The Nigerian Army as a Product of Its Colonial History: Problems of Re-building Cohesion for an Army in Transition

Suberu Ochi Abdulrahman, Henry Gyang Mang


This work discusses the emergence and problems of cohesion as the Nigerian army. The fact that the Nigerian army emerged from an inherited colonial army, which also emerged from a band of military expeditors. The army was introduced into various patterns of cohesion. Described in this work is partitioned cohesion, a situation in which a group although seen as one, is subtly separated into units in which some are shown certain preferences. This partitioning, in the case of Nigeria saw the North being first preferred for its martial peoples, while at later stages the South, showing promise in terms of education, gained prominence in the corps of the NCO and officer cadre. This transitory preferences, although advantageous to the British colonialists, was of gross disadvantage to the new Nigerian army. With different perceptions about themselves, a gunpowder keg was left, just waiting to be lighted to blow. The different officer types created with time between 1946 and 1966 also saw a salient but obvious partition due to the fact that they were created in different ways, this differentiation in officer types, was worsened by the fact that they were a newly created group. The officer corps was not only new, but inadvertently immature to the process and so they exuded varying traits.

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