A number of factors have been identified as the cause or the military coups in West Africa. Some of these factors include:
The desire of Politicians to stay power indefinitely: it has been the
habit of West African politicians to stay in power even long after they have outlived their usefulness. In order to stay in power indefinitely most West Africa leaders amended the constitution to help them perpetuate their rule while it is a general practice in West Africa to rig the election in as to aid the old political leaders to continue to stay in power.
- Corruption: West Africa political leaders have been accused of being corrupt. Most African leaders enter politics to amass wealth for themselves and their members of their families. Corruption is so rampant in West Africa that contracts cannot be awarded without kickbacks.
- Favoritism and Nepotism: the military leaders had accused civilian leaders of practicing favoritism and nepotism to safeguard the interest of their friendly and relatives. Often, important jobs and expensive contracts are given to known to ends and the result of their practice of favoritism and nepotism is general indiscipline and inefficiency among workers in West Africa.
- Misappropriation and Embezzlement of Funds: The reports of
various commissions of inquiries set up after the overthrow of civilian leaders in some West Africa countries showed evidence of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds by civilian politicians. Money meant for developments of local areas was often diverted y a minister of state. Politicians who were as poor as a church mouse before their political appointment become wealthy men and women in a couple of years.
- Abuse of power: West African leaders have also been accused of the arrest and detention of political opponents. In most cases, political opponents were arrested and detained for several years with at trail.
6. Encouraging tribalism: In most West African countries, civilized leaders do engaged in tribal sentiments to aid their ambition example, in Nigeria the three major tribes- Yoruba, Hausa and they were hopelessly divided by some unscrupulous politicians. Such intense tribal feeling might work against political stability.
- Mal-administration: Most African leaders preferred given important appointments to some in-illiterate politicians with the result that these inexperienced and ill-illiterate politicians with the result that these inexperienced and ill-educated leaders fumbled in the administration of the country. Improper management of the administration of the country affects effectiveness of the government.
- Inability to Maintain Law and Order: Government in West Africa were often accused of inability to maintain law and order. They were unable to contain political unrest and violent clashes between the supporters of the ruling party on one hand and the opposition on the other. They crisis in the former Western Nigeria which started in 1965 resulted in the total breakdown of law and order and consequently contributed to the military take-over in 1966.
- Economic -mismanagement: Most West African government were lot prudent in their economic plans. Several prestige projects were embarked upon and a huge amount of money was wasted on projects that were not economically viable. Wasteful Spending resulted in the depletion of foreign reserves of the country and consequently this brought about untold hardship to the people. For example, in the last few years of the administration of Nkrumah in Ghana, there were shortages of all the known basic and essential commodities.
- Inordinate ambition of soldiers to rule: it is an open secret that soldiers in West Africa nursed the ambition to rule since they believed that they could do better than their civilian politicians. The inordinate ambition of soldiers to rule drove them to stage coups in West Africa.