Political transition in Nigeria has been based not only on the military ruler's conviction that civil rule was desirable but also on the expectation of the people that, after the military performed its rescue operation, it should turn power over to civilians. Gowon and Buhari failed to meet this expectation, reducing their popular support and resulting in their overthrows. In accepting demilitarization as a necessary process, political transition has been on the agenda of every military government since Ironsi's, with the probable exception of that of Buhari. Ironsi set up a Constitution Review Committee, whose task was overtaken by the promulgation of the unitary decree; Gowon designed a transition plan, which he later aborted; the Muhammad/Obasanjo governments successfully executed a transition program and handed power over to civilians; and Babangida in 1990 was implementing a transition program, designed to culminate in civilian rule in 1992.
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