African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 389

Full Length Research Paper

Government by incompatibles: A case study of the 1960 - 1964 Nigerian federal government

Emmanuel Oladipo Ojo
Department of History and International Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Ado-Ekiti, P. M. B. 3563, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria. 
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 02 November 2010
  •  Published: 31 December 2010


In the Western world, governments are put in place for the benefit of the masses. Thus, in the formation of government and the initiation and implementation of policies and programmes, the interests of the masses are paramount and sacrosanct and are consequently safeguarded and protected. One cardinal factor that has made this possible is the fact that governments, in that part of the world, are formed by the compatibles - that is by people and parties that are united in thought, principle and ideology and are unwavering in their commitment to adding value to human life. Conversely, in the third world, particularly in Africa, governments are formed, in most cases, for reasons other than altruistic. Across Africa and particularly in Nigeria, governments are formed, first and foremost, to benefit individuals, ethnic and social groups. Since being in government is generally seen as being at the fountain-head of wealth as well as the best form of insurance against domination by other ethnic or social groups, ethnic groups (and by implication, political parties which, more often than not, are ethnically or regionally based) do everything possible to control or partly control the federal government. Since Nigeria is a multi-ethnic state with no nationally acknowledged political leader; with the exception of the present People’s Democratic Party government, Nigeria’s federal governments had always been in the form of alliance between political parties. In the formation of these alliances however, principle and ideology have no place whatsoever and since ideological compatibility is what keeps alliance-governments together, virtually all Nigeria’s alliance-governments turned out to be governments by incompatibles. This article examines the reasons for and the consequences of the formation of one of such governments by incompatibles in Nigeria.


Key words: governments by incompatibles, alliance-governments, masses, political parties, Africa, Western World.