EFFECT OF POLITICAL INSTABILITY ON IMPLEMENTATION OF NIGERIA POLICY ON
SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION
Nigeria since independence in October 1, 1960 is characterized by chequered history as a result of political instability. This instability had seriously affected the implementation of the Nigeria polity on education formally called 6-3-3-4 and now 9-3-4 system of education.
According to Crowther (1978) it was only with the complete breakdown of law and order in the Western region in late 1965 that the military overthrown the government and suspended the constitution.
According to Ezeani (1995) he observed that the military takes over in 1966. Nigeria had hobbled from one political qua to another with its disruptive effect on the educational policy embarked by the country.
In respect of the above, available literature will be revenged on instances of political instability and their effects on implementation of the Nigeria policy on education.
Lets now take a cursory look on some causes or instances of political instability in Nigeria history.
2.1 Historical Perspective of Political Instability in Nigeria
One of the causes of political instability in Nigeria has been multi-national composition of the country. According to Onwubiko 91985) these ethnic groups pulled by accident of colonial conquest had not been completely integrated into a nation state before the attainment of independence in 1960. As a matter of fact, soon after the withdrawal of unifying influence of colonial power, the divisive forces of ethnic loyalty or tribalism shortly replaced with statism broke and began to plague the body politics of the country in the form rivalry for political power, public offices and resources distribution.
The suspicion of domination among the ethic group became a constant sources of political instability. Orgiako (1989) observed that regional dissatisfaction was dangerous because each of the three largest ethnic groups namely, Ibo, Hausa and Yoruba had a viable population to form a country and cash it so powerful that it could throw the country into chaos if its political power is accorded recognition.
Perhaps, the area in which ethnicity has had its most disastrous consequences to the nation is in economic development which greatly affected educational development. As noted by Otiti (1999) Ethnicity is a strategy for controlling and disturbing national resources.
As a sociological problem, it works against political, economic, educational policies and decisional meant to benefit the nation as one entity it become difficult to implement objectively. That explains why Nigerian’s dream for national growth and other aspiration three years after independence a mirage. As long as ethnicity has enough self-serving work to do for Nigeria, be it civilian or military.
According Okeke (1994) nd Osadolor (1996), they agreed that most political crises in this country are aggravated by politicians, either military or civilians, the political drift of Nigeria came about because of the absence of coherent rational agenda with purposeless, inconsistent, sectional and buccaner leaders, Nigeria has been dragged all these years through dark alleys.
The 1962/64 census was yet another issue that caused instability in the country. The result of 1962 census indicated that the north had a larger population than the three southern region combined. The implication was that the south could forever be dominated politically by the northern majority. There were protests on the efficiency of the result by the southern politicians which made the Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa to divide on a new one. It was held on 24th February 1964 and the population of Nigeria according to National Population Commission was estimated 55 million people. But the Southern part of Nigeria again rejected the results.
According to Orjiako (1989), this construct some of political instability was prompted by the regions. The population figures arrived at after two bitterly controversial census gave the Northern region a staggering population of 29 million. This was more than half of the country’s population and it ensured the north of comfortable lead and control of the federl legislative and other institutions.
Onwubiko (1990) observed that it was the frustration which this situation created among southern people that party explains the army coup of January 1966. Again the 1964 federal election and 1965 western regional election contributed immensely to political instability in Nigeria.
In December 8, 1964, saw the dissolution of the federal parliament and the data for the federal election was December 30, 1964. That year, some political parties emerged together to form all alliance. The outstanding ones were the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA) and Nigeria National Alliance (NNA).
The Nigeria National Alliance (NNA) purportedly won the federal election but with changed of unfair practices (electoral malpractice). The (UPGA) candidates and voters boycotted the election. The future of the country was threatened. The (1969) western election as observed by Crowthner (1990) witnessed bare-faced rigging accompanied with threats, bribes, beating, arson and even murder. As the election of 14th October, 1965 approached, it was observed that law and order had broken down in the west. Yield the federal government did not intervene. It was in their content of apparent helplessness of the federal govrnment to bring the matter under control that on the night of 15th January, 1966, a group of young majors staged a coup in which the Prime Minister Alhaji Tafaw Belawa, Premiers of the North, sir Ahmadu Bello, Premier of the West, Okotie Eboh and some senior army officers were assassinated.
According to Crowther (1992), he says that politicians had earned almost universal contempt for their corruption and lack of real concern for those they rule who elected them. They had also failed to respect the spirit of the constitution.
In January 1966, Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu led and executed a coup with some young military offcers. Orjiako (1996) reported Nzeogwu as saying that we seized power to stamp out tribalism, nepotism and regionalism.
Unfortunately, the coup examined a different interpretation in the North, as an Ibo coup to dominate the rest of the country. The first military government was under an Ibo Major General G.T.U. Aguiyi Ironsi. He proposed a unification decree for the country. According to a government press release, No. 723 of 24th May, 1966, cited in Schwarz (1998).
The former region were abolished and Nigeria grouped into a number of traditional areas called provinces. Nigeria ceases to be what is described as a feudalism. It was now becomes simply the Republic of Nigeria. The regional and federal public services were declared unified and every civil servant is now called upon to see his function in any part of Nigeria in which he is serving in the contest of the whole world or country.
Orjiako (1995) maintained that the programme brought about a massive polarization of Nigeria population. As a result of the programme and the massive return of the Igbos to their region, Lt. Col. Ojukwu on May 30, 1967 proclaimed the former eastern region the sovereign republic of Biafra.
Crowther (1978) reported Ojukwu thus “the people of eastern Nigeria believed that they could no longer be protected in their lives and properties by any government based outside eastern Nigeria.
He further argued that the central issue of the war was essentially the same as that of pre and post colonial politics which is national unity, unless Pregbagba, Nwanna and Mkpa (1993) serve similarities between the present state of anxiety in Nigeria and the pre-war days of 1967. They agreed that the immediate cause of the war was the struggle for power by the major ethnic groups.
Soon after the end of war, it was generally observed that accepted that education institution especially in the east were seriously disrupted. According to Ozuzu (1994) states that the civil war greatly affected educational development in Nigeria especially in the eastern region. As a result of war, Nigeria wasted most of her hard earned resources towards the successful prosecution of the war therefore education was not remarked a priority.
Osuji (1994) also remarked that schools especially in eastern states were devastated. There was also a high rate of drop out in school, both in primary and secondary levels. Another fall-out of civil war was the abrupt take over of schools by government throughout the country from voluntary missionary agencies.. According to Anukan (1991), thus, practise started with the old east central states government and spread to other state of the federation. The effects of the army on Nigeria political life is over wading. In regards to Okadigbo’s view (1999) he posited that the cause of instability in Nigeria is not political parties rather military occupation of the policy. He further stated that our economy is stagnated today due to economic mismanagement employed by the soldier is their leadership style.
Numerous literature reviewed lay credence to the fact that out of 47 years of independence, Nigerian military reigned for 27 years. They find it difficult to put machinery in motion for enduring social, economic, political and educational system that will stand the test of time. Diye (1993) remarked, the bane of the military is indiscipline and involvement in politics.
According to Babarinse (1993) he called Diye’s declaration “an understatement” he stated that the Nigerian military is divided political party weakened by years of wrong living and political frustration, prostitution and reckless experiment like fellow country men, the military is plagued by ethnic nationalism, parochial loyalties and corruption.
Imodibie (1986) summarized all when he said that military intervention in Nigeria politics led to a bloody civil war, institutional paralysis involving virtual destruction of public service, insecurity and lack of funds as well as the representation of worker, students, peasants and the intimidation of the judiciary.