Malik

      What…?
      The phrase ‘nip in the bud’ is an idiomatic expression that’s firmly rooted in English lexicon.
      So what exactly do you mean by ‘Nigerian English’?

    • Saydo Shan

      it is interesting to know that you upvoted your comment.

    • Julius

      Well, here you are using it .Interesting, ain’t it ? By the way, it’s not a Nigerian English.

      • emmanuel

        Your post is not personalised, please learn the rules for public writting.

        • Julius

          Hun ? lolz, do you ever make sense in your life ?

  • thusspokez

    Mr. Obasanjo, who first ruled Nigeria as a military head of state between 1976 and 1979, later governed the nation as a democratically elected leader between 1999 and 2007.

    Thanks for educating your Nigerian audience on the difference between “rule” and “govern”.

  • thusspokez

    Not knowing what the list was meant for, the military faithfully compiled it…

    Gosh this man must think that the military officers are all dumb. You are collecting names of coup plotters and claiming that it didn’t raise any
    suspicion? Maybe OBJ is the one who is thick!

  • thusspokez

    From my vantage position and background as a battle-tested and war-victorious general

    Why don’t you just say: “As an ego-maniac…”.

  • thusspokez

    “The retirement of these 93 officers all in one day was salutary

    To train a soldier to senior officer level would cost in excess of $300,000. Just because the cowardly OBJ was afraid of them, he sacked them at great loss to Nigeria in terms of the cost of investment in them and their skills and experience, not to mention how much useful their experience would have helped to mentor their juniors.

    You get rid of well-trained and experienced soldiers and then replaced them with junior officers who were not ready for their new ranks — it is like promoting secondary school teachers to university lecturers. Is it any wonder that the Nigerian army today is full of mediocrity.

    • marcos avelino

      The harm they cause by coups and taking over power thus retarding the growth of democratic governance is a hundred times over the cost of their training.

      • thusspokez

        That should include OBJ himself

  • thusspokez

    In summary

    So far in this book, this we now know:
    [1] FACT: Because of OBJ’s cowardice and lack of leadership, sharia was introduced in the north — creating two systems in the country and resulting in division and disunity that Nigeria now faces

    [2]FACT: Because of OBJ’s cowardice and fear of the army, he replaced good and experience army officers with mediocrity — which has ended in weakening the Nigerian army to this day.

    • AFRICANER

      Smart analysis.

  • Tafidan Dogon Daji

    I disagree with Baba-Iyabo that the measures he said to had taken as the nation’s civilian president closed all plans,executions and/or military incursions in Nigeria.Rumours have recently made the rounds that the military was planning to send PMB packing.Abi na lie?

    • Julius

      Has it happened yet ?

  • callistus u owuamanam

    Not the the magic of Obasanjo saved us from military coups, the fact is that military coups can no longer be accepted in the world. The coup plotters will not be recognised, no matter their reasons, they will latter be arrested and prosecuted, example is burkina faso. The militry know very well that they will never be accepted, period.

  • emmanuel

    The enemy of Nigeria Obasanjo; you have overstayed your time. You are distracting us.
    Those Oyinoo know say you be thief, so them add you to wetin them write so they can use it to collect part of your loot.

  • AFRICANER

    Obasanjo is a bald-faced liar.

    There were a handful of culprits responsible for all the coups in Nigeria, and chief among them was Obasanjo himself.

    When they crossed over to the political side after 1999, when he, Obasanjo tasted politics, and the climate for coup plotters in the world was a bit hostile, naturally, coup subsided. The cabal of generals, and major Generals, Obasanjo, Buhari, Danjumah, Babangida, and so forth, took their coups to the civilian government, rather than military. Till date, they still pick who will be president among them, unless death occurs and an accidental president emerges, such as Jonathan. Then, they go to work on such a person, until he is out.

    Their plan is to take turns until each one of them is president. They are not all lucky yet. But they will keep trying. Nigerians are not smart nor brave, so they may yet succeed until the last one of them has ruled. They may not be in General’s regalia, they may clothe themselves in buba, agbada, jompa, or other civilian attire, but make no mistake about it, it’s still military dictatorship we’re under here.

    • Williams Johnson Fortune

      Gibberish

      • AFRICANER

        Let me use analogy to bring it down, so you understand it; Obasanjo is like the arsonist or a kidnapper in a city in those coup days; there may be multiple arsons or kidnapping until the one mastermind or culprit is apprehended, then fire will subsist or stop, or kidnapping will vanish in that city. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED, once Obasanjo became a politician, coups stopped.

        Now he is copying American presidents like Clinton, by building a presidential library, and building a “legacy”; the difference is that the US president’ libraries will contain 95% facts, and 5% hubris, whereas Obasanjo’s will be the other way around.

  • Mubarak Mohammed

    Thank you OBJ though I don’t like your messianic complex but you did good by retired all political soldiers who are very lazy, drinking pepper soup all the time. Those who hate you will never appreciate that singular gesture. Military adventure in politics contributed indiscipline in Army till today and thank God. Professionalism I’d say gradually coming back.

  • Dr

    Baba U don’t have to give excuses for the blunder U made 18 yrs.ago. U have been forgiven