Nigeria’s foreign policy: Africa to take centre stage? | Africa Practice
Nigeria's image has been shaped by a number of factors since To ascertain the effect of Nigeria's Foreign Policy on her global image in the its national interests and to achieve its goals within the international relations milieu. It is the. The promotion of Nigerian national interest as a foreign policy objective has role within its immediate West African sub-region than on the wider African continent. However ties with the rest of Africa are not as strong, and relations with other disease from Nigeria, but missed the opportunity to gain further international. Since independence, the guiding principle of Nigeria's foreign policy of its national interests, in both its bilateral and its multilateral relations.
The third element of foreign policy is the means for achieving that particular goal or objectives. In recent times however, due to the deepening level of globalization and transnational activities, relations and interactions have been known to exist between state and non- state actors in the international political arena. These relations in their own way have influenced several foreign policies between nation states.
The foreign policy of any nation is the external projection of some of the domestic policies of that country that may have relevance in such arena. Both domestic and foreign policies of a country are interrelated, or perhaps more accurately stated, are more inter-penetrated.
It is thus appropriately defined as: That response may be friendly or aggressive, causal or intense, simple or complex, but it is always there.
Some countries can at different times be friends or enemies or valued allies, with a relatively long or short period of time. But the relationship was restored at the end of the war. Besides, the policy of non-recognition of the apartheid regime of South Africa by Nigeria changed with the installation of a black majority rule by the African National Congress ANC country. The point to keep in mind is that whatever forms it takes; some response to the outside world is always there.
Foreign relations of Nigeria
In effect, every country must have a foreign policy in order to live and survive as an independent body in the complex, sometime dangerous, world we live in today. Essentially therefore, countries all over the world design and implement foreign policies in order to guide their external relations as well as protect, promote and defend their vital national interests.
This could be in areas like defence of territorial integrity, the promotion of economic, military, strategic and diplomatic interests and whatever a country might consider as its vital national interest. Section 19 of and constitution of the Federal Republic had gone further to set the foreign policy objectives of the Nigerian state thus: The foreign policy shall be: Thus the Foreign Policies under Goodluck Jonathan's administration were deduced from the above and they include: Components of foreign policy According to Obi Foreign policy is a product of many factors and forces [ 1 ].
Some of these factors and forces are natural, while some are man-made. Also while some are permanent others are temporary. It is the sum total of these that are referred to as components of foreign policy.
Rodee in Obi states that in devising foreign policy, a nation must consider certain basic facts of its existence [ 1 ]. The frame of reference includes its geographical situation, population potential, economic endowment and ideological environment. Brecher in Obi summed the components as geography, external and global environment, personalities, economic and military position and public opinion as the major components of foreign policy.
Rosenau in Obi differs a bit in his own components [ 1 ]. He listed size, geography, economic development, culture and history, great power structure alliances, technology, social structure, moods of opinion, political accountability, governmental structure, and situational factors both external and internal.
The geographical characteristics of size, topography, shape and climate are important factors. A state with a sizeable territory, good climate, natural defence boundaries, arable land for food production and a shape which is compact and easier to defend is seen as possessing the necessary power potential that enables a state to prosecute independent foreign policy. Also, the geographical location of a country, to a very large extent determines its defence policies.
Countries that have aggressive and troublesome neighbors must have a policy based on how to contain them, either through arm build-up or through military alliances. The military strength of a nation to a large extent influences its foreign policy. Countries that are militarily strong often adopt aggressive postures on issues they feel strongly about.
This is because they back their tough stance with actions. Morganthau in Obi states that the dynamic force which moulds international relations is to be found in the states drive for power. Power is also a means for serving national interest.
Nations that are militarily strong, most often believe that in international politics, might is right. All their policies are framed in such a way that when persuasion fails, power comes in handy to help them actualize their goals. In defining foreign policy, Karl Deutsch in Obi included the pursuit and protection of a country's economic interest.
This goes to show the importance of economic consideration in foreign policy. Nations necessity to engage in trade with other nations in other to sell what they have in abundance and buy what they need and do not have at all or sufficiently reflects their economic interest.
