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Nigeria from time past have always been regarded as the giant of Africa, partly due to its high
population (i.e. human resources), large land size, abundant mineral resources and economic
potentialities. Hence, many African countries and indeed the international communities looked
up to Nigeria for a leadership role in Africa. Nigeria joined the committee of independent nations
in 1960 full of hope and vigor and ready to expend its political, economic and natural human
resources for the growth, unity and development of Africa. Nigeria since independence thus
pursues foreign policies that are in tune with the beliefs and aspirations of the founding fathers of
this great nation, a foreign policy that is concentric in nature, content and which has as one of its
core values – “the Africa Center Piece”. (Abdullahi Shehu Gusau, 2012)
It is this core value of the Nigerian foreign policy that Nigeria participates in International
Organizations in Africa.
Nigeria over the years, has been an active player in the development of the continent and this has
made her to champion the establishment of various international organizations in Africa: the
Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS (1975)]; ECOMOG; the Organization
of African Unity [OAU (1963), now AU (2001)]; the Non-Aligned Movement and other West
African bodies. The country’s membership in and commitment to several international
organizations, such as the United Nations and many others, also affect foreign policy positions.
Nigerian external relations have emphasized African issues, which have become the avowed
cornerstone of foreign policy. (Atah Pine, 2011)
Focusing on Nigerian roles in the development of international organizations in Africa, this
research interest is centered on the African Union. One cannot properly talk about the AU
without first looking at its predecessor the OAU. The OAU before it was transformed to the AU
was as a result of the Lagos charter which subsequently defined the OAU agenda as the
promotion of African unity and solidarity, the eradication of all forms of colonialism and the
defense of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of member states. In effect,
Nigeria dictated the agenda for the then young organization. She also financed and occupied
positions in the organization.
Furthermore, it was Nigeria that provided the leadership that enabled Africa to see clearly the
way forward in establishing the African Union. The powerful and sovereign supra-national
entity, which Libya proposed and tried to promote, subsequently became tempered and was
replaced by the gradualist approach of a European Union model to continental organization,
favored by Nigeria and a majority of member states. A Nigerian, Professor Adele Jinadu, was
one of six experts that produced the Draft Constitutive Act of the African Union. Even at the
Experts level, Nigeria’s voice was clear, consistent and equivocal, enabling most countries to
support a balanced position put forward by our delegation. During Ministerial debates, Nigeria,
along with four others, ensured that Africa was not saddled with an unworkable Union as
intended by its initiator. When debates became deadlocked, it was Nigeria that mostly provided
the compromise solutions that saved the day. Today, the AU officially formed on July 2001 and
its institutions is stridently marching forward, thanks to the clear and consistent direction
provided by Nigeria in the process leading to the transformation. (El-Ayouty, 1975)
There was no doubt that in all these, Nigeria’s principled stand was anchored on the importance
which the country had always attached to the unity of Africa and the forging of solidarity among
its peoples.
There is no doubt that the survival and development of the African Union would have been futile
without Nigeria as a strong catalyst and with the contribution of her human, material and
financial resources used to achieve this. This role has always been hinged on the notion of the
historic mission and manifest destiny that the country portrayed to have and as such embarked on
responsibilities within her continent that has not yielded benefits.
Nigeria has suffered (and is still suffering) huge financial expenditures and massive loss of
human and material resources from its involvement in the AU to foster political integration and
unity in her continent and in conflict prevention, management and resolution. Nigeria contributed
so much money to quell the Chadian crisis with the promise from the organization to be
reimbursed which never happened and in the Liberian and Sierra Leone wars, Nigeria has not
been able to reap any economic benefits. To date, one cannot tell one single Nigerian company
involved in the post-conflict reconstruction activities going on in these two countries. This
therefore begins to explain that Nigeria so far in the bid to develop international organizations in
her continent has had little or no benefit over the years.
Nigeria, though often described as the giant of Africa is dwarfed by inconsistent policy, poverty,
insecurities, poor or bad governance and lack of quality education despite its efforts to develop
the AU and other international bodies within Africa.
It is important to state the objectives that will guide this research work. The objectives are the
goals set out to be achieved at the completion of the research study. They give insights to why
the study is being carried out in the first place. The basic or main objective of this project is to
assess Nigeria‟s contributions to the development of African Union. No doubt however, other
objectives follow, and they include:
1. To know the relationship between Nigeria and the international organizations in Africa.
2. To investigate the roles of Nigeria in the political integration of Africa through the AU.
3. To analyze the implications of Nigeria‟s contribution to the development of the AU.
1. What is the relationship between Nigeria and the international organizations in Africa?
2. What are the roles of Nigeria in the political integration of Africa through the AU?
3. What has been the direct response of the AU towards Nigeria as a major contributior to
her development?
Significance of the study has to do with how important the work will be. This research primarily
will enlighten people on the contributions of Nigeria in the development of the AU and other
international organizations in Africa as well and the thrust of Nigeria‟s foreign policy. It will be
useful to scholar‟s especially diplomatic historians, political scientists, international relations
students and in their research. This research work will help in providing information on the
factors that has been influencing Nigeria‟s development of the AU.
Finally, policy makers and political class will learn, through this study, the need to adjust the
country‟s policies in its involvement in Africa so it won‟t be at the losing end.
Apart from the personal satisfaction which this study will give the researcher, I hope that it will
be a source of reference to other researchers in similar area.
1.6. SCOPE
The spatial scope of the research work is Nigeria and the African Union. This study intended to
cover Nigerian roles in the development of the international organizations in Africa up to 2014.
However, due to the complex nature of the study area, special attention is given to Nigerian role
in the development of AU and did not cover all the major efforts of Nigeria which is also a
limitation to the study. The study therefore looked at the various capacities where Nigeria have
served to develop international organizations using the African Union.
LIMITATIONS: In carrying out this research, some problems were encountered some problems
like inability to access materials, irregularities and disparities in library materials.
In addition, the credibility of materials could be questioned at times and also the inability to
retrieve some of the questionnaires administered. Alongside these constraints, time was also
hindrance during the course of carrying out this research because this research work is was
carried out in conjunction with other academic work.
Irrespective of these challenges faced in carrying out this work, the genuineness and originality
of this work can be vouched for.
Chapter one covers the background information of the study, the statement of problem,
objectives of the study, research questions, hypothesis, significance of the study, scope and
Chapter two focuses on literature review. Various concepts and theories will be evaluated in the
Chapter three covers research methodology and also entails the research design of this study, the
methods of data collection and sampling and population.
Chapter four covers data analysis, the description of research instruments used in the analysis,
summary of the analysis and results achieved from the analysis.
Chapter five concludes the project alongside recommendations and suggestions for further
• International organizations: it is a body that promotes voluntary cooperation and
coordination between or among its members on many political, military, social, economic and
cultural issues. International organizations are important participants of the international system
(Inis and Klaus 2004).
• Development: the process in which something or someone grows or changes and
becomes more advanced.
• O.A.U: Organization of African Unity
• A.U: African Union


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