Research studies

Crisis of Legitimacy in Pakistan and Nigeria’s Politics


Prepared by the researcher  : Dr. Ismail Adaramola Abdul Azeez – Director School of Politics and Economics International Suleiman University, Turkey

Democratic Arab Center

Journal of Strategic and Military Studies : Nineteenth Issue – June 2023

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
 ISSN  2626-093X
Journal of Strategic and Military Studies

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The legitimacy in both brotherly countries of Pakistan and Nigeria were totally changed with their irrelevant Military interventions in their domestic politics, this research paper will focus on those changes as hurdle for development of socio-economic and political contours of these British colonial legacy States.

 The scholars of political sociology observed that civil- society, social trust attitude is more needed in evaluation of the legitimacy of any State. Pakistan as State of ethno-political dimension faces different challenges in her political arena, this phenomenal has also disturbs Nigeria as well. Pakistan and Nigeria are relatively shared almost same political culture, system and legacy from their British colonialism, the two sister countries shared political economy and socially deadlock equally. The low of political culture has affected these States. Pakistan’s journey started as a Muslim State in 1947, but sudden death of its charismatic leader of quaid  Azam (Muhammad ali Jinnah) drove the country into darkness. Nigeria as Africa nation gained political independence from Britain on October 1, 1960 and operated a British –model parliamentary system from 1960 to 1966. Nigeria adopted a U.S model bicameral U.S congressional system in 1999. Nigeria has had an uninterrupted civilian democracy since 1999, the longest period of civilian rule in the country’s history. her independent in 1960, alhaji sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was a Nigerian politician first and the only prime minister of an independent Nigeria, born late in 1912 in Bauchi,(Northern Nigeria) the son of Begari Muslim district head in the Bauchi divisional district of lere. In January 1960, he was knighted by Elizabeth 11 as a knight commander of the order of the British Empire.


 There are several contours of legitimacy that may broadly be divided into two constituents; socio economic and political.

Socio economic Contours

Large volumes of scholarly work have dwelled on socio economic factors as influencing the legitimacy of a polity in place. Some rightly argue that internal order, eternal security, freedom, general welfare, and justice are very essential factors in legitimizing the state writ.[1] Scholars of political sociology observe that civil society, social trust, attitude congruence and nationalism are very helpful in evaluating the legitimacy of any state[2].What is rightly true is the solid fact that social and economic conditions are very essential drivers of people in treating their states as being more legitimate. These conditions touch every house in one way or another. An important variable in this direction is the income levels. Increasing real income bring a syndrome of changes in economic, social, and political realms that leads to better outcomes which generate legitimacy[3]more especially if that income is evenly distributed. No doubt, it is universally accepted that, higher income translates into higher welfare levels in areas such as education, health, investment, savings and spending, which are both welfare good and legitimacy judges. It is well accepted in comparative politics that relative deprivation in welfare in form of mass poverty and inequality, degenerates legitimacy and fuels rebellion[4]to the state. Some scholars have additionally argued that gender inequality creates high dependence on social hierarchy and repression with its direct impact on just part of the population henceforth degrading legitimization[5]Thus, legitimacy tends to rise with a rise in welfare on various dimensions not just one. However, this should not be taken as the sole judge of legitimacy and should not also be a passport for delegitimizing states in developing countries where income levels are low and at times following due to fluctuations in agriculture production which is the dominant occupation for the populous.  Scholars of political economy have explored how fluctuations in economic growth have a profound effect on regime support and have argued that short and medium term economic instabilities can erode state legitimacy[6]. This is true especially when the state does not come up with sound macro-economic measures to tackle such downward trends in economic activities such as inflation, low production, investment and hence growing unemployment. Economic stagnation is very harmful to households which passes on the blame to the state for inaction or untimely action. Similarly, it has been argued that significant measures of welfare improvements can go a long way in explaining changes in legitimacy.[7] In this direction, we feel poverty reduction is paramount variable in gauging welfare improvement since with such reductions, the standards of life for the masses increases. It means they have enough income to make smoothen consumption, investment, savings and to cater for other life circle activities. Studies in political psychology suggest that socio psychology factors can too, help in explaining state legitimacy. Feelings of personal self-esteem, in other words life satisfaction are more pronounced in this regard.[8] . A refined version of life satisfaction is average levels of personal financial satisfaction, this is to say, the more prospering individuals become, the more they regard the state to be legitimate which was widely the case after the collapse of communism and in the Asian Tiger[9].  Some authors suggests that higher levels of social trust or social capital help in ensuring  greater level of legitimacy as such variables deliver important values and norms such as social cooperation, empathy, civic engagement and generally pride of one’s country[10]. Some literature suggests that legitimacy is dependent on underlying individual attitudes about political interest and efficacy; this is to say, they more they participate in politics, the more they see the state as legitimate[11]. In a way, they advocate for participatory management of state affairs. Other literature, observe that political attitudes that support a regime in power takes precedent,[12] thus, pro-democratic attitudes are conducive to legitimacy.[13] Other scholars however argue that attitudes are just a reflection of the social deference resulting from ideological hegemony, which is the key cause of legitimacy, in which case people simply fear the state due its manipulations.[14] They further argue that there is a tendency for legitimacy to arise due to largely unconscious brainwashing rather than conscious judgment. Geographical locations and demographical composition is also useful in explaining legitimacy. Larger polities are typically prone to less legitimacy due to large population sizes which creates challenges for the state.[15] However this argument does not explain why the USA with large geographical coverage is still regarded as the major democracy. Ethnic homogeneity is thought to enhance legitimacy as it ease a state to embody specific ethnic values.[16] Ethnic conflict and instability tend to be common in societies that are plural and divided due to the very fact that such societies have the difficulties in constructing a political system that is seen as legitimate to all parties.[17]