The ability of every state to pursue its foreign policy successfully also depends on its economic position. Developed countries because of their developed economy have been able to pursue their foreign policy with much success.
Foreign policies like domestic policies are product of various processes. The elite who make these policies are human beings, who have their individual preferences, world views and emotions.
The decisions which they make to a large extent reflect their personality. Frankel in Obi states that policy choices flow inexorably from the composite images of competing elites within the political system. It is therefore very difficult to divorce the personality of a leader from the policies of his government. It is therefore apt to say that the personality of leaders plays a very prominent role in determining foreign policy of their countries.
According to Obi, though a populous nation does not automatically translate to a strong nation, population is a factor in the strength of nations. A country's population is a very important factor in its rating and status abroad. Public opinion as a factor in foreign policy making is particularly important in real democratic countries where the government cannot easily go against the grain of public opinion.
Therefore foreign public opinion determines foreign policy of a country. President Olusegun Obasanjo, at inauguration inherited a nation with a battered image and without credibility externally. He made efforts to build the country's image and re-integrate Nigeria into the world while regaining her lost glory through shuttle diplomacy. The foreign policy direction by the Obasanjo administration was intended to address and redress the perceived inadequacy inherent in concentricism African centred foreign policy: He nonetheless, set out in achieving this lofty principle through a number of approaches.
The most visible was his deliberate decision to personally embark on shuttle political diplomacy, earning him the title of the most travelled Nigerian Head of State in Oluyemi [ 8 ]. The election that brought President Yar'Adua into power was reported by international observers as being flawed and most rigged in Nigeria. The European Union specifically criticised the elections as being seriously faulty and did not meet the required international standards.
The democratic credibility of the country became questionable as a result [ 8 ]. According to Agbu citizen diplomacy is a political concept depicting the involvement of average citizens engaging representatives of another country either inadvertently or by design [ 9 ].
At the time President Yar'Adua came into office, it was worthy of note that his health had been severely threatened. While he was trying to manage his ill-health, Yar'Adua made no provisions for the Vice President to act in his absence.
Thus, the consequence was that the ship of the Nigerian state was sailing rudderless on the international waters of foreign policy. Without functional institutions and without a leader, Nigeria's foreign relations and indeed the State of Nigeria also went into coma when Yar'Adua went into coma in Saudi Arabian hospital. Nigeria failed to show up at important international meetings, lost many positions in multilateral associations, forsook obligations, and found herself in a situation where many of her allies started wondering what had gone wrong with Nigeria This eventually led to the death of late Yar'Adua on May 5thhis Vice, former President Jonathan was appointed acting president of Nigeria until the election where he won the seat of the president of Nigeria.
In his capacity as the acting President, Jonathan embarked on a number of diplomatic shuttles, as part of a deliberate attempt to reassure the world that Nigeria was well and secure despite the internal political challenges especially with the challenges of succession it was going through. Nigeria literally returned to the international arena.
One of the shuttles took him to the USA where he met with his American counterpart which enabled the delisting of Nigeria from the discriminatory rule of the Department of Homeland Security on special screening of passengers on international flights to the United States that specifically targeted Nigerians consequent upon the Christmas day attempted bombing a US airline by a Nigerian Abdu Mutallab.
The relationship between Nigeria and US continued to improve under Jonathan. This Alao noted, aimed to establish a mechanism for sustained, bilateral, high-level dialogue to promote and increase diplomatic, economic and security co-operation between the two countries.
These key domestic priorities include good governance, electoral reform and preparations, transparency and anti-corruption, energy electricity supply reform and investment, as well as food and agricultural development, which were all key components of what Jonathan, termed his transformation agenda [ 11 ].
In fact, he engineered a purposeful mobilisation and instrumentalisation of Nigerians in Diaspora for national development. Not only did the administration encourage the formation of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation NIDO in all countries where there are Nigerians, it went further to establish a Diaspora Commission to take charge of the affairs of Nigerians in Diasporas and ensure their effective instrumentalisation.
