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1.1 Background to the Study
Nigeria, being the most populous country in Africa, has been described as “the giant of
Africa, benevolent hegemony”. Besides, Nigeria gained independence in October 1st 1960. By the
time of her independence, Nigeria‟s foreign policy guidelines had been formulated by the departing
colonial power. These were embodied in a maiden foreign policy statement made by the first civilian
prime minister on 20 August 1960 just a few months before formal independence. According to him,
Nigeria would follow an independent policy founded on Nigeria‟s interest and consistent with the
moral and democratic principles on which our constitution is based.
Paradoxically, it is Nigeria‟s own dominant position in the region and the implication of her
leader‟s commitment to the western model of development in circumstances (National as well as
Global) hostile to such a course that may well be the most formidable obstacle to the emergence of
the community. Indeed, it can be argued that ECOWAS drew considerable strength from the
successful negotiation which had been concluded by the EEC with the combined representatives of
African, Caribbean and Pacific states as contained in the Lome convention. This unity in the face of a
strong and equality United Europe (not withstanding some minor differences within the EEC)
impressed, Nigerian leaders in a way that an Economic Community of West Africa, modeled after the
European Economic Community, was an immediate imperative.
This conviction led Nigeria to expand a lot of her resources in the campaign for the
establishment of ECOWAS. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Resolutions
142 (viii) and 145 (vii) passed at its seventh session held in Nairobi, Kenya in February, 1965
recommended that member-states of the commission should establish, as soon as possible on subregional basis, an inter-governmental machinery for harmonizing their economic and social
development. The relative success of the integrative process in other sub-regions of Africa especially
in the East African Sub-region with its East African Community provided the stimulus to the
countries in the West African Sub-region to evolve their own form of economic co-operation. The
arguments for an economic integration always appear overwhelming.
In West Africa, a series of conference sponsored by the ECA culminated in many countries
signing the Article of Association for a West African Economic Community in Accra in 1967. A year
later, another conference in Monrovia produced a protocol which set up, on paper, A West African
Economic Grouping. It also provided that West African Leaders should meet in Ouagadougou, capital
of Upper Volta, to sign a treaty of Economic Union. That summit never took place. The only
achievement of the group was the preparation by Nigeria and Guinea of priority studies of areas of
As mentioned earlier, there had been various attempt at regional co-operation in West Africa
before the attainment of independence but these had very high colonial flavour, as such arrangements
were dictated by the colonial powers. The countries under France established socio-economic and
political co-operation among themselves while those under Britain did the same. So, any form of cooperation between countries across colonial lines were non-existent. While France administered it
West African territories separately but only centralized the various services in the territories under a
single administration. At independence, these co-operative arrangements collapsed except in the
former French West African countries that maintained the Union Douamere de L‟ Afrique de L‟
Qaust (UDAO) which was founded in 1959. The UDAO went through a lot of transformation and
from 1972 became known as Communaute de L‟ AfriqueCentrale (UDEAC).
The long history of ECOWAS can be said to have commenced when in 1964, the Late
President of Liberia, William Tubman first mooted the idea of a free trade area in the region. He
subsequently convened a meeting in Monrovia which was attended by representatives of Ivory Coast,
Guinea and Sierra Leone to discuss his proposal.
The representatives of the four countries met in February 1965 and after a long deliberation
for economic co-operation which was aimed at “removing trade barriers and encouraging the
harmonious development of the respective states” Nothing substantial was achieved until in 1972
when Nigeria and Togo (two countries sharing not many things in common) jointly took the initiative
to establish west African economic community with stubborn determination to succeed backed up by
abundance of political good will the treaty of ECOWAS was signed in Lagos on 28th May,1975. But
the ECOWAS came into legal existence only on 27th June, 1975 after the treaty had been ratified by
nine countries (i.e. Nigeria, Liberia, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Upper Volta, Gambia and
Benin in that order)6
Then followed the first ECOWAS ministerial council which was held in Accra
in 1976.
Thus following a series of meetings in 1975 and 76, fifteen West African countries – Nigeria,
Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal,
Mauritania, Mali, Upper Volta and Niger – set forth a treaty establishing ECOWAS. The treaty for an
Economic Community of West African State otherwise known as the treaty of Lagos on 28th May,
1975. The protocols launching ECOWAS were signed in Lome, Togo on 5th November, 1976. A
revised ECOWAS treaty designed to accelerate economic integration and to increase political cooperation was signed in July, 1993.
ECOWAS, as the name implies is an economic regional organization which was primarily
meant to integrate the domestic economies of the states in the West Africa sub-region.
It may be pertinent to recall that in 1972, six French-speaking West African countries met in
the Ivory Coast and at the end of two-day summit in Abidjan, formally launched their own version of
a West African Economic Community the CEAO. The conference was attended by Mauritania,
Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Upper Volta, Niger while Dahomey (Benin) and Togo participated as
observers. The launching of the CEAO, to many observers, was the brain-child of France to forestall
any integration of the Anglophone and Francophone countries of West Africa.
Wiser counsel prevailed in the African Leaders and so in Lome (Togo) in November 1976,
many African heads of state met to make the first decision of the organization, whose goals could be
compared to that of the East African Community (EAC). The Lome Agreement symbolizing the
unanimous acceptance by all fifteen West African States of the principle of creation of ECOWAS
marked a significant milestone in the history of regional integration in West Africa.
The Heads of State of the member countries of the community at that summit made
resolutions and enactments in order to establish the community. It was agreed that the permanent
secretariat (its headquarters) be located in Lagos and its fund for co-operation, compensation and
development be sited at Lome.
It was also agreed that the post of Executive Secretary go to an Ivory Coast national and that a
Liberian be Managing Director of the Lome fund.
