A New Form of Authoritarianism? Rethinking Military Politics in Post-1999 Nigeria
Adeakin, I. E. (2015). A New Form of Authoritarianism? Rethinking Military Politics in Post-1999 Nigeria (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9284
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9284
Despite the vast research that has been done on the Nigerian military, virtually all of these studies have failed to critically examine the accepted role of the military in the democratising phase. This is important because the relationship between the political elite and the military in post-military authoritarian states guarantees either democratic consolidation, or its reversal. In Nigeria, despite an appearance of significant progress in subordinating the military institution to democratic civilian authority, the military remains a crucial political actor in the polity. It appears that the military has yet to accept the core democratic principles of civilian oversight of the institution. This thesis, therefore, explores whether a new form of military authoritarianism is emerging in Nigeria, with the aim of understanding Nigeria’s military behaviour in a transitional phase, from prolonged military authoritarianism to democratisation. To examine this military behaviour, Alfred Stepan’s concept of military prerogatives that was used to understand the military’s behaviour in a transitional phase in Latin America is applied to Nigeria. A crucial understanding of authoritarianism in Nigeria is initially discussed in this study using mainly document analysis strategy to examine whether multi-ethnic states, such as Nigeria, tend to have authoritarian systems. Six hypotheses form the core analysis of this thesis: first, that the military has retained significant military prerogatives; second, that retired military officers are gaining influential political and economic positions; third, autonomous military involvement in human rights abuses since 1999; and fourth, that civilian government oversight remains weak, and facilitates military authoritarianism. These hypotheses are primarily analysed using the elite interview technique. During the first half of 2011, the author conducted field research where serving and retired military officers were interviewed. The fifth hypothesis is that the military has intervened in politics post-1999. The examination of this hypothesis relies primarily on key security-related media reports (mostly newspaper editorials) on the military after 1999. The examination of the final hypothesis, that increases in military expenditures might facilitate a new form of military authoritarianism, relies primarily on descriptive statistical analysis. In addition, this study collated relevant historical materials that relate to the military, utilising national archival collections. The empirical findings of this research did not identify a new form of military authoritarianism in Nigeria. The study, however, argues that the unrestricted institutional framework accorded the military has contributed significantly to authoritarian practices in the post-military era in Nigeria. This study discovered that there were similarities between the Brazilian and Nigerian militaries in regard to their military spending during their period in power. Both countries had lower defence budgets. Just as in Brazil, it appears that part of the reason the Nigerian military decided to relinquish power in 1999 had to do with its desire to gain a higher budget, something that was precluded in a military government struggling to retain a sense of legitimacy. The military needed a higher budget to modernise and re-professionalise its institution after more than a decade in power. This feature, which the Nigerian military shares with the Brazilian military, appears to justify the application to Nigeria of Alfred Stepan’s concept of military prerogatives.
University of Waikato
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