The return to democratic governance in Nigeria in 1999 after 16years of military rule 1983-1999) was facilitated by a constellation of factors. One of these factors was the sanctions imposed on the country by the international community, notably, the Commonwealth European Union, United states and Canada, on account of serious human rights violations, repression of opposition (NADECO), unfavourable political climate, amongst others. The intransigence and obduracy of the Abacha government to adhere to civilized norms by hanging the Ogoni Nine Activist in 1995 despite strong appeals and oppositions from world leaders such as Nelson Mandela of South Africa and the Commonwealth provided the spark that led to the ranging of sanctions on Nigeria , including suspension from the Commonwealth Organization that the Abacha government embarked on a transition programme by registering five political parties and giving s time frame for a return to democracy were a direct function of he sanctions imposed by the international community. The death of Abacha on June 8, 1998, brought Abubakar to power. Having read the mood of both the political class and the international community and also the impact sanctions had wrought on various sectors of the Nigerian economy , the Abubakar regime speedily embarked on an 11 months transition programme. Thus, on May, 29th 1999, a civilian president, Obasanjo was sworn in to usher in the 4th republic. Nigeria has so far witnessed an unbroken 15years of democratic experiment, the longest since the country gained independence in 1960. This paper examined the role sanctions played in bringing about democracy in Nigeria by availing of secondary sources such as books, articles, periodicals, magazines, newspapers and embellished these with personal insights, as data. The study strongly contends that but for the unyielding attitude of the Abacha regime to world opinion, the sanctions imposed on Nigeria would have been averted. However, it is still the same sanction that inevitably played a significant role in promoting democracy in the country. The paper therefore recommended that to stem such negative reactions from the international community in future, certain objective institutional frameworks be put in place domestically and externally to enhance its image and conduce sustainable democracy. Keywords: sanctions, democracy, role, Nigeria.