The diplomatic way president Jonathan was able to manage the said Nigeria-South Africa face-off was highly welcomed by Nigerians. He was also quick to order the evacuation of Nigerians trapped in the crisis torn countries like Libya in and Egypt in January In fact Nigeria was the first to airlift her citizens from Egypt.
Nigeria’s National Image and Her Foreign Policy: An Exploratory Approach
For the first time, there were conscious efforts by Nigeria to ensure that her sacrifices of lives and resources towards restoring peace to many countries in Africa no longer go without commensurate national benefit. After President Goodluck completed the tenure of former President Umaru Musa Yar-Adua, he Jonathan then contested and won the April presidential election with massive support and expectations among many Nigerians. The president development emphasis was anchored on transformation programme which according to him was to totally transform every decaying sector in Nigeria.
All these factors contributed negatively to the global perception of Nigeria and Nigerians. This according to Obuoforibo was made now during the May 29 inaugural and acceptance speech of the President thus: The new foreign policy lay more emphasis on investment rather than political drive as it is the only avenue to deliver the dividends of democracy to the electorate. The new posture of government is that — while we retain the leadership role in our sub-region, and while we play our leadership role on the continent by taking the lead in all major issues on the continent, the Foreign Policy direction will also be used to propel the economic and industrial development of our country.
They were urged to look for opportunities, ventures, programmes that they could bring to Nigeria to give the new focus a success. The concern therefore is that even within the sub-region there should be a new thinking on sub-regional integration based on inputs from the people as against past efforts which was the exclusive handwork as well as aspiration of the past leaders.
Indeed, to the best of his abilities, Goodluck Jonathan renewed diplomatic and bilateral relationship with many countries. He also addressed international gathering to help Nigeria in fighting Bokom Haram terrorist activities and corruption. Internationally, the pervasive corruption in Nigeria had tarnished the image of the country and has resulted in foreign nationals exercising extreme caution in entering into business transactions with Nigerians, thereby weakening the economic sector [ 13 ].
President Goodluck did not actually succeeded in implementing foreign policy as evidenced from USA government refusing to sell weapons to Nigeria, and the South Africa government also sizing Nigeria money meant to purchase weapons to fight Boko Haram among other diplomatic skirmishes globally.
Similarly, many Nigerians were executed in countries like Indonesia, Philippines, Australia and unprovoked attacks on Nigerian national and massive deportation of Nigerians across the globe. Theoretical Framework This study is anchored on the System theory and Pluralist interdependence model. System theory Obi asserted that the system theory came into being in the 's [ 1 ]. The pursuit of Nigerian foreign policy began in earnest after the attainment of independence in October 1, These objectives or goals of the Nigerian foreign policy have consistently been maintained despite numerous changes in government.
The colonial legacy which restricted the policy options of the immediate post-independence leaders, the relative poverty of the country at the time, the lack of experience in international affairs, the conservative outlook of the prime minister Tafawa Balewa and other members of his cabinet, and serious domestic divisions which led the regions to open different consulates abroad are some of the reasons that have been advanced for the low-profile foreign policy Idang, ; Aluko, ; Osaghae, The Prime Minister Lopo do Nasimento of the MPLA was very soft-spoken, but he was profuse in his expression of gratitude, and our subsequent conversation was full of the promise of intimate cooperation between our countries, a promise which According to him, the dictates of the global system frown at giving without anything in return.
He stressed that assistance is rendered without any visible reference to either the short or long term interests of Nigeria. This, he concluded is interpreted to mean a show of ingratitude to Nigeria. Shagari came to power after an election that had seen no significant debate on foreign policy issues Chidozie, The outcome was a lack of well articulated foreign policy for the country right from the out-set of the Second Republic. Gambari puts it very clearly: Indeed, smaller neighbours disrespected Nigeria, using its borders for illegal smuggling and bunkering along with Nigerian partners, violated its territorial integrity and disregarded any threat or warning from the Nigerian authorities Osaghae, ; Fawole, ; Osuntokun, ; Folarin, ; Akinboye, Africa was to constitute the area of primary concern to the country.
