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NIGERIA’S FOREIGN POLICY AFTER THE COLD WAR

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NIGERIA’S FOREIGN POLICY AFTER THE COLD WAR

 

 

ABSTRACT

Nigeria’s Foreign Policy after the Cold War offers the first comprehensive assessment of the post–Cold War foreign policy of Nigeria, one of West Africa’s consequential actors in regional politics. Contributors to this edited volume (comprising both academics and diplomats) adopted the concept of “concentric circles” to analyze Nigeria’s most vital domestic challenges and critical regional/external influences from both historical and contemporary perspectives, assessing Nigeria’s relations with its neighbors, with the African continent, with international organizations, and with the global powers. Because foreign policy is an extension of the domestic policy of a nation, the debates in this book, while multifaceted, share the premise that effective foreign policy must be built on a sound domestic base and democratic stability. Nigeria’s imposing position in Africa is of long standing. The significance of its size, population, and economic potential had been recognized even before independence by the British, who perceived Nigeria as likely to play a major role in Africa; as early as 1964 Claude S. Phillips stated that “Nigeria was potentially the greatest power in Africa” (The Development of Nigerian Foreign Policy [Northwestern University Press, 1964], vii). But this was the Nigeria of the 1960s; what has happened to the Nigeria of today? Between 1970 and 1990 Nigerian diplomacy was central to the mobilization of support for nationalists and antiapartheid causes in Southern Africa, and promotion of conflict resolution and democratic governance in West Africa. A country like Nigeria, with its large and dynamic population, could have an important role to play in the international system.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

  • INTRODUCTION
    • BACKGROUND OF STUDY

Oxford University’s Centre for International Studies and its Centre for African Studies held a seminar on the domestic, regional and external dimensions of Nigeria’s foreign policy after the Cold War. The seminar took place at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, from 11 to 12 July 2003, and featured about forty participants, mostly scholars and practitioners, with many of them based in Nigeria.

  • At the heart of this conference on Nigeria’s foreign policy in the post-Cold War era was the question of whether a relatively resourceful and ambitious country like Nigeria can be a force for stability and democratization in Africa. This is an important question, given the enormity of Africa’s problems and the limited interest and commitment of many external actors to the continent following the end of the Cold Wa r. The theoretical and practical aspects of Nigeria’s foreign policy, the institutions and processes of policy formulation, and the “c o n c e n t r i c circles” of domestic, regional and external influences on Nigeria’s foreign policy were therefore the major issues discussed during the conference.
  • The end of the Cold War has resulted in a fundamental change in the dynamics of contemporary international politics. Developing countries, l i ke Nigeria, with oil wealth, a large army and a large pool of well-educated citizens are now able to play a leadership role in Africa, due to the reduced strategic significance of the continent for major external powers. However, while policymakers and executors of Nigeria’s foreign policy appear to be committed to responding to demands, pressures and influences from the external environment to contribute to regional peacekeeping, they also need to respond appropriately to domestic pressures and influences, especially those derived from popular public opinion. A civilian regime, unlike military governments, also faces pressure from the parliament and the press.
  • While Nigeria’s immense potential is clearly based on its demographic size of over 100 million people, its multiethnic population, its vast oil reserves and its reservoir of highly skilled and educated people, the majority of its people remain poor with a per capital income of less than $500. Likewise, while Nigeria has played a vital role in international p e a c e keeping both under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), as well as ECOMOG (the Economic Community of West African States Ceasefire Monitoring Group), Nigeria itself has been immersed in conflict, either at the level of intra-elite struggles for power or conflicts within the context of its troubled federal experiment. Thus, while Nigeria possesses the necessary potential as well as institutional structures needed to formulate a vibrant foreign policy, its constraints lie in domestic factors, namely, the nature of the foreign policy elite and Nigeria’s economic dependence and vulnerability.
  • R e g i o n a l l y, Nigeria has seen itself and been perceived by others, as a global player on the world stage, from its role in the African liberation struggle and its leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) during the Cold War era to more recent peacekeeping operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Nigeria’s approach to both Africa and its immediate neighbors is based on a policy of decolonization, non-interference, respect for inherited borders, economic integration and commitment to practical policies that promote African unity.
  • E x t e r n a l l y, since its independence in 1960, Nigeria has sought to play a full and active role in the international community. Its leaders have attached even greater importance to this role because Nigeria has felt a special responsibility, as Africa’s most populous nation, to act as an unofficial spoke s p e r s o n for Africa and for all black people in international fora. Some have defined this as a Pax Nigeriana, an effort to achieve hegemonic leadership in Africa by a country that accounts for over half of West Africa’s population and economic strength and has a 94,000- strong army that dwarfs the combined strength of those of its fourteen ECOWAS neighbors. Examining the ways in which Nigeria has pursued its foreign policy objectives through an extensive network of multilateral relations and the impact of external factors in its foreign policy formulation is a critical dimension in the study of Nigeria’s foreign policy after the Cold War. Likewise, an analysis of Nigeria’s key bilateral relationships with South Africa, Cameroon, France, Britain, the United States (US) and Japan is also critical to understanding Nigeria’s post-Cold War foreign policy.
  • STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

One of the major challenges facing Nigeria’s foreign policy is the plight of Nigerians in prisons abroad. Over 9,000 Nigerians are in various prisons all over the world, the highest number of 752 being recorded in the United Kingdom.  Most of them are concentrated in the Asia-Pacific with many of them on death row. Given these alarming numbers and the imperative need to find creative solutions to the plight of these Nigerians, we convened regional seminars of Nigerian Heads of Mission in six centres. The Seminar for the Asia-Pacific region took place from April 4–5, 2013. At the end of the Seminar, the Heads of Mission made far-reaching recommendations, including the need to raise awareness in Nigeria on the dangers of irregular migration as well as involvement in transnational crimes, especially drug trafficking. In the immediate term, the Missions have been directed to explore the conclusion of Prisoner Exchange Agreements with the various countries, to ensure that those prisoners in foreign jails are repatriated home in dignity to complete their jail terms.

  • OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

This study analyzes the disappointing performance of Olusegun Obasanjo as a civilian president, as well as the dismal legacy of his administration. The April 2007 election was widely believed to be the most fraudulent in the history of Nigeria. Furthermore, as Oladapo Fafowora points out in his chapter, “the pre-occupation of Nigerian leaders with domestic affairs and the country’s weak economic base have often combined to impose severe constraints on the development of a well-defined and coherent foreign policy. Nigerian diplomats are themselves victims of this failure. It is the government that has ultimate responsibility for defining the country’s foreign policy objectives. Nigerian diplomats are merely the tools for achieving these goals.

Here are the wider objectives for the study as a whole:

(a) To state the fundamentals of nations’ foreign policies,

(b) To construct concise definitions of foreign policy,

(c) To write the patterns of state relations,

(d) To arrange the historical development of foreign policy analysis as an area of study,

(e) To suggest the dimensions and scope of state interactions,

(f) To define the qualifications and duties of state actors,

(g) To identify the factors that affects foreign policies of states,

(h) To describe foreign policy as an instrument of inter-state relations,

(i) To analyze the importance of states’ foreign policy decision makers,

(j) To state the contributions of leaders in foreign policy making and execution.

 

 

 

  • RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The Field of Foreign Policy has today become enormously specialized. Similarly, activities involved in the conduct of external affairs of states have equally expanded tremendously. “The field of foreign policy has increasingly become specialized as issues in international relations have become very complex. The Foreign Policy landscape has also expanded and has historically remained intrigue dominated” The statement above testifies to the complexities, intricacies and enormity nature of Foreign Policy Formulation.

Thus, apart from the expansion in the conduct of states interactions, there is the challenge of closely related institutional actors in Nigeria for resources, what this means is that The (NIIA) finds itself as an institution of the Nigerian State in a situation where she must complete with similar policy formulation bodies such as national Institute for Policy and strategic studies (NIPSS) and National Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER) etc. to gain government attention and recognition. “NIIA now operates in a context where it has to compete with similar institutions for the attention of government and the Nigerian public”.

Each of the institutions would generate ideas that would attract the attention of the political authorities. This development has become a major challenge to the (NIIA) over the years. The close resources and supremacy may be detrimental to the entire system”. Bureaucratic and political competition sometimes mean that a state is running several foreign policies simultaneously” thus leaving government with adopting the most viable alternative or options.

The question then is what constitutes Nigeria’s national interests. Our national interests are internal cohesion, national unity, the creation of a happy and egalitarian society, the creation of a state where career is open to talents and where there IS employment for those who want to work and where there are the traditional freedoms of speech, political association, religion and equality before the Law, coupled with this is the defense of the humanity and rights of all black men through deliberate action and policies. These to me constitute our national interest.

  • RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

Ho:   Nigerian foreign policies since the cold war have no significant impact on the growth and development of Nigeria.

Hi: Nigerian foreign policies since the cold war still have very significant impact on the growth and development of Nigeria.

  • SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study focuses on Nigeria’s foreign policy under the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007. It looks at the influence of personality on the conduct of foreign policy. Other areas which this study covers include the domestic factors that influenced the foreign policy of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Moreover, the key achievements of Obasanjo’s foreign policy as regards domestic economic growth, political stability, regional security, and international participation are covered in this research. However, the research will be limited to the foreign policy implementations of President Olusegun Obasanjo and does not intend to provide a biography of the man nor do a comprehensive study of all his political activities in Nigeria.

  • LIMITATION OF STUDY

In producing such a work like this, the problem confronting the researcher is not the scarcity of materials but its availability some of which are bias in their presentation. More so, this research work is contemporary and politically sensitive.  The researcher therefore is confronted with the problem of interpretation of the actions of  President Olusegun Obasanjo as some of the policies initiated are still an on-ongoing process.

Finally, there is the question of time and fund which may serve as impediments to this research.  Nevertheless, these limitating factors will greatly be managed to make the research work more objective in its presentation.

  • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Historical research method is used in carrying out this study. However, a critical examination of the dramatic relations between Nigeria and other countries during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration from 1999 to 2007 will be analyzed using findings from both primary and secondary sources.

The primary sources include written documents such as government publications, letters, correspondence, documentaries and newspapers. Oral interviews were conducted to complement the other sources.

Furthermore, this research work depends largely on archival materials to gather relevant materials on the study. Field trips will also be employed to access information from the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to get relevant information regarding the research work.

Moreover, this study depends on secondary sources such as books, journals, conference proceedings and internet sources which are to be explored to enrich this work.

 

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