However, when we take language and religion to be major component of ethnicity, this argument does not explain why in countries like Somalia and Rwanda there is not legitimate state for over two decades and state legitimacy was eroded during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Finally, some regions enjoy legitimate states than others, part of the reason being the fact that such regions are heirs to particular cultural values that lend themselves to legitimacy.[18] Others on the other hand suffer from deep-rooted rifts between state and society rendering legitimacy to suffer – as claimed by numerous specialist authors in the Middle East,[19] Latin America,[20] Africa,[21] and China.[22]

Political Contours

In addition to socioeconomic factors, state legitimacy is greatly influenced by performance on the political platform. One yardstick of judging political performance is by evaluating political stability in the country, this is to say, the ability of the state to continue functioning normally in the face of rivalry from the opposition and amounting socioeconomic challenges[23].A good tape measure of political stability and hence political performance is the quality of governance offered by political institutions in the country. This calls for building up strong institutions and clearly defining their functions. Control of corruption in state institutions is an excellent parameter in evaluating the quality of governance.[24] The more efforts a state devotes in controlling corruption in public offices, the more such a state increasing becomes legitimate in the eyes of its citizens. Additionally, rule of law is very resilient in explaining governance and thus legitimacy.[25] This calls for adherent to the constitution while performing state functions. An effective bureaucracy in place too enhances legitimacy,[26] as it improves the credibility and fairness of public policy, aids economic growth and poverty alleviation.[27] In the same basket decentralization and federalism within states has an edge on boosting legitimacy.[28] Stability of financial institutions and property rights, plus market-oriented economic governance and private economic ownership enhances legitimacy partly due to their role in economic growth and freedom.[29] This is what has dominated much of the capitalist literature. However, the notion of market-friendly economic policy has been challenged Marxists and communists who instead regard them as a source of illegitimacy.[30]

Some studies have noted democratic rights as being a key source of legitimacy,[31] moreover with empirical evidences.[32] Civil liberties and political rights rank highly as sources of political support.[33] In un-democratic states, legitimacy overlap for both state and government is tautological, while in democratic states such overlap is an empirical issue since the two are separate. Normally, state legitimacy is greater when government support is greater.[34] Finally, with globalization there is an increasing attention of evaluating state political performance from a global perspective. This is to say, state legitimacy is increasingly being judged with respect to the extent to which a particular state fulfills its international obligations such as economic support,[35] and environmental protection, disaster assistance.[36]

Legitimacy Causes of Military Interventions in Pakistan and Nigeria

We try to link the legitimacy model in an attempt to examine the causes of military intervention in this section.

 Legitimacy Causes of Military Interventions in Pakistan

In the case of Pakistan, the discussion will be confined to three periods 1947 – 1958, 1971 – 1977, and 1988 – 1999. These were periods when the country was in the hands of civilians who were later overthrown by generals

Pakistan in the period 1947 – 1958

Right from the time the British handled over the leadership of Pakistan to Governor General Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1947 to the time the General Muhammad Ayub Khan overthrew the civilian government in 1958, Pakistan has passed through the hands of many civilian governments. The activities and the performances of the politicians during the period needs to be re-examined to understand why General Muhammad Ayub was a liberator in the eyes of people when he emerged on the political scene.

a. Socio -economic Conditions 1947 – 1958

Pakistan was born out of urgency which created problems for the first rulers. Historical records reveal a number of socioeconomic challenges that confronted the new nation. The massive migrations of people across the border into Pakistan during and partition created harmful social conditions that resulted into social problems such as refugees, communal riots, hunger, poverty, unemployment, disease, sudden population growth that persisted on for quite a long time unresolved by the politician during the period. Internal disorder was the order of the day and this was worsened by the external insecurity engineered by Indian establishment. In addition to those, the country was bankrupt, with little financial, human resources and infrastructure. The country received a little share of the financial resources from the British Indian Empire and even the disbursement of the meager finances were delayed by India, had few experiences manpower and virtually no industry worth mentioning. It had almost no industry to create jobs for the masses. All these conditions we can rightly conclude that they created a sense of social mistrust, psychological tremor which greatly eroded government support henceforth legitimacy detraction.

b. Political Conditions 1947-1958

Politically, the country was confronted by the Indus water issue and the question of the Princely states whose future were not determined at the time of drafting the partition. The conflicts with regards to the sharing of the Indus water basin and the question of the four princely states that did not follow the partition principles lied down by Lord Mountbatten on July 25, 1947 added more fuel to the crisis confronting the civilian rulers then. Besides those inherited problems, during this period in the history of the country, there were no elections but politicians simply shuffled power among themselves in form of alliances and intrigues. They worked hard to please the bureaucrats who effectively exercised power. They failed to come to common grounds on many pressing issues due to their rivalry and intrigues and had no regards for accommodative policies and representative institutions.  Such historical challenges and politics that dominated the first civilian administration in Pakistan grossly damaged the political process and consequently eroded the popularity of politicians who came to be perceived as inefficient and corrupt opportunists by the masses. Such activities in the country then created fertile grounds for the military to emerge in 1958 to fill the political vacuum created in the process.

Pakistan in the period 1971 – 1977

The military that overthrew the civilian government in 1958 remained in control of the country until 1971 when civilian rule was restored with Z. A. Bhutto, first as President and later Prime Minister until 1977 when he was overthrown and later hanged by the military government under General Zia on purported murder charges.

a. Socio-economic conditions 1971-1977

Z.A Bhutto’s government was confronted with a number of socioeconomic challenges. There was lawlessness and internal disorder in the country particularly in the Baluchistan and in the Northern areas of Pakistan due to the inappropriate policies of the federal government in those areas. Poverty remained a thorny issue in the country due to lack of viable enterprises, illiteracy, unemployment and widening income inequality. Bhutto’s nationalization program destroyed the private sector and shut the door to direct foreign investments that were very essential in creating opportunities for the masses hence worsening the socioeconomic conditions. The social challenges reinforced and complicated the economic problems that manifested in low growth rates, increasing inflation, low investments and other macroeconomic obstacles.

b. Political Conditions 1971-1977

Bhutto’s political performance was undermined by the social and economic challenges in addition to his own prolonged confrontation with the opposition notably Abdul Wali Khan of National Awami Party and Maulana Maududi of Jamat Islam, which polarized the political climate in the country. The suspension of civil liberties in Baluchistan and NWFP turned a political dismal. Human rights abuses particularly in Baluchistan where the 100,000 troops deployed were accused of killing large numbers of civilians proved an addition political cost to his government.

Z.A Bhutto in an attempt to weaken his political opponents and to further his political ambitions embarked on undermining the provincial governments in Baluchistan and NWFP. He dismissed of Baluchistan government and facilitated the collapse of the NWFP government. He had little regards to institutional path while dealing with provincial governments irrespective of their loyalty to him but rather tended to exert his personal influence.

He plagued his party into PPP factions in different provinces but most prominently Punjab where the conflict between two senior PPP officials Ghulam Mustafa khar and Sheikh Mohammad Rashid led to the creation of two separate party head offices in the province hence dividing the party into two camps.  Bhutto supported Ghulam Mustafa Khar’s moves and helped him in undermining his opponent. Bhutto elevated khar to the post of Punjab Chief Minister in the beginning of his rule but the disagreement between them led to Khar’s dismissal in 1974. The historical founders of PPP in cabinet and in Bhutto’s inner circle reduced rapidly mostly notable with Bhuttos’s dismissal of J.A Rahim and Dr. Mubashir Hassan from the cabinet in 1974.

Bhutto limited participation in government and mobilization in party politics which resulted into coercion by elements in his government. These limits were manifested in his continuation as a marital law administrator for a while and in his numerous reforms. With the party chief’s support, harassment was directed at both party members and the opposition in many forms ranging from arrests, bogus charges and physical intimidation by security agencies. Well as PPP recorded assassination most significantly that of Hyat Mohammad khan Sherpao in 1975, the opposition leaders and supporters took the lion’s share in the political harassment in the form of assassinations that began by the assassination of two of its leaders in 1972, followed by the attempted assignations of Abdul Wali Khan the following year, the murder of the Deputy Speaker of Baluchistan Provincial government in 1974.

We can firmly conclude that the political challenges most of which were punctuated by the Bhutto’s himself and his inner circle greatly eroded support to his government not only from the masses but also PPP which ended up illegitimating the state prompting the military in 1977 to capture state power.

Pakistan in 1988-1990, 1993-1996

The military disposed civilian rule way back in 1977 and consolidated their hold on power until the sudden death of the then military ruler General Zia in 1988. Politics after Zia’s rule went into the hands of civilian administers notably Benazir Bhutto and Muhammad Nawaz Sharif plus a few care-taker civilians. The period 1988-1990 and 1993-1996 was the period when the country was ruled by Benazir Bhutto’s PPP.

  1. Socio-economic conditions 1988-1990, 1993-1996

Well as the governments of Benazir Bhutto were not overthrown by the military par se, there conditions the activities that prevailed during the period and the social, economic and political problems that were inherited and created during that time made military overthrow inevitable, she was just luck that the military did not overrun his government.

The level of sectarian violence during the period as a result of such alliances created a big social problem in the country in the form of lawlessness, undermined efforts to delivery essential social services such as security to all. The persistent social challenges in the country particularly in Karachi that was evident in endless street protests by MQM activists created economic hardships. This was worsened by corruption allegations by those in her inner circle and household.

b. Political Conditions 1988-1990, 1993-1996

The prominent activities that eroded the support of herself and her party included but not limited to the coalition governments he formed during her two terms, extra judicial killings especially in Karachi directed at those suspected of promoting lawlessness and disorder therein. To strength her leadership during 1988-1990, she allied with the SSP and she did the same in 1993-1996.SSP was a party formed on sectarian basis and her association with it meant her government’s blind eyes on its sectarian activities. The SSP was strengthened more in her second term when it was awarded a ministerial portfolio in the Punjab government which it used in promoting sectarianism with immunity. Benazir’s government could not check on the sectarian violence in the country for fear of endangering its coalition. Authors like Vali R. Nasr in “International Politics, Domestic Imperatives, and Identity Mobilization: Sectarianism in Pakistan, 1979-1998” argues that Benazir too embraced and used sectarian in consolidating her position and in consolidating her party hold on Pakistan politics. He asserts that the political deals she made with JUI which had close working relations with SSP did not only shield the SSP from its wrong doings but too strengthened her government by getting more allies.

Allegations of corruption particularly those directed at her husband in addition to her tackling of the crisis in Karachi in which she was accused of extra judicial killing and her relations with the judiciary in which the judiciary dismissed the 24 judges in 1996 appointed based on political inclination turned a political challenge that turned detrimental to her leadership, leading to her dismissal but not military take over. However, John Bray in his publication “Pakistan at 50: A state in decline” argues the dismissal of Benazir’s government by President Farouk Leghari was approved by General Jahangir Karamat.

Pakistan in 1990-1993, 1997-1999

It was a period in the history of the country when the state was in the hands of Nawaz Sharif’s PML.

  1. Socio-economic Conditions

The social challenges especially emanating from sectarian violence were handled with an iron fist which managed to reduce the menace in the country during Nawaz’s term in office 1997-1999 but the nuclear tests conducted during his government in 1998 resulted into sanctions which caused untold social economic challenges hence eroding his authority[37] Poverty was skyrocketing, unemployment was rampant, inflation was on the increase and scarcity of essential items especially imported one came to be the order of the day.[38]

b. Political Conditions

From the political platform, his undermining of the judiciary especially with his alleged attack on the Supreme Court by PML-N youth wingers whose activities forced Chief Justice Sajjid Ali Shah to adjourn a court proceeding against Nawaz Sharif in November 1997[39], corruption in the public sector during his terms in office, political revenge, alleged links to Al Qaeda, increased authoritarianism and confrontation with the country’s  military establishment served him negatively as it reduced his popularity and hence the military had no resistance when the swept him aside in 1999 and forced him to park a few of his belong to Saudi Arabia.[40]

Legitimacy Causes of Military Interventions in Nigerian Politics

We examine the causes of military interventions in the politics of Nigeria during two periods when the civilians were in charge of the country but eventually disposed off by the military. The first period 1960 to 1966 it was right after independence and the second one 1979 to 1985 was the period when Nigeria was under Shehu Shagari another civilian politician who took over when the military disengaged from politics in 1979.

 Causes of Military Interventions in Nigerian Politics 1960 – 1966

The possible legitimate causes of the causes of the downfall of the first governments in favor of the military as under below:

a. Socio-economic Conditions in Nigeria 1960-1966

The economy was not in a good shape in the early 1960s and only underwent a dramatic turn after the discovery of oil in the Niger Delta. There was poverty, unemployment, inflation and these were worsen by wide spread corruption during the civilian government of Tafawa Balewa.[41]

b. Political Conditions in Nigeria 1960 –1966

Politicians in the years leading to independence formed political parties on ethnical basis which created a very intensive rivalry and competition among and between themselves. This act made the country to practice tribal, regional and religious politics right from the beginning which made even coalitions difficult to manage henceforth collapsing within shorter periods of time.[42]

The elections of 1959 which led to the first post-colonial government, the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) formed a coalition government with the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) while the Action Group (AG) became the official opposition.[43] It should be noted that all these parties either in government or in the opposition had an ideological similarity; the NPC was Northern – Muslim, NCNC was Igbo – Christian and AG Yuruba-Christain. In the elections that followed held in 1964 two fragile alliances were also formed comprising of the Nigerian National Alliance (NNA) on one hand and the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA).[44] The NNA had in its ranks NPC and NNDP while the UPGA was formed by AG and NCNC, implying that the alliances that were formed in 1960 were nonexistent in 1964. These alliance saturated ethnicity and discarded patriotism as the pivot of political gravity and made politicians devote much of their resources fighting each other rather than building the country. This partly invited the military to come in to save the country.

In addition to ethnical politics, Azikiwe Nnamdi noted that during the period, there was a general tendency for politician that was characterized by rushing of government measures in parliament without providing enough time for the members to critically study and evaluate them.[45] That weakened the parliament and led to adoption policies that were undemocratic. The frequency at which Members of Parliament crossed from one party to another undermined the political process and created political crisis in the country.   For instance, in January 1952, fourteen members of NCNC and six of its sympathizers crossed to NPC while in 1964, a total of eight MPs of AG crossed to NPC.[46] This act of carpet crossing without going back to seek fresh mandate was unfair to the electorate and weakened democracy.

Well as election in the country was based on adult suffrage, in the Northern region of Nigeria, female were excluded from voting.[47] This created uneven representation in the house in favor of the North which made other member to agitate for constitutional amendments to rectify the problem but which the Northern politicians could not heed too.

The political challenges in the 1960’s that created fertile grounds for the military to intervene in politics of the country can be traced from the elections in 1959 that were marred with electoral irregularities[48] This was worsened by an imbalance created in the polity by the result of the 1961 plebiscite, in which Nigeria lost its Southern Cameroon region to Cameroon.[49] The elections of 1965 further worsen the political crisis in that the Action Group Party was outmaneuvered from its stronghold of Nigeria’s Western Region by the Nigerian National Democratic Party.[50] All these disturbing political problems eroded state legitimacy and formed a basis for military intervention.

Nigeria in the period 1979-1983

This period is popularly known as the second republic in Nigerian politics, which came about when the military disengaged from politics after a long period of time (1966-1979). It was a time in the history of Nigeria where politics from dominated by Shehu Shagari.

a. Socioeconomic Conditions in Nigeria 1979-1983

On the socio-economic front, the government of Shagari was a total failure. The foreign reserves that stood at $7.5 billion at the time the military hand over, it dwindled to less than $1 by the end he was overthrown.[51] External debts on the other hand grow to the tune of $12 billion which placed the country on debt repayment pressure.[52] There were significant slums in both industrial and agriculture production due to non-availability of foreign currency to purchase the much needed raw materials and equipment for industrial production and a general neglect of the agriculture sector since the early 1970s. This increased prices of goods in the country which caused wide spread hardships to the masses. It was reported during the period 1979 and 1981 that the prices of staple food increased by 500%.[53] The slum particularly in the agricultural sector led to mass rural urban migrations which placed a heavy burden on the urban authorities in providing essential services and increments in the prices of housing among others. The budget deficit rose to the tune of 4.9 billion Nairas by the time he was overthrown in 1983.[54] It was reported that public servants went with unpaid salaries and wages for periods between six and eighteen months. This greatly affected their welfare and lowered their standards of living and created tensions between the government and its servants.[55] Despite the financial crisis prevailing in the country than 2 billion Naira were misappropriated on the proposed new federal capital Abuja between 1980 and 1983 and 9.2 billion Naira was wasted on importing luxurious consumer items from the Western world and corruption notably by leading NPN officials became embedded in government in which such individuals turned millionaires overnight.[56]

b. Political Conditions in Nigeria 1979-1983

The situation and the actions of the politicians during the early 1960s which lead to the overthrow of the first civilian governments were evident even in the second democratic government that emerged after military disengagement in 1979. The government that emerged from the elections was of a coalition form in which the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) formed the government and the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and the Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP) formed the opposition.[57] The alliances turned to be fragile in the end as the NPP joined other parties against the NPN in the 1983 elections.

Apart from alliances from well-established parties, the NPN to ensure victory, allied itself with radical groups particularly those from Kaduna headed by a radical journalist then Adamu Chiroma whom after the election, he was awarded the portfolio of agriculture ministry in which 1.6 billion Naira meant for the green revolution by the government went through. The radicals that penetrated into the government undermined it by embezzling public funds, grabbing jobs and influencing government policy in their favor.[58]

In addition to those political facts, both the 1979 and 1983 elections were rigged in favour of the NPN but rigging was massive in the latter in which the Electoral Commission and the police reinforced other government machineries in NPN’s bit to uproot the opposition from its political bases in Kano, Oyo, Anambra, Ondo, Imo and Ogun states.[59] Besides official day light rigging, there was a nationwide harassment directed at the opposition in the form of arrests and physical assorts. The widespread street protests lead to untold number of deaths, arrests and loss of variable items.[60]

Such an extent of political bankrupt during  Shagari’s government greatly reduced support to his government and downgraded state legitimacy to its lowest to the extent that military take over was celebrated as a form of relieve by the Nigerian people at end of 1983.

Comparative analysis of military interventions in the politics of both Pakistan and Nigeria

From the foregoing discussion it is clear that the main reasons for military interventions are similar in both countries.[61]

Electoral frauds and malpractices happened to have been a major source of discontent in the populace in Pakistan and Nigeria which eroded the popularity of parties and politicians. It was one of the reasons that contributed to the downfall of the first civilian governments in 1966 and 1983 in Nigeria and 1977 in Pakistan. However, this could not explain the intervention of the military in Pakistan politics in 1958 since elections were not being held but politicians were just grouping and regrouping to form governments without seeking mandate from the electorates.[62]

The military interventions in the politics of both nations were in form of peaceful transition in Pakistan in all the coups of 1953, 1977 and 1999 as no bloodshed was recorded. However, when it comes to Nigeria, it was the exact opposite. In the 1966 coups, the first one in January the federal Prime Minister, provincial Prime Ministers for Northern and Western regions Abubakar T. Balewa, Ahmadu Bell and Ladoke Akintola respectively were killed and a number of military officers. The coup that followed, the head of state then Major General J.T.U Aguiyi Ironsi was killed.

Bad governance in the form of corruption, political harassments provided legitimate grounds for the military to come into politics, however, corruption was a big issue facing Nigerian civilian government in the 1960s and in the second civilian government of Shagari (1979 to 1983) corruption continues at all grass root levels in Nigeria society, especially in government sector . General Abach disgrace for Nigerian Armed forces , he further corrupt other officers in his government, followed by president obasanjo who took the power in 1999 as civilian authority, after three years in power established anti-corruption team called {EFCC}but obasanjo himself involved in the act of corruption, President yar’adua was a good example for good governance, who declared his assets before he became president in general elections in 2007, laid down seventh agenda , but died soon as he assumed the power, Goodluck  jonathan who was vice president became Nigeria president in 2010, Nigerians experienced bad governance, insecurity, corruption, kidnapping, in his regime , this lead to powerful extremist {Boko haram} the so called islamist group denial western education , elections or democracy government in the country. Boko haram gained international recognition in April 2014, kidnapped more than 230 school girls in northern part of Nigeria, so, president good luck become unpopular later. Among   Significance in Pakistan’s politics during the Nawaz’s time before his overthrow in 1999. However, recorded literature talks nothing about corruption prior to the 1958 military interventions in Pakistan and little traces are attributed to the regime when Z.A Bhutto was in power. Political harassments and intimidations formed the order of the day for politicians in power against their rivals in the opposition in both countries.


  Legitimacy crisis in political arena of Pakistan and Nigeria has suffered both two commonwealth countries, economically, socially as well politically. The repercussions can’t be denied till today. Though it might seem incompatible to talk of military and democracy in the same span. Pakistan provides an example of how the military has been able to govern the country as successfully as a civilian government . It has its own view of democracy. The army’s role and the future of democracy this can be seen in the context of the 17th Amendment. Nigerian Military ostensibly withdrew from government but maintained influence over its successors by confining them within military imposed boundaries. Many prior studies in this area focused on external macro factors that cause military withdrawal from governance, such as pressure from external actors like the EU, USA and UN, and the “snowballing” effects of democratization in order countries.


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[1] – Merriam, Charles; Systematic Politics, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press:1945, p 134.

[2] – Bruce Gilley; The Determinants of State Legitimacy: Results for 72 Countries: International Political Science Review, Vol.27, No. 1; 2006, pp 47-71

[3]– Ibid

[4] – Gurr, Ted; Why Men Rebel. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 1971, pp 421.

[5] – Inglehart, Ronald and Norris, Pippa; Rising Tide: Gender Equality and Cultural Change Around the World. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press; 2003, p 244

[6]6Clarke, H., Ditt, N. and Kornberg, A.. (1993). “The Political Economy of Attitudes Toward Polity and Society in Western European Democracies,” Journal of Politics; 1993, pp 55:998-1021. Coleman, James (1990). Foundations of Social Theory. Cambridge, MA: Havard University Press.

[7] – Finkel, S.E., Miller, E.N. and Seligson, M.A.; “Economics Crisis, Incumbent Performance and Regime Support: A Comparison of Longitudinal Data from West Germany and Costa Rica.” British Journal of Political Science; 1989, pp 19(3): 329-51.

[8] – Haggard, Stephen ; Pathways from the Periphery: The Politics of Growth in the Newly Industrialized Countries. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press; 1990, p 270.

[9] – Lane, Robert Edwards; Political Ideology: Why the American Common Man Believes What He Does. New York: Free Press of Glencoe; 1962, 91-92.

[10] – Munro, Neil; “Post-Communist Regime Support in Space and Time Context, “Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics; 2002, pp 18(2): 103-126.

[11]– Coleman, James; Foundations of social theory; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 1990, p 149.

[12] – Snyder, Jack; From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict. New York: W.W. Norton, New York, 2000, p320.

[13] – Weatherford, M. Stephen; “Measuring Political Legitimacy,” American Political Science Review; 1992. 86(1): 149-66.

[14]14Eckstein, Harry; Support for Regimes: Theories and Tests. Princeton, NJ: Center for International Studies, Princeton University; 1979, Monograph 44.

[15]15Mishler, William and Rose, Ricard; “Political Support for Incomplete Democracies: Realist vs. Idealist Theories and Measures,” International Political Science Review; 2001, 22 (4): 303-21.

[16] – Dettman, Paul; “Leaders and Structures in ‘Third World’ Politics: Contrasting Approaches to Legitimacy, “ Comparative Politics; 1974, 6(2): 245-69.

[17] – Diamond, Larry; Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation. Baltimore, MD: Jonhns Hopkins University Press, Easton; 1999, p 31.

[18] – Svrakov, Andres; Ethnicity, Inequality, and Legitimacy; in B. Denitch (*ed.), Legitimation of Regimes. London: Sage; 1979, p 200.

[19] – Young, Crawford; The Politics of Cultural Pluralism. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press; 1976, p 574

[20] – Huntington, Samuel; The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon and Schuster; 1996, p 350.

[21] – Hudson, Michael; Arab Politics: The Search for Legitimacy. New Heaven, CT: Yale University Press; 1977, pp 33-35.

[22]22Horowitz, Irving Louis; “The Norm of Illegitimacy: The Political Sociology of Latin American,” in I.L.

 Horowitz, J .De Castro and J.Gerassi (eds), Latin American Radicalism. New York: Random House; 1969, p 453.

[23]23Englebert, Pierre; State Legitimacy and Development in Africa; Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. Esty, D.C., Levy; 2000, p244.

[24] – Zhong,, Yang; Legitimacy Crisis and Legitimization in China, “Journal  of Contemporary Asia; 1996, 26(2): 201-20.

[25] – Fukuyama, Francis; Stateness’ First; Journal of Democracy; 2005, 16(1): 83-88.

[26] – Anderson, CJ. and Tverdova, Y.V.; Corruption, Political Allegiances, and Attitudes Toward Government in Contemporary Democracies,” American Journal of Political Science; 2003, 47(1); 91-109

[27] – Huntington, Samuel; The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon and Schuster; 1996, p 350.

[28] – Hudson, Micheal; Arab Politics: The Search for Legitimacy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press; 1977, pp 33-35.

[29] – Horowitz, Irving Louis; “The Norm of Illegitimacy: The Political Sociology of Latin America,” in I.L. Horowitz, J. De Castro and J. Gerassi (eds), Latin American Radicalism. New York: Random House; 1969, p 453

[30]30Englebert, Pierre; State Legitimacy and Development in Africa; Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. Esty, D.C., Levy; 2000, p244.

[31] – Zhong, Yang; Legitimacy Crisis and Legitimization in China, “Journal of  Contemporary Asia; 1996, 26(2): 201-20.

[32] – Fukuyama, Francis; Stateness, ’ First; Journal of Democracy; 2005, 16(1): 83-88.

[33] – Anderson, CJ. and Tverdova, Y.V.; Corruption, Political Allegiances, and Attitudes Toward Government in Contemporary Democracies,” American Journal of Political Science; 2003, 47(1): 91-109.

Ackerman, Bruce; We The People. Foundations, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press; 1991, p 372

[34] – Huntington, Samuel; Political order in changing societies; New Haven, CT: Yale University Press; 1968, p 93-133.

[35] – Evans, p. and Rauch, J.; Bureaucracy and Growth: Across-National Analysis of the Effects of ‘Weberian’ State Structures on Economic Growth; American Sociology Review; 1999, pp64(4): 748-65.

[36] – Henderson, Vernon and Arzaghi, Mohammad; Why Countries are Fiscally Decentralizing; Journal of Public Economics; 1999, 89 (7); 1157-89.

[37] – Armijo, Leslie Elliott and Faucher, Philippe; We have a Consensus’: Explaining Political Support for Market Reforms in Latin American Politics and Society; 2002, pp 44(2): 1-41.

[38]39Chua, Amy; World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability New York: Doubleday; 2003, pp ix, 340.

[39] – Falk, Richard; On Humane Governance: Toward a New Global Politics. Cambridge: Polity Press; 1995, p 288.

[40] – Diamond, Larry; op.cit-pp 15(4): 20-31.

[41] – Mishler, William and Rose, Richard; Political Support for Incomplete Democracies: Realist vs. Idealist Theories and Measures, “ International Political Science Review; 2001, 22 (4): 303-21.

[42] – Hofferbert, Richard I. and Klingemann, Hans-Dieter; Remembering the Bad Old Days: Human Rights, Economic Conditions, and Democratic Performance in Transitional Regimes, European Journal of Political Research; 1999, 36(2): 155-74

[43]44Rose, R.; Support for Parliaments and Regimes in the Transition toward Democracy in Eastern Europe,’ Legislative Studies Quarterly; 1994, 19(1): 5-32

[44] – Pogge, Thomas; Moral Universalism and Global Economic Justice; Politics, Philosophy and Economics; 2002, 1(1): 29-58.

[45] – Frickel, Scott and Davidson, Debra J.; Building Environment States: Legitimacy and Rationalization in Sustainability Governance; International Sociology; 2004, 19(1): 89-110

[46] – Yusuf Hamid; Pakistan; op.cit, p274

[47] – Zarina Salamat; op.cit , p 261.

[48] (retrieved on 21/12/2010).

[49] (retrieved on 21/12/2010).

[50], retrieved on 20th December 2010.

[51] – Yusuf Hamid, op.cit p274.

[52] – Ibid

[53] – Ibid

[54]55Awan Muhammad Tariq “History of India and Pakistan”; Ferozsons,; Lahore 1991

[55] – Yusuf Hamid, op.cit p274.

[56], retrieved on 2nd March 2011.

[57] – Waseem Mohammad  “Causes of  Democratic Downslides” Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 37, No.44/45 (Nov.2-15, 2002), pp.4532-4538

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[59] – Yusuf Hamid , op.cit p274.

[60] – Ziring Lawrence “Pakistan in the Twentieth Century”; A Political History; OUP; Oxford 1997, p647

[61], (retrieved on 18/6/2011).

[62], (retrieved on 18/6/2011).

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