Nigeria foreign policy 1999-2019 a critical assessment

Nigeria foreign policy 1999-2019 a critical assessment


  1. Introduction

After the Second World War in 1945, the foreign policy direction of most developing nations was to liberate themselves from the shackles of colonialism and adjusting themselves to the politics of bi-polarism. Fifty years after, most African countries have been liberated. The cold war between the western capitalist bloc and the eastern socialist bloc no longer exists. From the fall of the Berlin wall, there was an emergence of a new world order. Foreign policy in the contemporary world has taken a completely new shape. The dynamics that now shape relations between states are informed by more complex issues than was traditionally the case.

The world was faced with such new realities as bad governance, poverty, civil war, terrorism, environmental degradation, threat to nuclear war, piracy, illegal oil bunkering, proliferation of small arms and light weapons and trans-national crimes among others. Nigerians and their successive leaders were clamouring for change of Nigeria‟s foreign policy direction to meet the emerging trends in the international system. The foreign policy of Nigeria, among other things, had placed emphasis on Africa and the enhancement of international cooperation for the consolidation of world peace. Nigeria‟s foreign policy has for much of the period of her independence been a definitive declaration of Africa as the centre-piece of her foreign policy thrust. Issues like decolonization, anti-apartheid, and the pursuit of peace in Africa and the world at large constituted the central focus for so long in the country‟s foreign policy pursuit to the detriment of the Nigerian nation and its people.

The changing realities of the global situation in terms of the complete decolonization of the African continent, the collapse of apartheid policies and regime, and the new concern about

globalization coupled with the negative residual effects of the „African-centered‟ policy on the Nigerian domestic situations such as economic backwardness, ethno-regional/religious crises and political instability have made change in Nigeria‟s foreign policy thrust inevitable.

However, the African centeredness of Nigeria‟s foreign policy has been criticized by scholars in that it became very glaring that such conventional orientation of thrusting Nigeria‟s external behavior upon frivolous magnanimity, or unrewarding love for her African neighbours. Over the years, Nigeria‟s Africa-centered policy had not given Nigeria and her citizens the required respect and dividends. We are giving and we are not getting. Therefore, Nigeria‟s foreign policy should seek to improve the welfare and living conditions of Nigerians. Nigeria‟s national interest must be re-assessed to aid our developmental aspirations. Thus the assessment of foreign policies and national interest pursued by both Yar‟Adua and Jonathan‟s administrations.

In consideration of the problems engendered by the „Africa-centered‟ policy on Nigeria and Nigerians, this chapter will explain salient problems that prompted this research work, the significance of the study, research assumptions, data and methodology, objectives of the study, scope and limitations as well as the organization of the work.

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