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Political Stability and National Security in Nigeria Challenges and Prospects Research Paper

Pages:20 (6027 words)



Topic:National Security

Document Type:Research Paper


Political Stability & National Security in Nigeria: Challenges & Prospects

Method of data analysis

Limitations encountered

Strategies for political stability to enhance national security

Political stability and national security in Nigeria: Challenges and prospects

The research will focus on the effects of political stability and national security in Nigeria. The time span of the study is between 1999 and 2010. This period was chosen to enable the researcher examine the effects of political stability on national security in Nigeria's Fourth Republic which has witnessed peaceful civilian to civilian transition.

This study is divided into five chapters in which the first chapter is the introduction part followed by the second chapter for literature review and research methodology. The third chapter spells out the findings from the research, while the fourth chapter looks at the strategy for political stability to enhance national security; the last chapter concludes the research with some few recommendations being put across.



Political stability is an aspiration of modern states which is essential for the survival of the states and their pursuit of development. This is because political stability has to do with the overall stability of the state, irrespective of the life span of a government. Consequently, countries all over the world clamor for stable political arrangements, as a means of achieving national security. An important component of stability is legitimacy, for it is the level of feeling of empathy to the state by the people that determines whether compliance is willingly given or forcefully extracted. Political stability supports the sustenance of strong socio-political and economic institutions. These institutions which include independent arms of government, free media, political parties, electoral management bodies, civil society organizations (CSOs) among others, strengthen sovereignty, encourage the pursuit of people-oriented policies and enhance national security (Oyovbaire 35-43)[footnoteRef:2] [2: Oyovbaire 35-43]

Some studies revealed that countries with transparent democratic structures are more stable politically with less threat on their national security. This argument is based on the assumption that democracy helps to strengthen political institutions that initiate peaceful transition from one government to another. For instance, the United States of America (USA) has enjoyed over 200 years of political stability and hence, when the country was faced with the controversy of the presidential elections in November 2000, its democratic institution proved competent to contain the challenges (Gyimah-Boadi 208-210)[footnoteRef:3]. [3: Gyimah-Boadi 208-210]

Similarly, Britain has enjoyed a high degree of political stability for almost 300 years. This has been manifested through the peaceful transfers of power from one elected government to another, effective delivery of public services and good governance. This stable political arrangement has promoted patriotism among citizens and eliminated serious threats of disintegration which would have compromised her national security. It is however important to note that, political stability alone may not necessarily guarantee national security as being witnessed in Greece, where economic crisis amidst stable political system is triggering crises of different dimensions creating some national security concerns.9

In Africa, Botswana is considered the most politically stable country because of good governance and effective delivery of public services which has impacted positively on her national security. This rating was further confirmed by the World Bank Institute's report on governance released in July 2007 which observed the absence of political violence and threats of disintegration in the country.

Cameroon is another African country that has enjoyed relative political stability which has enhanced her national security for the past 2 decades. However, her stability could be based on the suppression of the opposition by President Paul Biya's government that has stayed in power for over 20 years. Consequently, there could be some social tensions threatening political stability on the exit of Paul Biya's government that would compromise national security in the country. The experience of Cote'd Ivoire remains relevant to this study. Cote'd Ivoire was considered a model of political stability in Africa for over 3 decades under the leadership of late President Houphouet-Boigny. However, this stability was built on coercion and suppression of the opposition groups. Thus, upon Houphouet-Boigny's death in 1993 the country started having socio-political crisis and military coups that gradually degenerated into civil war in 2002 which has impacted negatively on its' national security (Amucheazi 4)[footnoteRef:4]. [4: Amucheazi 4]

In Nigeria, the search for political stability has remained the preoccupation of succeeding regimes since independence. However, despite the commitment of various administrations towards the pursuit of political stability, the country has experienced several violent changes in government through coups and counter coups. This has adversely affected the conduct of government business and exerted negative impact on national security. The implications of these unstable political changes during the period led to corruption, ethnic agitations, suppression of the opposition and clamor for resource control which are some of the centrifugal forces to national security facing the country (Okereke 95)[footnoteRef:5]. [5: Okereke 95]