The Buhari administration believed that the old conception of Africa being the policy center-piece would be properly defined Gambari, It lacked the clarity to make us know where we stood in matters of international concern to enable other countries relate to us with seriousness.
Our external relations have been conducted by a policy of retaliatory reactions cited in Saliu, a: Both the IMF loan stalemate and the frosty relations with the West were quickly resolved.
Nigeria soon resumed its diplomatic relations with Britain. For instance, Fawole This deliberate subversion of its own transition programme by the government became evident when the June 12 presidential election was annulled.
This was evident in its ability to create policy confusion in the West; the latter did not know how to relate with the Nigerian administration.
Its purported deft steps at shifting significantly to Asia and having political romance with some anti-Western countries in the world could be accepted as tangible achievements of the regime Saliu, a. The regime was born when the domestic environment had been polarized, no less the external environment.
To be sure, the international security environment had altered significantly for Nigeria at this period, with the emergence of multivariate level of threats to the task of nation building. This period was marked fundamentally with the linkage of domestic issues with international relations and the gradual erosion of the concept of absolutist sovereignty Ayam, ; Dokubo, ; Alao, Abiodun Alao puts it succinctly: The relative stability along these fronts enabled the country to strike a better balance between external policies and domestic interests.
This was especially important because many Nigerians believed that the country had little to show for the generosity and sacrifices it had made in regional and continental diplomacy. Akinterinwa argued that, with the emergence of President Obasanjo inthere was a paradigm shift from an African-centered, to a global-focused, foreign policy. The poor situation of the Nigerian economy inherited by Obasanjo, coupled with political vulnerability at the time, demanded new tactics and strategies, and indeed, prompted the need to focus greater attention on extra-African actors, without necessarily implying any form of neglect of Africa.
Thus, Nigeria emphasised the economic factor to the detriment of political considerations. The debt burden is not an exclusively African predicament. Many countries in Asia, the Caribbean and South America are facing similar problems with it.
It is imperative therefore that the countries of these regions harmonize their efforts in their search for a fairer deal from the industrialized nations of the world and this requires of us a more global approach to world affairs than was previously the case cited in Akinterinwa, Again Alao puts it this way: Perhaps the most important of these is the desire to establish and maintain friendships with countries that have historically shaped global diplomacy, while cultivating deep alliances with emerging powers featured in recent global economic developments.
Nigeria has also sought to align its diplomacy with domestic developments, especially as these relate to the consolidation of its new democracy In essence, the doctrines of capitalism and democratization had been elevated to the supreme standards of international relations by the key players in the international system Ayam, ; Okolie, The Nigerian has not really been made the main focus of our policy.
Emphasis is placed on law but not on the man himself In the same vein, Africa as cornerstone or centrepiece of our foreign policy is also meaningless without the Nigerians. Foreign policy successes in which the Nigerians are not direct beneficiaries are not likely to impact on, or enjoy the support of, the people In essence, constructive and beneficial foreign policy direction of the Obasanjo administration was intended to address and redress the perceived inadequacy inherent in concentricism: He nonetheless, set out in achieving this lofty principle through a number of approaches.
The most visible was his deliberate decision to personally embark on shuttle political diplomacy, earning him the title of the most travelled Nigerian Head of State Zabadi, ; Saliu, a ; The Punch Editorial According to Agbu Jonah Onuoha captures the interpenetration of the concept of national question and foreign policy enterprise most succinctly thus: It is about resolving the antagonistic contradictions between the majority and minority ethnic groups, combating tribalism, racialism and any form of ethnic chauvinism Indeed, this was followed by a counter coup on July 29, culminating in series of political drama that ultimately resulted in the civil war of Achebe, But scholars have dismissed the venture as mere propaganda and thus, did not succeed in redressing the fundamental issues that caused the war Aluko, ; Nwolise, ; Akinterinwa, ; Fawole, ; Achebe, However, the National Youth Service Corps NYSC scheme became a major image-booster for Nigeria and arguably one of the most enduring legacies of the civil war experience for the country, irrespective of its shortcomings.
