1. Kenya Election 2017: The Perspectives from Mombasa
  2. What does it take to be a Member of Parliament in Kenya: Perspectives from Hon. Timothy Wanyonyi
  3. Talking Africa Interview with Prof Abdoulaye Bathily
  4. Book Launch: Theory of ISIS Political Violence and the Transformation of the Global Order
  5. First black woman professor at King’s College delivers inaugural lecture by Desmond Davies, GNA
  6. The Transformational Leadership of Late Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai
  7. Leadership and “Conversation” in Dialogue: Securing Peace in the Unromantic Contex
  8. New study analyses knowledge production on peace and security in Africa
  9. The Role of Mutuality in Leadership
  10. Gendered Differences in Leadership Styles
  11. The Contributions of Youth-led organizations to peace processes in Somalia
  12. Transitional Justice Mechanisms in Gambia
  13. Liberation Movements in Power: are they an obstacle to political transitions in Africa?
  14. Extractive Industry in Nigeria and the role of Leadership in natural resource governance
  15. Role of Research in Informing Government Policies
  16. Politics of evidence and policy-making in African states
  17. Corruption, Elections and Leadership Transition in Liberia
  18. Mark Simpson on Black History Studies and African Civilisations
  19. Role and influence of the military in Zimbabwe
  20. Role and influence of foreign actors in recent events in Zimbabwe
  21. Indifferent? Response of African Union on recent events in Zimbabwe
  22. Did governance of natural resources influence recent events in Zimbabwe?
  23. Special Magazine Edition on Kenya Elections
  24. Discussion on Supreme Court nullification of Presidential Elections Results in Kenya
  25. Kenyans ready to make their choice
  26. Kenya Election 2017 Perspectives from Kirinyaga County
  27. Hassan Abdille on Youth Vulnerability and Radicalization in Mombasa County
  28. Sureya Roble on Women and Radicalization in Mombasa County
  29. Jennifer Salahub on Safe and Inclusive Cities in Africa and the Developing World
  30. Setback for South Africa’s ICC withdrawal plan
  31. No winner of 2016 African Leadership Prize
  32. Pay bad African leaders to leave power – Obasanjo
  33. Obasanjo’s antidote to military coups in Nigeria
  34. Renewable energy companies accused of violating people’s rights
  35. Caroline Moser on Gender transformation in cities
  36. Mutuma Ruteere on Security, Violence and Racism
  37. Setback for South Africa’s ICC withdrawal plan
  38. The Gambia withdraws notice to leave the ICC
  39. Protests, Migration and Far-right Movements: African and European Insecurities?
  40. Kenya’s candidate for AUC Chairperson focuses on continent’s youth
  41. How has Obama’s Power Africa legacy fared? – Desmond Davies
  42. Conversations, Contestations and Coincidences: Brexit, Trumphalism and African dynamics
  43. Overly Optimistic? The Pulse on Africa’s Changing Economies and Demography
  44. Lecture on Peacebuilding, Leadership and Democratic Consolidation in Africa
  45. Situation of victims in systems of practice for dealing with gross human rights abuses
Wed, Sep 19, 2018
  1. Kenya Election 2017: The Perspectives from Mombasa
  2. What does it take to be a Member of Parliament in Kenya: Perspectives from Hon. Timothy Wanyonyi
  3. Talking Africa Interview with Prof Abdoulaye Bathily
  4. Book Launch: Theory of ISIS Political Violence and the Transformation of the Global Order
  5. First black woman professor at King’s College delivers inaugural lecture by Desmond Davies, GNA
  6. The Transformational Leadership of Late Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai
  7. Leadership and “Conversation” in Dialogue: Securing Peace in the Unromantic Contex
  8. New study analyses knowledge production on peace and security in Africa
  9. The Role of Mutuality in Leadership
  10. Gendered Differences in Leadership Styles
  11. The Contributions of Youth-led organizations to peace processes in Somalia
  12. Transitional Justice Mechanisms in Gambia
  13. Liberation Movements in Power: are they an obstacle to political transitions in Africa?
  14. Extractive Industry in Nigeria and the role of Leadership in natural resource governance
  15. Role of Research in Informing Government Policies
  16. Politics of evidence and policy-making in African states
  17. Corruption, Elections and Leadership Transition in Liberia
  18. Mark Simpson on Black History Studies and African Civilisations
  19. Role and influence of the military in Zimbabwe
  20. Role and influence of foreign actors in recent events in Zimbabwe
  21. Indifferent? Response of African Union on recent events in Zimbabwe
  22. Did governance of natural resources influence recent events in Zimbabwe?
  23. Special Magazine Edition on Kenya Elections
  24. Discussion on Supreme Court nullification of Presidential Elections Results in Kenya
  25. Kenyans ready to make their choice
  26. Kenya Election 2017 Perspectives from Kirinyaga County
  27. Hassan Abdille on Youth Vulnerability and Radicalization in Mombasa County
  28. Sureya Roble on Women and Radicalization in Mombasa County
  29. Jennifer Salahub on Safe and Inclusive Cities in Africa and the Developing World
  30. Setback for South Africa’s ICC withdrawal plan
  31. No winner of 2016 African Leadership Prize
  32. Pay bad African leaders to leave power – Obasanjo
  33. Obasanjo’s antidote to military coups in Nigeria
  34. Renewable energy companies accused of violating people’s rights
  35. Caroline Moser on Gender transformation in cities
  36. Mutuma Ruteere on Security, Violence and Racism
  37. Setback for South Africa’s ICC withdrawal plan
  38. The Gambia withdraws notice to leave the ICC
  39. Protests, Migration and Far-right Movements: African and European Insecurities?
  40. Kenya’s candidate for AUC Chairperson focuses on continent’s youth
  41. How has Obama’s Power Africa legacy fared? – Desmond Davies
  42. Conversations, Contestations and Coincidences: Brexit, Trumphalism and African dynamics
  43. Overly Optimistic? The Pulse on Africa’s Changing Economies and Demography
  44. Lecture on Peacebuilding, Leadership and Democratic Consolidation in Africa
  45. Situation of victims in systems of practice for dealing with gross human rights abuses

