Changing Rulers in Nigeria

In July 1975, Gowon was overthrown in a bloodless coup; his successor as head of state, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed (* 1937), was murdered in February 1976 in a failed coup attempt. General O. Obasanjo took over the military government and began the process of Nigeria’s return to elected state organs in 1977. In 1978 the government promulgated a new constitution and allowed new parties. The National Party of Nigeria (NPN) led by Shehu Shagari (* 1924, † 2018) won a relative majority in the elections at federal and state level in 1979; Shagari became president of the »2. Republic “elected (confirmed in office in 1983).

According to usprivateschoolsfinder, corruption allegations against the political leaders of Nigeria sparked a military coup at the end of December 1983; the constitution was suspended, the political parties were banned. The new head of state, General M. Buhari, was replaced in 1985 by General I. B. Babangida, who initiated a democratization program (1989 new constitution, readmission of parties, 1991 parliamentary elections for the “3rd Republic”). Against the background of the continuing cultural and ethnic tensions, there was a (failed) coup attempt in April 1990.

With the cancellation of the presidential election of June 1993, in which Moshood Abiola (* 1937, † 1998) received the most votes from the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the democratization process started in 1991 was stopped. Unrest in the population led to a renewed takeover of power by the military in November 1993 after a civil transitional government under Ernest Shonekan (* 1936). General S. Abacha became president , who ruled dictatorially at the head of a military government. All democratic institutions were abolished, announced new elections were canceled and military administrators were appointed for the states. Efforts by the democracy movement (especially on the part of the trade unions) to end military rule by means of strikes, to release all political prisoners and to recognize Abiola as head of state, the government responded with severe repression. In October 1995, however, it announced a three-year program designed to create the conditions for a return to civil rule (including free elections, adoption of a new constitution).

On November 10, 1995, the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other members of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), who fought for reparation for the environmental damage caused by oil production in the Ogoni region and against human rights violations, were defeated executed at international protests. As a result, Nigeria fell into international isolation as the legality of the verdict (guilty of the murder of four Ogoni leaders) was questioned. The Commonwealth of Nations temporarily excluded the country from its community, the EU suspended inter alia. the economic aid and imposed an arms embargo.

From May 1996, there were repeated tensions between Nigeria and Cameroon in the common border area around the Bakassi Peninsula. The International Court of Justice awarded the Cameroon Territory in 2002; In 2006, an agreement between the two countries regulated Nigeria’s withdrawal. In 2008 Nigeria finally ceded the area to Cameroon.

Numerous states and international organizations (including the United Nations) repeatedly called on the military rulers in Nigeria to respect human rights, to take effective steps towards democratization and to release all political prisoners. After Abacha’s death in June 1998, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (* 1942) became President, who initiated the transfer of power to elected institutions.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the parliamentary elections in February 1999, and the former military ruler Obasanjo (beginning of the “4th Republic”) became the new president of the heavily manipulated presidential elections, which were held a little later. Violent clashes between Muslims and Christians have occurred since 1999, especially in the northern, Muslim states, in the state of Kaduna and in the south-east of the country; The cause of the unrest was, among other things, the introduction of Sharia law in numerous states, which means an open break with the constitution. Faced with this tense situation, the reform program came from President Obasanjo only slow progress. In the elections in April 2003, which were controversial due to targeted political murders in advance and major irregularities on the election days (mostly in favor of the ruling party), the ruling PDP was able to secure its absolute majority, at the same time President Obasanjowas confirmed in office. Bloody unrest, hostage-taking and attacks by insurgents (mainly through the “Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta” [MEND], which launched an “oil war” in 2008) intensified in the oil-rich Niger Delta. After the situation deteriorated in early 2006, President Obasanjo announced in April 2006 a plan to develop infrastructure in the Niger Delta.

Since Obasanjo could not run again in presidential elections after two legislative terms according to the constitution, the candidate of the ruling PDP party and former governor of the Muslim state of Katsina, Umaru Yar’Adua, won the elections on April 21, 2007, which were marked by acts of violence and irregularities May 29, 2007 was sworn in. For the first time since independence in 1960, an elected president was followed by an elected successor.

Changing Rulers in Nigeria