Join Us or Be Junked? Party Politics, Military Coups and Political Assassination in Post-Independence Nigeria 1966-2016

John Sunday Ojo


Nigeria attained independence on October 1st 1960 as a nation-state comprised of divergence ethnic clusters. By the time of independence, the country was set on the footpath of democratization by the colonial state. The effort at democratization was short-lived by the military coup that claimed the lives of many civilians. The political threshold is therefore attributed to the nauseating root of political assassination that scaled through many political transitions in the post-independence Nigeria. This paper interrogates the interplay between party politics, stratocracy and political related carnages since termination of colonial occupation in Nigeria. The study traces the major political assassination cases from 1966 to 2016. Drawing upon massive political killings, the article explains the root cause of immoral ecology of politically related murders and its horrible implications. It found that the deplorable military cosmopolitan governance, skyrocket political factionalism, cataclysmic ethno-religious politics, avalanche criminalization of the political party system, hegemonic political incumbency and faltering judicial system elicit contagious politically motivated killings in Nigeria. The paper concludes by providing recommendation that application of intra-party and inter-party dialogues become a mechanism for averting political homicide in political engagements and electioneering. To this end, there is a need for Nigerian political elites to eschew from inflammatory catch phrase such as “do-or-die” “rig and roast” and other grumbling words that encourages political bloodbath. Hence, sanitization of politics that extricate narcissistic interest is a pungent bludgeon to sustain political civility in Nigerian emerging democracy.


Political assassination; Political parties; Democracy; Politics; Military coups; Nigeria

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