When former President Obasanjo took office in May 1999, his government embarked on a number of political and security reforms designed to foster political stability and enhance national security. However, violent conflicts ensued in the Niger-Delta, indigene/settler dichotomy resurfaced in Plateau State, especially in Jos, where many people were killed as a result of several violent ethno-religious crisis. These persistent communal violence triggered widespread reprisal attacks across the nation. Also, general insecurity in the form of electoral violence, politically-motivated assassinations, and armed robbery, among others became rampant in the country. Some of these conflicts have been attributed to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN), which has been qualified as an invitation to conflicts in the conduct of governance in Nigeria. Consequently, these actions negate the significance of political stability which has national security implications (Elaigwu 45-67)[footnoteRef:6]. [6: Elaigwu 45-67]

Furthermore, the late President Yar' Adua's government was inaugurated in May 2007. The administration tried to consolidate on the successes recorded in the political and security reforms earlier embarked upon, by introducing the 7-Point Agenda and granting amnesty to the Niger-Delta militants. These initiatives were expected to create peaceful and stable political environment to allow government to deliver good governance for the well-being of the citizens. President Goodluck Jonathan who assumed leadership following the death of Yar'Adua continued with the post amnesty program. He placed more efforts in the provision of reliable power-supply and basic infrastructure to uplift the living standards of the citizens. Consequently, these policies were formulated to create political stability which could guarantee national security.

Contrary to expectations, general insecurity like ethno-religious violence, high crime rate and recently, the violent agitations for resource control continued to prevail and hence raising internal threats to political stability with potential of negative national security implications. On the part of socio-economic development, corruption has remained endemic despite the creation of anti-corruption agencies in the country. Infrastructure such as schools, health facilities and roads are still in deplorable conditions and power-supply is still very unreliable, also, these are emerging threats to political stability with security implications. In view of this prevailing insecurity, it becomes imperative to appraise the effect of political stability on national security in Nigeria. The researcher was thus motivated to undertake this study in order to contribute to knowledge of political stability and national security in Nigeria (Sirowy & Inkeles 126)[footnoteRef:7]. [7: Sirowy & Inkeles 126]

Statement of the problem

At the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999, there were popular expectations that Nigeria's new experiment with democracy will bring political stability which in turn will enhance national security. However, certain political events within the first 10 years of this experiment with democracy raised some anxiety about the future of the country. Specifically, the 1999 CFRN has remained a source of threats to political stability.20 Elections which ought to be means of legitimacy and peaceful change of government have degenerated to fraud and violence. Several mandates were stolen in 2003 and 2007 elections leading to loss of legitimacy by political leadership. In addition, government's policies and programmes have not alleviated poverty or improved quality of life to majority of the citizens. These have adversely affected political stability which could impact negatively on national security. These emerging threats had led to insecurity in the form of ethno-religious violence, militancy, armed robbery and abject poverty. Thus, whether political stability is alleviating these internal threats to national security is a problem which the researcher seeks to find answers. Consequently, this study will address the following research questions:

What constitute political stability and national security?

What is the relationship between political stability and national security?

What are the effects of political stability on national security in Nigeria?

What are the challenges and prospects associated with political stability and national security in Nigeria?

What strategies can be adopted to address the challenges of political stability in order to strengthen national security in Nigeria?

Aims and objectives of the study

The general objective of the study is to examine the effect of political stability on Nigeria's national security with a view to identifying the challenges and prospects, proffering strategies and making recommendations. The specific objectives of the study…

Sample Source(s) Used

Work cited

Akinyemi, A. Bolaji. Devolution of Power: A Prerequisite for National Unity - The Need for Dialogue, Kaduna, 2001

Akinjide OSuntokun: ed. Democracy and Sustainable Development in Nigeria Friedrich Ebert Foundation Lagos 2002

Amucheazi E., "Democratic Governance and Sustainable Peace and Stability in Nigeria," Barbados, 1999

Anyaoku, Emek. Keys to Nigeria's political stability, National interest, 2000

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