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Nigeria had overwhelmingly given both solicited and unsolicited supports to Africanneigbours: intervened positively in their internal crisis, provided humanitarian services, doled out billions ofdollars as charity, sent technical aid corps, formed and sent military supports, and so on. In most cases, theseflamboyant gestures were defiantly done against home interest and survival. However, there seems to be adisconnection between what is given out and what is given in return. Therefore, this paper seeks to comparatively analyse the Afro-centive foreign policy of Nigeria; a case study of Obansanjo Administration and Nigeria’s International Diplomacy.The qualitative mechanism of data collection and analysis is applied and the hypothesis was assessed based on the following interventions;Actors in Nigeria’s Foreign Policy, the African-centered foreign policy of the Nigerian government, an Overview Of Nigerian Foreign Policy (1999-2007) and Political Environment Of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy.




Title page        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           i

Approval page             –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           ii

Dedication      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           iii

Acknowledgement      –           –           –           –           –           –           –                       iv

Abstract          –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           v

Table of contents        –           –           –           –           –           –           –                       vi



1.1 Background of the study –           –           –           –           –           –                       1

1.2 Statement of the problem –           –           –           –           –           –                       3

1.3 Research questions –         –           –           –           –           –           –                       3

1.4 Research hypothesis-        –           –           –           –           –           –                       4

1.5 objectives of the study      –           –           –           –           –           –                       4

1.6 Significance of study        –           –           –           –           –           –                       5

1.7 Scope and limitation         –           –           –           –           –           –                       5

1.8 Theoretical framework      –           –           –           –           –           –                       6

1.9 Literature review   –           –           –           –           –           –           –                       8

1.10 Methodology      –           –           –           –           –           –           –                       24

1.10.1 Research design           –           –           –           –           –           –                       24

1.10.2 Method of data collection       –           –           –           –           –                       25




Ibrahim Babangida Foreign policy initiatives             –           –           –                       26

Olusegun Obasanjo’s Foreign policy 1990-2007 –      –           –           –                       36



3.0 Foreign policy       –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           39

3.1 Actors in Nigeria’s foreign policy –           –           –           –           –           39

3.2 The African cantered foreign policy of the Nigerian government            –           41

3.3 An overview of Nigeria foreign policy-    –           –           –           –           –           41

3.4 Political environment of Nigeria’s foreign policy –           –           –           44




Hypothesis one: The Approach of both Babangida and

Obasanjo in the pursuit of Nigeria afrocentric foreign

policy were the same –           –           –           –           –           –           –                       47


Hypothesis Two: The contemporary African situation differs

from what it was during the era of Nigerian adoption

of afrocentric foreign policy  –            –           –           –           –                                   49


Hypothesis three: Babangida and Obasanjo though pursued

the foreign documents, their personality difference affected

the policy implementation and outcome-       –           –           –           –           –           50



5.1 summary – –           –                       –           –           –           –           –           –           55

5.2 Conclusion            –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           56

5.3 Recommendation  –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           58

Bibliography  –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           59





1.1       Background of the Study

country‘s foreign policy consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within the international relations milieu. It is the aggregate of a country’s national interest which results from the interaction of internal and external forces as perceived by the foreign policy decision makers. The approaches used are strategically employed to interact with other countries. 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.

Nigeria’s foreign policy since independence has been viewed from different perspectives (Aluko, 1981); Macridis (1985:xiii),Anyaele, (2005) in recent times. One of the most prevailing perspectives of her foreign policy is that “it is chameleon in nature”, (Anyaele, 2005) a foreign policy constantly in a state of flux as a result of internal and external dynamics inherent in any given administration or regime. Some writers however maintained that irrespective of the frequent changes, the substance of Nigeria’s foreign policy has remained the same. The later parts of this study will however argue otherwise. Buttressing the above point, (Anyaele, 2005:2) upholds the view that “the protection of our national interest has remained the permanent focus of Nigeria’s foreign policy, but the strategies for such protection have varied from one regime / government to another”.

The formation and execution of Nigeria’s foreign policy from independence has been carried out in no fewer than fourteen different administrations through the external affairs ministry. From Tafawa Balewa’s administration in 1960 to President Obasanjo’s administration in 2003; from the administration of President Musa Yar’Adua to the current administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. These various administrations – including the different military regimes which took over administrative power in Nigeria for over a cumulative period of 35 years, of the entire 53 years of the existence of Nigeria’s foreign policy- claimed to pursue the same national interest with regards to the nation’s foreign policy.

The consequence of the fluxy nature of Nigeria’s foreign policy, there has been a plethora of conceptual ideological transitions in Nigeria’s foreign policy machinery (Pine, 2011).   Studies (Aluko, 1981); (Vision 2020 Report, 2009); (Pine, 2011); (Akinboye, 2013); and indicate that past administrations strove towards an epistemological construction and definition of the thrust of Nigeria’s foreign policy. These conceptualizations are often regime specific and born out of a psychological and selfish hunger of various administrations or regimes to carve an identity which will leave a lasting impression in the minds of Nigerians. To this end, (Pin, 2011) laments: “…these ideologies are not necessarily products of deep and profound philosophical reflections”. This paper will argue that these ideologies are rather collections of selfish efforts by these various administrations to make a name or an identity for themselves and their regime or administration as the case may be. (Pin, 2011:1) strongly believes this factor was one of the major causative avenues / agencies of project abandonment and foreign policy failure in Nigeria. Concepts and ideologies that have been proposed over the years since independence include: Africa as the center piece of Nigeria’s foreign policy, Dynamic foreign policy, National consensus in foreign policy, Economic diplomacy, Citizen Diplomacy  and The transformation agenda of Nigeria’s foreign policy are a few examples among many other ideologies which in many ways have not lived up to expectations.

While adopting the traditional critical and rationalist methods of analysis in philosophy, the study shall review and offer conceptual clarifications of relevant literature, arguments, texts, library and archival materials in the areas of the subject matter of the study, with the view to evaluate these conceptual mutations in Nigeria’s foreign policy engineering.  The paper will further show how such misdirected polices breads operationally barren and philosophically vague policies which when applied resulted to more conceptual confusion and groping in the dark.


1.2       Statement of Problem

The main concern of Nigeria’s policy makers is how to emancipate Africa from the shackles of colonialism, apartheid, racismand imperialism. It is therefore not surprising that Nigeria focused its policy since independence on Africa.

In spite of this African policy posture, some people criticized Mohammed/Obansanjo regime as shrouded with uncertainties in relation to her African policy as fallen short of expectation considering its economic resources, others, hailed it has been dynamic and pragmatic because of its militancy. On the other hand, Babangida’s Afro centric policy style is a far departure from that of Obasanjo.

It is in light of the above observations that this study intends to find out the reason(s) for the policy shift despite the fact that both regimes pursue the same African-centred policy. To effectively do this, the following questions are posed




1.3       Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

  1. What are the approaches adopted by both Babangida and Obasanjo in theirseparate pursuit of Nigeria Afro-centric foreign policy?
  2. Does contemporary African situations promote Afro-centric foreign policy?
  3. To what extent does personality of a regime leader affect a country’s policy?


1.4       Research Hypotheses

  • The approach of both Babangida and Obasanjo in the pursuit of Nigerian Afrocentric foreign policy were the same.
  1. The contemporary African situation differs from what it was during the era of Nigerian adoption of afrocentric foreign policy.
  2. Babangida and Obasanjo though pursued the same foreign document, their personality difference affected the policy implementation and outcome.


1.5       Objectives of the Study

The general objective is to comparatively analyse the Afro-centive foreign policy of Nigeria; a case study of Obansanjo civil regime and Babangida.

The specific objectives include

  1. To compare Babangida’s and Obansanjo’s approach to implementation of Afrocentricforeignpolicy.
  2. To assess the contemporary African situations for possible review of Nigerian Afrocentric foreign policy.
  3. To evaluate the impact of personality (character) of a regime leader on Nigerian foreign policy using Babangida and Obansanjo as a study.

1.6       Significance of the Study     

This study will aid researchers in understanding the contributions of Nigerian’s past presidents on the foreign policies that has impacted on the development of Africa, irrespective of the situations in the country.This study will equally serve as a repository in understanding the various roles thatour country’s past presidents played in improving national development in Nigeria.

