[OPINION] Can We Just Bring Back “War Against Indiscipline”? By Ogundana Michael Rotimi


Ogundana Michael Rotimi

In March 1984, a military decree was enacted “War Against Indiscipline”, sometimes called WAI, supported by General Muhammadu Buhari and General Tunde Idiagbon. The program’s intention was to instil public morality, social order, civic responsibilities in Nigerians, and promote Nigerian nationalism.

One of the objectives of WAI was the encouragement of customers and citizens to line up to board buses and mostly line up or queue for high demand services. Other objectives included the encouragement of women to train their wards, as the culture then considered child raising a predominantly female skill and proper home training would groom future disciplined adults.

The second objective was to encourage hard work, which was introduced in May 1984. This objective like many others was buoyed by the use of government owned media.

While the third and fourth phases focused on patriotism and eradicating economic sabotage and corruption. In July 1985, the General Buhari administration launched environmental sanitation as the fifth phase of the program.

However, today, this programme has almost gone into extinction and a contemporary Nigerian society is another home for indiscipline.

Indiscipline pervades our life so completely that one may be justified to call it the condition par excellence of a Nigerian society. Indiscipline in the home, in schools, in public sectors, in the private sector, in government and legislative assemblies, on the road, in the hospital, even in sacred houses (Churches and Mosques). And so on ad infinitum.

It is no exaggeration that indiscipline is becoming a norm in our society today, thereby deforming every moral value and threatening to transform our collective consciousness beyond recognition. This phenomenon has reached an unimaginable proportion in the country that we now barely see it has wrong deed but rather seen as a form of smartness. Hence, it is imperative to act fast so as to curb this anomaly with the re-introduction of the programme- War Against Indiscipline.

Social indiscipline is gradually becoming a culture in our society, particularly with respect to management of public resources and handling of public properties. Majority of Nigerians today do not have respect for public properties and handle them roughly while some go ahead to damage them.

Indiscipline in our society is responsible for some of the challenges we`re facing today in the country – indiscipline among political office holders is responsible for the malicious and selfish policies in offices and corruption at high places. Indiscipline among police officers is responsible for some of the security challenges we are confronted with the country today. Apart from bad roads, indiscipline among road users is responsible for many of the accidents we experience on our roads. Aside from modest facilities in our hospital, indiscipline among health workers is responsible for some of the death in our hospital. Indiscipline among students and teachers in our schools, and so on.

How on earth do we expect meaningful development with the level of indiscipline that abounds in our society?

Unlucky is the country where indiscipline is seen by the ordinary people as the prerogative of the high and mighty, for by the same token discipline will be seen as a penalty which the rank and file must pay for their powerlessness.

You see, with the current state of indiscipline in the country, there is an urgent need for the incoming administration of General Buhari to re-introduce “War Against Indiscipline”, but this time with a democratic face. There are no doubts that there were allegations of human right abuses in the previous one introduced by a Military decree. But this is a democratic set up in need of discipline to drive home the plans and agenda of the incoming administration and to see the nation through achieving greatness. The President-elect knows this; that every action to be taken must be constitutionally backed up. Hence, there would be no need for fears of human right abuses if the programme is re-introduced. With discipline instilled in every sector of the nation, people will do the right thing without being forced to do so and consequently, the nation will achieve greatness.

Therefore, it is on this note, that I call on the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari to consider re-introducing the programme- War Against Indiscipline but this time with a democratic face. Until we have a disciplined society, we still have a very long way to go.



God Bless Nigeria

Ogundana Michael Rotimi

I tweet @MickeySunny


  1. what nonsense are you talking about,are still operating with decrees,WAI was used to mess and torture Nigerians then,nothing on earth will make it to be introduced again,it was meant to intimidate civilians and those against the government then.

    • Domjay, from your comment above it is very clear you did not read this article through or probably you did not understand this phrase “War Against Indiscipline but this time with a democratic face” which was repeatedly used towards the end the article. We cannot gainsay the impact of indiscipline on our Society, economy and other aspect of human endeavour in the Country. The war should be also against corruption which has eaten deep into the fabric our society. The clarion call shall be henceforth War Against indiscipline and corruption (WAIC).


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