The three main problems of military regime were:
1. Human Rights Violation
Military rule is detestable the world over, because its lack of respect for constitutionality and the rule of law in governance. The first task immediately the military takes over an elected government is to suspend the nations constitution and resort to ruling by decrees conceived and promulgated by a few clique of officers who constitute themselves into s Supreme Military Council or Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council as the case may be. Military decrees are made superior to the regular laws of the land with retrospective effects which cannot be challenged in any Law Court. Citizens usually lose their fundamental human rights such as freedom of speech, association, movement, privacy, etc.
The Press, Trade Unions and Human Rights groups and such other democratic institutions are seen and treated as rebels by the military junta. They are either decreed out of existence or gagged from operation or get their unruly members detained and humiliated for championing peoples causes. The precision with which the military takes decision, in most cases without properly digesting the facts, usually leads to outright injustice on innocent people in the society. Under Murtala/Obasanjo’s regime many civil servants were wrongly dismissed with humiliation or retired without benefits from the service. This affected the morale and work ethics in the civil service which some would argue as the genesis of corruption in the public service in order to save for the rainy days.
In 1984 under Buhari/Idiagbon regime, some Nigerians were arraigned before a military tribunal rather than a regular Court for drug offences which they have committed before the advent of the regime. Despite the public outcry and protest by the Nigerian Bar Association, the offenders were sentenced to death by firing squad.
In summary, dividends of democracy are completely absent under a military rule.
Each time the military comes on board, one of the excuses it gives for seizing power is corruption in high places but this appears to be a case of the kettle calling the pot black as events in Nigeria has proved that the military itself is not invulnerable against the social problem. This fact came to the forefront during the probe panel set up by Gen. Murtala Mohammed in 1975 to ascertain how rich Gowon’s Governors were, and how the wealth was acquired. According to Oluleye (In 1985) The findings were an eye sore, as many of them were on the ladder to becoming millionaires.
In 1981, President Shehu Shagari, in response to public demand, set up a judicial panel of enquiry on the missing $2.8billion oil money under the military administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo. President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2002 also set up Justice Okigbo panel to investigate the alleged mismanagement of the oil windfall money during General Ibrahim Babangida’s regime. The panel had submitted its report but it is yet to be officially released. Similarly, the probe of the tenure of General Sanni Abacha’s administration by the civilian administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo yielded fruitful results as billions stolen from public treasury by the late Head of State were recovered from his foreign bank accounts. As upright and honest as Buhari/Idiagbon regime might have appeared to be, the scandal of the unchecked 53 suit cases imported into the country when he nation’s borders (land, air and sea) were supposedly close, cast a slur on the integrity and moral uprightness of the administration.
3. Sight-tight Syndrome
Military leaders as well as their civilian counterparts in Africa are both guilty of the detestable tendency which has become the bane development in many African countries. General Yakubu Gowon’s regime lost the confidence and esteem of Nigerians when he announced that his administration needed more time as the 1974 return to civil rule promise was unrealistic.
The lust for power also led General Babangida to become obsessed with sit-tight agenda by annulling the June 12, 1993 general elections which generally acclaimed as the freest and fairest in the history of Nigeria’s election. If not for divine intervention, Gen. Sanni Abacha had almost succeeded in transforming from military to civilian President in 1998 when the five political parties (described as five fivers of a leprous hand by Chief Bola Ige) created him had adopted him as their candidate for the 1999 presidential election.
Military government attracts diverse reactions from international community because of the uncivil and undemocratic manners by which it rules. For many years Nigeria was regarded as a pariah nation and thus, detested by industrial nations in revenge to the oppressive rule by General Sanni Abacha between 1993 and 1999.
The three main problems of military regime were: