1.1. Background of the Study
The Fourth Republic was widely and enthusiastically embraced by Nigerians who were by this time completely frustrated, disenchanted and disillusioned with military rule. With the transition to the Fourth Republic, many Nigerians looked forward to the end of the authoritarian and tyrannical rule of the military, a constitutional democracy that would broaden popular participation in governance.
More importantly, most Nigerians felt that with the experience, and track record of General Olusegun Obasanjo (retired) who was elected president on the platform of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP), Nigeria was set on a course of change for the better; and coupled with the fact that he was the Head of State that midwifed the transition to civil rule that led to the 2nd Republic in 1979. In his inaugural speech on May 29, 1999, Obasnajo stated inter alia:
Nigeria is wonderfully endowed by the Almighty with human and other resources. It does no credit either to us or the entire black race if we fail in managing our resources for quick improvement in the quality of life of our people… This is a challenge before us … Let us rise as one to face the tasks ahead and turn this daunting scene into opportunities in the new dawn. Let us make this the beginning of a genuine Renaissance (The NEWS, May 29, 2006: 14) Little did people know that Obasanjo would not match his word with action or practice what he preached – as Nigerians found themselves, in the eight years of his administration desperately plunged into patrimonial ruling system or another round of (civilian) dictatorship. In the words of Fawehinmi (2007: 28): Obasanjo’s eight years of administration was characterized by ‘self-centred disposition, deception, creating a few rich people, antimasses programmes, lack of coherent policies, so much wealth coming to the hands of government out of which Nigerians received aggravated poverty and economic pain’.