The Heads of States signing alphabetical order, approved five protocols to the original charter:
A: Protocols relating to the definition of the concept of products originating from member states
of the ECOWAS.
B: Protocol relating to the re-exportation within the community of goods imported from third
world countries.
C: Protocol on the assessment of loss of revenue by member states.
D: Protocol relating to the contributions by member states of the community, and
E: Protocol relating to the fund for co-operation, compensation and development.
The aims of ECOWAS are to promote co-operation and development in the energy,
agriculture, natural resources, trade and in the monetary and financial questions and in social and
cultural matters for the purpose of raising the standard of living of its peoples, of increasing and
maintaining economic stability, of fostering closer relations among its members and of contributing
to the progress and development of the African continent.
An essential instrument of ECOWAS, in the opinion of economists, it the co-operation and
compensation fund which will indemnify those member-states that have lost revenue as a result of the
sitting of community industries or from the abolition of national tariff barriers.
The main beneficiaries of the fund will thus be the land-locked states which derived up to fifty
percept of their budgetary resources from customs duties.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Be that as it may, its role in the development of international organizations in Africa cannot be
over emphasized. Nigeria over the years, have been an active player in the development of
international organizations in Africa and in other parts of the globe and in conflict prevention,
management and resolution in Africa and the rest of the world despite the myriads criticisms from
many countries including those in Africa and their non-appreciation of the role of Nigeria in the
development of Africa, and their claims that Nigeria is playing host to many contradictions, socially,
politically and economically, to the extent that Nigeria‟s quest for a permanent seat on the United
Nations Security Council is seen as inconsistent with the domestic situation Nigeria has been
championing the case of the whole of Africa. The survival and the development of international
organization would have been futile without Nigeria as catalytic agent.
Nigeria‟s contributions and her role in the reversal of the phantom coup in Sao Tome and
principle during the Leon Sullivan Summit in Abuja in 2003 is a case in point. Emphasis must also be
made on her role under the fourth republic, as well as the critical areas of Nigeria‟s intervention, such
as the Chairmanship of the African Union (AU) under President Olusegun Obasanjo, Africa Peer
Review Mechanism, coverage of the African Union in the Nigerian press, peacemaking and
peacekeeping among others.
1.3 Objective of Study
The main objective of this study is to empirically evaluate Nigeria‟s role in the establishment of
international organizations in Africa with reference to ECOWAS. This broad objective is however
broken into the following specific objectives;
1. To establish whether or not the role played by Nigeria in the establishment of ECOWAS is
2. To ascertain the perception of other countries in Africa on the relevance of Nigeria‟s role
in the establishment of ECOWAS.
3. To explore Nigeria‟s motivation for her commitment towards the establishment of
1.4 Research Questions
Based on the above stated objectives, the following research questions are developed to be
answered in the course of this study;
1. Are there any significant role played by Nigeria in the establishment of ECOWAS?
2. What is the perception of other countries in Africa on the relevance of the role played by
Nigeria in the establishment of ECOWAS?
3. What is Nigeria‟s motivation for her commitment towards the establishment of ECOWAS?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
Based on the research questions raised, the following null hypotheses have been formulated;
H01: There are no significant role played by Nigeria in the establishment of ECOWAS
H02: Other countries in Africa have no perception on the relevance of Nigeria‟s role in the
establishment of ECOWAS
H03: Nigeria has no motivation for her commitment towards the establishment of ECOWAS.
1.6 Significance of Study
As it has been briefly looked into in the earlier part of this work, and as it would be discussed
in the second chapter, it would become obvious the roles Nigeria played in the establishment of the
Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS). This study highlights the importance of
Nigeria and her contributions to the African continent. It will be seen that no other country had the
capacity to push for the establishment of this important organization like Nigeria did. Furthermore,
this study undermines the development and growth of the organization as well as the challenges they
are facing with the possible solutions to these problems. This work will also serve as a guide to future
researches who aims to know more about the roles Nigeria played in the establishment and
development of ECOWAS. I believe there is a significant body of knowledge to this work.
1.7 Scope of Study
This research is based on the roles Nigeria plays in the establishment of international
organizations, with the attention turned to the country‟s‟ role in the creations and impacts of
ECOWAS. This work looks back at the history of Nigeria and how that has helped facilitated the
push for the development of ECOWAS.
1.8 Organization of Study
This body of research is divided into chapters. The first chapter talks about the introductory
part of the work. In this chapter, we are introduced to Nigeria, tracing it back to the roles it has played
in the establishment if international organizations. The first chapter includes the background of the
study, the statement of problem. This chapter also highlights research questions, objectives of the
study, scope of the study and of course, the significance of the study. The second chapter looks at the
subject matter of this research in full. The role Nigeria played in the development of ECOWAS.
Different literature reviews of scholars were put into use to aid a full guided understanding of the
topic. In the third chapter, we deal with the methodology involved in the study as well as the methods
used for the research. It goes further to discuss in details the sources of data, the different methods of
data collection and the skills for data analysis involved. Chapter four is concerned with data
presentation, analysis and interpretations. The final chapter, chapter five, deals with the findings from
the result of the hypotheses, in form of conclusion.
1.9 Limitation of Study
This research work will be limited to the material sources I was able to get, which are all in
the reference section after every chapter.
The research was also limited due to some logistic reasons as regards time due to the combination
of my study with carrying out this research. Other limitations to this research include;
1. Behaviors of respondents
2. Ignorance on the part of the respondents
3. Financial constraints
4. Difficulty in finding reference materials
5. Inadequate access to internet facility on campus
In spite of these limitations, a comprehensive and thorough study of the subject matter was carried


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