Veterans as a Stabilising Factor in Politics: West Africa as a Case Study
This paper discusses civil-military relations in Africa with an emphasis on regional instabilities as they affect the economic, socio-cultural, and political settings of the people. It observes the involvement of war veterans in civil rule as becoming a norm and underscores the interface between the veterans and the professional politicians in government. This research is intended to bring to light the enormous influence veterans hold and have the potential to wield in the political landscape in Africa. The further work of this paper is to explore germane issues such as, who are the likely beneficiaries of veterans in politics? why must veterans embrace politics? and, in whose interest will the veterans’ involvement in politics be protected? Veterans, especially those who retire with high military ranks, have built knowledge of and relationships with politicians at every level of governance and also occupy high status position notably because of their military background and perceived affluence, materially and otherwise. Such circumstances have produced a president, senate president, executive governors, local government chairmen, and others in Nigeria. Despite the existence of clearly defined checks and balances, trust for the veterans continues to be elusive and shrouded in fear, distrust, annoyance, and hate. However, this author stands with those who believe that veterans as political leaders have brought stability and peace, and serve as a unification point between extremists, thereby fostering peace and unity and a rare form of democratic rule that is not only unique but evolving.