Finally, politicians, stakeholders and future political aspirants intending to rule in various sectors of the government would be able to utilize the findings in this study as a guide and resource document, taking into consideration the impact of the foreign policy on the administration and the importance of making Africa a focal point of her foreign policy.


1.7       Scope and limitations of the study

1.7.1    Scope.

The scope of this study focuses on the Afro-centric foreign policy of Nigeria during the Obasanjo’s Civil Regime and Babangida’s Administration with the following it compares the contemporary afro centric situations and those of the two regimes.


1.7.2    Limitations.

Financial resources required in obtaining primary data are often on the high side considering the amount required in producing the questionnaires required for the study. Also considering the combination of both my studies and the project, time was not adequate for a more elaborate study.

1.8 Theoretical Framework

This study is largely based on the theory of state relative autonomy theory, which is situated within the ambit of the neo-Marxist political economy paradigm. The theory of relative state autonomy depicts the degree of aloofness of the state in the discharge of its tasks such as mediating inter-class and intraclass struggles. Thus, this theory suggests that in any state, there are two levels of contradiction, primary and secondary. Primary contradiction depicts inter-class struggle or class struggle between two antagonistic classes such as the ruling class and the ruled class or the bourgeois class and the proletariat. Whereas, secondary contradiction is the intra-class struggle, denoting class conflicts within the rulingclass or between different segments of the ruling-class. Marx and Engels (1977) demonstrated this intractable nature of class struggle in the preface of their book, that “the history of all the hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” (Okeke and Aniche, 2012b).

The proponents and exponents of the theory hold that a state can exhibit either low or high relative autonomy (Alavi, 1972). A state exhibits relatively high autonomy when there is high commoditization of capital or excessive penetration of capital into the economy; such that the bourgeois class engages in accumulation of capital through direct exploitation of the working class or appropriation of surplus value, private capitalism, when they enter into social relationships of production. Here, the state is not interventionist; it does not intervene in the domestic economy like participating in the productive activities, public/state enterprises or controlling or nationalizing means of production. The role of state here is largely to regulate (Ake, 1976). By doing so, the state is relatively an impartial umpire mediating inter-class and intra-class struggles through harmonization and reconciliation of class interests (Ake, 1981; Okafor et al. 2012; Okeke and Aniche, 2012b). The developed capitalist states of the West are, therefore, considered to exemplify this high degree of relative autonomy, and thus the high level of human rights observance and protection. On the other hand, a state exhibits relatively low autonomy when there is low commodification of capital or low penetration of (private) capital into the economy. The ruling class is constantly indulging in primitive accumulation of capital through embezzlement of public fund. A state constituted in this way becomes the only avenue for capital accumulation. The state is, thus, interventionist for engaging in productive activities, public corporation, by nationalization of major means of production. This state does not restrict itself to regulatory role and is hence compromised, such that instead of rising above class struggle it is deeply immersed in it (Ake, 1985; Okafor et al., 2012; Okeke and Aniche, 2012b).

The Nigerian state like other developing states exhibits a relatively low level of autonomy of the state as a result of low commoditisation of capital. Under the eclectic mixture of economy, pseudocapitalism or quasi-capitalism, Nigeria experiences the phenomenon of poor penetration of (private) capital into the economy. This gives rise to a parasitic petty bourgeois class whose major source of accumulation of capital is the state. So, the Nigerian state becomes the only avenue for primitive accumulation of capital through which the governing class. petty bourgeoisie, produces and reproduces their dominance. The implication of the low autonomy of the Nigerian state is that it is heavily involved in the class struggle rather than rising above it; leading to intense struggle for the control of the state for primitive accumulation of capital (Ake, 2001; Okeke and Aniche, 2012b). The point is that the implementation of citizen diplomacy suffered as President Yar’Adua’s ill-health degenerated. Consequently, there was political intrigue, infighting and schism among the ministers, and the Northern political elite who wanted by all means to prevent the vice president from becoming the acting president. In the context of this intense class struggle for the state power everything was marginalized including citizens’ wellbeing at home let alone in Diaspora. Not surprisingly, the policy was deemphasized owing to the events leading to the emergence of the then Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan as the Acting President and later President. The cabinet reshuffled ousted Chief Ojo Maduekwe (the initiator) as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.


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