The former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has revealed how he manged to curb rampant military coups in Nigeria: he retired the usual suspects from the armed forces with immediate effect when he came to power in 1999. Since then the country has not witnessed a coup or attempted coup.

Before 1999, the longest period of civilian rule Nigeria had experienced was for just six years – from independence in 1960 to the first military coup in the country in 1966.

In the newly published Making Africa Work: A handbook for economic success*, General Obasanjo, one of the book’s four authors, writes: “The military’s intervention in Nigerian politics in January 1966 went on like musical chairs for 33 years, fouling the political air, causing instability and uncertainty, causing destruction of lives and properties, resulting in a civil war and leaving the country divided internally and isolated externally.”

Gen Obasanjo was himself a military ruler, having taken over the helm in February 1976 following the assassination of Gen Murtala Muhammed. He handed over power to a democratically elected government in 1979, but in 1983 the military intervened again in Nigerian politics. The soldiers were to stay in power for another 16 years, until the sudden death in June 1998 of Gen Sani Abacha whose successor, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar, then called elections in February 1999.

Gen Obasanjo, who by then had become a fully-fledged politician, contested the presidency for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which he won. He explains: “On assuming office as president [in May 1999], 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.

“Not knowing what the list was meant for, the military faithfully compiled and submitted it to me as the commander-in-chief and chairman of council of each of the arms of service,” Gen Obasanjo writes in the book, which was launched during last month’s 6th Tana Forum on Peace and Security in Africa in Bahir Dar in Ethiopia.

He adds: “Ninety-three offices 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 councils 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.”

Gen Obasanjo goes on: “The retirement of 93 officers all in one day was salutary. It meant that taking part in a coup or benefiting from one could catch up with you, no matter how long it would take, and for as long as you are alive.” He writes that the retirement of the officers did not stop them from entering public life, as some went into politics and became state governors, members of the legislature and government ministers.

Gen Obasanjo says “the idea was not to punish them for life but to exclude then from positions in the military” so they would not get involved in coups. “The fact that since 1999 there has not been a coup or an attempted coup in Nigeria speaks of the effectiveness of the measures taken to put an end to the destabilising influence of coups on the political life and dispensation of Nigeria,” Gen Obasanjo writes.

He notes, however: “It has neither been easy nor perfect, but there are improvements and evidence of learning among the political class. For those countries with similar experiences to Nigeria’s, there is a need to find an effective and relatively painless way of curbing the incidence of coups and corruption by the military.”

– Desmond Davies

*Making Africa Work: A Handbook for Economic Success, by Greg Mills, Olusegun Obasanjo, Jeffrey Herbst and Dickie Davis (Tafelberg, Cape Town, 2017).

 

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