Global Advanced Research Journal of History, Political Science and International Relations ISSN:2315-506X
February 2012 Vol. 1(1), pp 006-017
Copyright © 2012 Global Advanced Research Journals



Leadership Crisis and Political Instability in Nigeria, 1964-1966: The Personalities, the Parties and the Policies

Emmanuel Oladipo Ojo

Department of History and International Studies, Faculty of Arts, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria.


Accepted 10 February, 2012


1964-1966 would go down the annals of Nigerian history as turbulent and politically explosive years. The federal elections of 1964, which, for all intents and purposes, was an electoral battle between the Nigerian National Alliance and the United Progressive Grand Alliance, subjected the Nigerian democratic process to unprecedented stress. The electoral battle between the alliances produced a political stalemate which, for the first time since the 1914 amalgamation, left the country without a legally constituted central government for about two days. Although, the deadlock was eventually resolved through a wretched compromise which did not address the fundamental causes of the crisis; the relief was transient. Thus, in 1965, pre and post election violence in the defunct Western Region created unprecedented political instability in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the ethnic and other interests of some of the leaders of the Structural Frame made a quick resolution of the crisis impossible and on 15 January 1966, the military intervened in the Nigeria democratic process to restore law and order. However, the military intervention did not immediately produce the magic wand needed for an immediate resolution of the large scale political crisis. Indeed, the composition of the coup planners on the one hand and the victims of the coup on the other subjected Nigeria to further political instability and turmoil. Furthermore, the Hausa-Fulani felt that some of the policies of Nigeria’s first military regime were designed to ‘rob’ them of whatever benefits they still derived from the Nigerian Federation. The result was further instability and violence. This paper examines the personalities, the political parties as well as the policies that created unprecedented political instability and crisis in Nigeria between 1964 and 1966. The method of data analysis employed in this study is the historical approach - simple descriptive collation and analysis of historical data. This method involves subjecting data to rigorous criticism with a view to determining their accuracy and authenticity.

Keywords: Leadership, crisis, political instability and Nigeria


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