Essay Second Republic and the return of

Essay title: The Second Republic and Its Fall

The Second Republic and Its FallOne of many hurdles that Nigeria had to overcome in the attempt to return to civilian rule, and then to have such a new system entrenched, was the fact that competitive politics encouraged recourse to sectional identification.On the one hand, there is need for a understanding of the nature of the dynamics of Nigerian society, especially with regard to the phenomenon of ethnicity.On the other hand, the theoretical formulations which already exist concerning the nature of politics in segmented societies must be confronted so that a closer approximation between such themes and the sociopolitical realities of Nigeria can be achieved (Joseph, 1987:43).The American-style constitution of the second Republic (1979-1983) was designed for Nigerians type of democracy where natural affairs rather than state are promoted to avoid the pattern of British parliamentary system where the winner-takes-all pattern.The parties in America conform to the Constitution due to their disciplinary disposition.In Nigeria, political parties were following the British style of politics, where “distribution of revenues among the politician and their clients at national, state and local levels”, are the order of the day (Shehu, et al; 1999:34).Bitter conflicts abounded within the political parties in both states and the federal level over the distribution of the spoils; hence, the inability of the politicals to manage the conflicts led to the demise of the democratic government in the Second Republic and the return of the military government.In the program of transition to the Second Republic, the military leaders’ primary concern was to prevent the recurrence of the mistakes of the First Republic.They believed that if the structures and processed of government and politics that had proved inappropriate in the First Republic could be changed, a stable and effective civilian government was therefore designed to address those fundamental issues, which were historically divisive, and to establish new political institutions, processes, and orientations.The second aspect of the transition involved the making of a new constitution and appropriate institutions.Decree number 25 of 1978 enacted the 1977 Constitution.It differed from the First Republic in 1963, in that, it introduced a United States type presidential system (Nwoked, 199:73).Previously, the executive branch of government derived its powers from the Legislative.Under the 1979 constitution, the President and the Vice-President as well as state governors and their deputies, were elected in separate elections.Furthermore, while senate was largely a ceremonial body in the first Republic, the new constitution gave the Senate and the House of Representatives coequal powers.There were other provisions in the 1979 Constitution that aimed at eliminating past loopholes.The first was the federal character principles, which sought to prevent the domination of power by one or a few states, ethnic groups or sections of federal center, and by one or more groups in the states and local government.The Second Republic was born in the elections for the state and federal offices that took place in five rounds during July and August 1979 (Diamond, 1999:434).Even though it was successful, but its image was dainted largely due to the administrate bias stemmed from the presidential election controversy of 1979.In general, the election was considered to be fair and free but the events that took place during the election such as fraud, victimization and electoral malpractices gave room for some of the votes to be disputed and thereby created an avenue for an election tribunal to be conducted.As a result of the ambiguous result of the 1979 Presidential election, its legitimacy was challenged,when UPN opponent Chief Obafemi Awolowo questioned the results of it that had the UPN candidate, Shagari, who supposedly won 25 percent of the vote in only twelve, and hence not quite two-thirds of the nineteen states.“The ruling of the electoral commission that he was elected because he had won 25 percent in “twelve and two third states (i.e, a quarter of the vote in twelve states and two-thirds of a quarter in a thirteenth) was bitterly challenged by the UPN, but upheld by the Supreme Court.The controversy engendered lasting political enmity between NPN and UPN that was too heavily color subsequent political developments” (Diamond, 1995:434).The political tension spread to engender political alliances.The formation of a government by NPN, with the backing of NPP, being third largest party, whose nominees were offered ministerial, legislative and other positions, in a way, recreated a similar alliance identical to NPC-NCNC accord of the First Republic.The NPP frustration in this alliance.

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