Nation-Building Initiatives of the Olusegun Obasanjo Administration in the Fourth Republic, 1999-2007
University of Mauritius Research Journal, Vol. 19, 2013, pp. 1-23
23 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2012 Last revised: 12 Jul 2013
Date Written: April 25, 2013
For much of its existence, Nigeria was governed by the military. From 1960 to 2007, a total of forty-seven years, the military ruled for twenty-nine years. The remaining eighteen years was taken up by civilian rule. The search for a functional, viable and cohesive Nigeria was a constant leitmotiv that ran throughout the period. This search is what has been termed nation-building. The different military and civilian administrations that ruled Nigeria between 1960 and 2007 were confronted with important challenges that impacted negatively on the country’s nation-building process. Some of these nation-building challenges are those of democracy, autarky, corruption, federalism and aggressive ethno-regionalism. By 1999, when the Nigeria Fourth Republic was inaugurated, most of these nation-building challenges were yet to be resolved. When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo became the first civilian president in the Fourth Republic in 1999, he was confronted with the Herculean task of creating a functional, viable and cohesive Nigerian polity. Obasanjo's administration successfully conducted federal elections in 2003, the second federal elections in the Fourth Republic, in which he was re-elected. The successful conduct ensured the sustenance of democratic rule in Nigeria. This means that during the Fourth Republic, Obasanjo governed Nigeria from 1999-2007. Thus, the central question which this paper seeks to address is what are the mechanisms the Obasanjo’s administration used to tackle Nigeria's nation-building challenges? This paper is divided into four parts. The first part is the introduction, which provides a historical overview of Nigeria's socio-political scene. The second part provides a brief historical overview of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration between 1999 and 2007. The third part is the conceptual clarification of nation-building. The fourth part, which is the main body of the paper, analyzes the various mechanisms used by the Obasanjo’s administration in Nigeria’s nation-building process between 1999 and 2007. The final part of the paper is the conclusion.
Keywords: Nation-building, Nigeria, Obasanjo, mechanisms, Fourth Republic
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