In the specific context of foreign policy, it was evident that Shehu Shagari was bestowed with relatively radical foreign policy credentials that both overwhelmed his introspective and taciturn milieu and dwarfed his professional and technocratic dispositions Soremekun, As Femi Otubanjo succinctly noted: But while adapting its principles, goals and rhetoric, the regime quickly showed that it neither had the zeal nor the competence to keep up the pace it inherited The above assessment typified the foreign policy effort of Shagari.
The following accounted for this assessment: From a more vintage position, Ibrahim Ayagi passed the verdict on the regime this way: We have had a worst administration that any country could be unlucky to have Within the eight 8 yearsNigeria joined the rank of the 13 world poorest countries It was in this atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion that the General Abacha administration came into power on November 17, Abacha was fortunate to have supervised the termination of racism in South Africa in which marked the official end of colonialism in Africa, thus heralding a new international environment for the Nigerian state Chidozie, This singular incident attracted heavy sanctions on the Nigerian state and earned her a pariah status Saliu, a: The Abacha regime also sustained its clamp-down on pro-democracy groups, especially the National Democratic Coalition NADECO ; continued the detention and harassment of political prisoners, prominent among whom where Chief M.
Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled June 12, Presidential Elections, Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of State and Chris Anyanwu, a civil right activists; assassinated many civil rights leaders, such as Chief Alfred Rewane, MrsKudirat Abiola, and Bagauda Kaltho, among others; and unleashed state terrorism on the Nigerian state Akinyemi, ; Olukoya, ; Onadipe, ; Amuwo, ; Zabadi, ; Saliu, All these domestic developments attracted immense international sanctions and isolation for the Nigerian state and earned Abacha the title of the most oppressive leader in the history of the country Osaghae, ; Soyinka, The fourth republic arguably began with a transitional programme by the brief but exciting and circumstantial regime of General AbdulsalamiAbubakar in What can however, be considered as the biggest snag on the administration of General Abubakar was the sudden death in detention, of Chief MKO Abiola, the supposed winner of the aborted June 12, Presidential Elections, who was detained under Decree Number 2 by the former military administration of General Abacha.
At the beginning of our discussion, Moshood Abiola had a coughing fit. First of all we thought that it was an irritation of his throat before it dawned upon us that it was a heart attack.
We then decided to call a medical doctor who came immediately. Consequently, upon the realization of the damage that had been done to the international image of Nigeria and the likely disadvantaged position this would foist on the country in taking maximum advantage of globalization, the regime of Obasanjo set out early through shuttle diplomacy to redress the image problem of the country.
In essence, the task before the new administration was how to change the pariah status of Nigeria and regain the lost ground in international reckoning. The grand strategy seeks the conversion of foreign policy activities into concrete achievements which are of direct benefit to Nigeria. The goals to be achieved are as follows: These include, but not limited to the following: Perhaps, one may conjecture that Obasanjo acted in order to curry favour of America and the other Western Countries to secure their support for his third term agenda bid In short, Jacob and Akintola Nigeria is a country with a high political risk, low GDP per capita, and large infrastructure needs, all factors that contribute to a volatile and risky operating environment for banks This, the paper hinged on a combination of factors, the chief among them being the contradictions and dissonance between foreign policy formulation and implementation.
However, positive initiatives are too often offset by avoidable contradictions and inconsistencies pervasive in the conduct of Nigerian foreign policy. These contradictions may have beclouded, if not eroded, gains that have accrued from global engagements and interactions Jega, cited in Akindele, The policy decisions include relations with other nations, international and non-governmental organizations, institutions and agencies, as well as individuals, in so far as they impact on the system of inputs and outputs.
The paper recommends that Nigerians in the Diaspora should be properly recognized in the scheme of foreign policy articulation and implementation. They have a prominent role in advancing the foreign policy of the country, by implication her international image and hence should be given sufficient diplomatic attention Akinboye, The Trouble with Nigeria.
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Nigeria’s foreign policy: Africa to take centre stage?
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