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Political role for Nigerian army would amplify risks

Friday, March 6, 2015

Subject

Military and politics in Nigeria.

Significance

The military is in its third week of the renewed fight against Boko Haram, an operation used as rationale to delay national elections. The long and bitter campaign against the militants has inflicted significant damage to military morale and prestige. It has contributed to growing divisions between military ranks, at a time when army officers are getting increasingly involved in the political sphere. The elections rescheduled for March 28 (presidential and parliamentary) and April 11 (gubernatorial) may begin to highlight the risks of the military's fragmentation.

Impacts

  • A Buhari presidency would likely replace the military and defence high command, given personal animosities and poor performance.
  • It would also seek to better equip the army than attempt another dialogue process with northern militants, which would lack credibility.
  • However, focusing on the north to the detriment of latent tensions in the Niger Delta would be equally dangerous for the stability outlook.
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