|On May 30, 1967 following nationwide
disturbances, the government of the then Eastern
region, headed by Lt. Col. Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu,
broke away from the Federal Republic of Nigeria by
declaring the Eastern Region of Nigeria the Republic
of Biafra. The Federal Government declared this move
a rebellion and decided to nullify it. This led to
the 30 months civil war which ended in victory for
the Federal Government on January 12, 1970.
General Gowon's government was toppled in another
military coup on July 29, 1975 by General Murtala
Muhammed. General Muhammed carried out sweeping
political reforms which brought about the creation
of seven additional states, increasing the total
number of states in 1976 to 19. His government
also introduced apolitical programme aimed at returning
the country to civil rule in 1979.
Following the unsuccessful coup of February 13,
1976, in which General Muhammed lost his life.
General Olusegun Obasanjo became the Head of State
and pledged to implement the programmes of his
predecessor. Obasanjo's administration handed over
power to a democratically elected civilian government
led by Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who became the first
Executive President of Nigeria on October 1, 1979.
After four years of civil rule, the Military stepped
in again on December 31, 1983, when Major-General
Muhammadu Buhari took over the reigns of state.
Major General Babangida became the military president
through another coup on August 27, 1985.
The Babangida administration started by creating
two more states, Akwa-lbom and Katsina in 1987,
and another nine state - Abia, Delta, Enugu, Jigawa,
Kebbi, Kogi, Osun, Taraba and Yobe on August 27,
1991. The administration embarked on a transition
programme of handing over power to a democratically
elected civilian government in 1993. Two political
parties, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and
the National Republican Convention (NRC) were later
established. The Presidential election which followed
The Babangida administration ended on August 26,
1993 when the President stepped aside for an Interim
National Government (ING), headed by Chief Ernest,
Shonekan. After the resignation of Chief Shonekan,
General Sani Abacha then became the Head of State
and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on November
This regime convened a National Constitutional
Conference to review the Constitution with the
aim of setting up a permanent democratic structure
for the country. It appointed Military Administrators
to head the thirty states of the federation on
December 8, 1993. The Government received the report
of the National Constitutional Conference on June
27, 1995. In October 1995, the Head of State made
a broadcast in which he listed out the programme
on the return to democracy. Under this programme,
the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON)
conducted Local government Election on non party
basis in 1995. It later registered five political
parties under which it conducted National Assembly
Election in 1998. The parties were:
The United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP)
National Centre Party of Nigeria (NCPN)
Congress for National Consensus (CNC)
Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN)
Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM)
On October 1, 1996, six states were added to the
existing thirty states bringing the total number
of states to thirty six (36). The new states are:
Bayelsa. Ebonyi, Ekiti, Nassarawa, Gombe and Zarnfara.
Also 183 local government areas were created.
The administration established the Petroleum Trust
Fund (PTF). This was sequel to the approval of
new pricing for petroleum products in 1994. The
function of the Fund was to manage all monies accruing
as a result of the new pricing and to ensure their
use in the execution of projects that are of benefit
to the people e.g. road Construction/Rehabilitation;
education, drugs, food supply etc.
On November 27, 1996, the Abacha administration
inaugurated the vision 2010 Committee to conduct
a study and draw up a long-term programme for the
successful harnessing and control of the country's
The government of General Sani Abacha which was
dogged by crises arising from the annulled June
12, 1993 presidential elections came to an end
following his death on the 8th of June, 1998.
General Abdulsalam Abubakar was appointed by the
Provisional Ruling Council as Head of State on
the 12th of June 1998.
On coming to power. General Abubakar took urgent
steps to diffuse the tension which had characterised
the later years of General Abacha's rule. These
steps included improving the human rights records
of the country through the release of prominent
political prisoners and some convicted of coup-plotting.
The steps also included the reconciliation of the
country with the international community, and the
promise to return the country to democratic rule
on May 29, 1999
In order to facilitate the return to democratic
rule, General Abubakar established the I ndependent
National Electoral Commission (INEC) to register
political parties and organise elections that would
usher in a democratic dispensation.
In October 1998, the Independent National Electoral
Commission provisionally registered nine political
associations to contest the December 1998 LGA elections.
At the conclusion of the exercise only the following
political Associations were registered as political
parties,these are the Peoples Democratic Party
(PDP) the All Peoples Party (APP) and the Alliance
for Democracy (AD). Elections conducted under the
platform of these parties include the Govemorship
and State Houses of Assembly elections in January
1999. The National Assembly and Presidential elections
were held in February 1999 after which Retired
General Olusegun Obasanjo was declared winner of
the presidential election. He is expected to assume
power by May 29, 1999.
Since democracy was restored in the country there
has been a gradual and impressive transformation
of the political landscape. In 1999 only 3 political
parties contested elections in Nigeria. But in
2003, 25 new political parties were registered
by the national Electoral body, bringing to 28
the number of political parties that contested
the 2003 elections.
The key test to the political future of Nigeria
still lies in an enduring civilian governance.
Elections conducted by civilian administration
in 1965 mad 1983 had failed and led to military
interventions. Nigerians are, therefore, now strongly
determined, more than ever, to lay a solid foundation
for an enduring democracy that would be the pride
of future generations of Nigerians. The present
civilian government has shown its commitment to
even development of the country and cases of marginalization
in certain parts of the country.
Today, Nigeria enjoys peace inspire of periodic
crises, because consultation in handling issues.
The administration is determined to transform the
country, in line with democratic principles, into
a land of opportunity, equity, of government's
use of dialogue and progress and prosperity for