Faculty Publications


From Politics Back to the Barracks in Nigeria: A Theoretical Exploration

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Journal of Peace Research





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The article probes the issue of the military's disengagement from Nigerian politics, and the prospects for a third democratic experience as of June 1993. The central thesis is that the military engagement-disengagement nexus is deeply rooted in the crisis of social justice in Nigeria. The military has intervened and disengaged from Nigerian politics in the past because of the inability of Nigeria's peripheral capitalist system to meet the needs and aspirations of the Nigerian masses. The problems which are embedded in the peripheral capitalist system have prompted the military to intervene in the political arena, but its inability to solve these problems has then forced it to withdraw. Specifically, in the context of the current disengagement process, we argue that the process is doomed to fail: the military will re-intervene in Nigeria's politics after a civilian government is elected in 1993. This is explained by the fact that during the current period of disengagement the fundamental issues of socio-economic justice have not been addressed. The problem of political instability in Nigeria remains unsolved. We conclude that to achieve political stability in Nigeria it will be necessary to solve certain problems which are rooted in Nigeria's peripheral capitalist system - poverty, malnourishment, and disparities in income and wealth among others. In short, even if the new civilian government in 1993 is run by people of integrity, the problem of political instability will not be solved until the question of social justice is addressed and resolved. © 1993, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.

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