Nigeria Key Institutions

In the first forty-five years of independent Nigeria, civilians ruled only sixteen years. Two thirds of the forty-five year time period, Nigeria was under military rule, by six different generals, some more brutal and greedy than others.  The current period of civilian rule, starting in 1999, is the longest one.  We hope it will continue but must be forever mindful that Nigeria is still an unstable country with strong tendencies to fall apart.  When that threatens, the military takes over.




Nigerian Coups
Year Ousted Installed
1966 (January) Balewa (Hausa) Killed Ironsi (Igbo)
1966 (July) Ironsi, Killed Gowon (Anga)
1975 Gowon, deposed Mohammed (Hausa)
1976 Mohammed, Killed Obasanjo (Yoruba)
1983 Shagari (Fulani), deposed Buhari (Hausa)
1985 Buhari, deposed Babangida (Gwari)
1993 Babangida, deposed Abacha (Hausa)



Questions to Consider:

  • How does Nigeria demonstrate preatorianism?
  • Is Nigeria a failed state?
An influencing decision to shift from a parliamentary system to a presidential government was Nigeria’s many ethnic divisions.
Umaru Yar’Adua, who was elected president in 2007, is different from all other presidents since 1983 in that he is a former oil executive.
The president is directly elected by people.
The People’s Democratic Party is the best established political party in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s parliamentary government was rendered ineffective in 1966 by a _____________ _______.

Click to reveal the answer.

military coup