THE ROLE OF DOMESTIC FACTORS IN NIGERIAN FOREIGN POLICY

Samuel Gifted 81 PAGES (17691 WORDS) Project
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A study in Nigeria’s foreign policy over time has quite often under –scored the potency of its domestic contents. Notable scholars on Nigerian external relations such as Akinyemi, Aluko, Gambari, Birai etc demonstrated the influence of domestic conditions on the country’s attitude and behaviour to other actors in the international system. The influence of domestic politics on Nigeria’s foreign policy was made obvious to the international community on 1st October, 1960, by the then first Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa himself in a moving address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He observed that: Nigeria does not intend to ally itself as a member of routine with any of the ideological power blocs and Nigeria hopes to work with other states for the Progress of Africa and to assist in bringing all other African territories to a state of responsible independence.

Given the domestic nature and the country’s size and at the same time natural resources, it was assumed that Nigeria would play a leading role in the continent of Africa. Some scholars even spoke of the country’s “manifest destiny” to lead Africa surrounded by small and weak states.


CHAPTER ONE1.0 INTRODUCTION1.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF NIGERIAN FOREIGNPOLICYA study in Nigeria’s foreign policy over time has quite often under –scored thepotency   of   its   domestic   contents.   Notable   scholars   on   Nigerian   externalrelations   such   as   Akinyemi,   Aluko,   Gambari,   Birai   etc   demonstrated   theinfluence of domestic conditions on the country’s attitude and  behaviour   toother actors in the international system. The influence of domestic politics onNigeria’s foreign policy was made obvious to the international community on1st  October,   1960,   by   the   then   first   Prime   Minister,   Sir   Abubakar   TafawaBalewa himself in a moving address to the United Nations General Assembly inNew York. He observed that: Nigeria does not intend to ally itself as a memberof routine with any of the ideological power blocs and Nigeria hopes to workwith other states for the Progress of Africa and to assist in bringing all otherAfrican territories to a state of responsible independence.Given the domestic nature and the country’s size and at the same time naturalresources, it was assumed that Nigeria would play a leading role in the continentof Africa. Some scholars even spoke of the country’s “manifest destiny” to leadAfrica surrounded by small and weak states.1

Abubakar, O.S reviewing Gambari said that; the first phase, one of uncertaintyand timidity of Nigerian Foreign Policy coincided with the period of the FirstRepublic (1960-65). The major issue at that time were the official foreign policydeclaration   itself;   the   Anglo   Nigerian   Defence   pact,   the   Congo   Crisis   andAfrican Unity; Negotiations for associate status with the European EconomicCommunity (EEC): the Rhodesian Crisis and Common Wealth relations; andthe Arab – Israeli antagonism and the search for a cohesive policy towards theMiddle East. Nigeria throughout this period operated a Pro- West foreign policydisposition. The conservative nature in her external relations was dictated byNigerian Federalism which professes three strong regions with a weak centre.Prime   Minister   Balewa   then   had   a   constitutional   authority   which   was   notalways   matched   by   the   political   power   needed   to   override   these   divergentgroups encroachment upon Nigeria’s foreign policy. The coming together of thetwo parties’ i.e. Northern Peoples’ Congress (NPC) and National Council forNigerian and Cameroon (NCNC) which formed a coalition government thenforced   the   Balewa   government   to   make   adjustment   in   order   to   keep   thepartnership viable.Consequently,   Nigerian  foreign  policy  during  the   1960-65  periods  was  lessdynamic than it would have been if the NCNC had been solely responsible. Bythe   same   token,   it   was   far   more   assertive,   Pan   Africanist   and   neutralistespecially   on   the   Middle   –   East   than   it   would  have  been   if   the   NPC   hadexclusive control. The need to adjust in order to accommodate the sometimes2

contrasting views of the governing parties and save the alliance, made Balewa’sforeign policy liable to such criticism as lacking in consistent imagination anddynamism and characterized by Ad-hoc decision making which tended to becontradictory and self-defeating.The second phase of Nigerian Foreign Policy was the period between 1966-1975 under which a lot of changes took place at the domestic political level.The Nigerian external relation was marked by active, positive and influentialrole   especially   in   the   continent.   The   fragile   nature   of   the   Federalism   wasreplaced by a stronger centre with 12 states constituting the Federating Unit.The assertion of the military rule under General Yakubu Gowon dramaticallychanged  the  dimension   of  authority   Domestic   politics   and   Nigerian   ForeignPolicy.The   discovery   of   oil   boom   also   assisted   in   great   measure   in   allowing   thecountry to play more decisive leadership role in World affairs, as it increasedthe   revenue   accruing   to   the   Federal   government.   The   previous   low   keyed,resistant and often apologetic approach to African affairs had to be changed.The aftermath of Biafra experience was also instructive as the country came upwith a coherent policy to her fellow African countries. The integrative efforts ofGowon   with   the   establishment   of   ECOWAS   and   the   financial   and   moralassistance to neighbouring West African countries were remarkable. Nigeria’sextension of hand of fellowship to the Eastern bloc countries such as China andSoviet Union was seen as a policy shift from the earlier position. The country

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APA

Samuel, G (2019). THE ROLE OF DOMESTIC FACTORS IN NIGERIAN FOREIGN POLICY. Afribary.com: Retrieved February 26, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/the-role-of-domestic-factors-in-nigerian-foreign-policy

MLA 8th

Gifted, Samuel. "THE ROLE OF DOMESTIC FACTORS IN NIGERIAN FOREIGN POLICY" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 24 Jul. 2019, https://afribary.com/works/the-role-of-domestic-factors-in-nigerian-foreign-policy . Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

MLA7

Gifted, Samuel. "THE ROLE OF DOMESTIC FACTORS IN NIGERIAN FOREIGN POLICY". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 24 Jul. 2019. Web. 26 Feb. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/the-role-of-domestic-factors-in-nigerian-foreign-policy >.

Chicago

Gifted, Samuel. "THE ROLE OF DOMESTIC FACTORS IN NIGERIAN FOREIGN POLICY" Afribary.com (2019). Accessed February 26, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/the-role-of-domestic-factors-in-nigerian-foreign-policy