Does Nigeria Need a Foreign Policy? Towards a Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century  P. I. Azubuike Esq.

Since the independence of Nigeria in 1960, there have been a plethora of conceptual ideological transitions in the Nigeria foreign policy machinery. Essentially, they all strive towards an epistemological construction and definition of the thrust of Nigeria’s foreign policy. These conceptualizations are often regime specific and borne out of a psychological hunger to carve a regime identity that will create and leave lasting impressions on the minds of Nigerians. They are not necessarily products of deep and profound philosophical reflections.

The Nigerian nation is known as one, whose foreign policy is essentially tailored to reflect her commitment to the well-being of all African countries; particularly in the areas of peaceful coexistence, prevention of violent conflicts – at intra-national and international levels – restoration of peace where necessary; and maintenance of peace all over the world.

The foreign policy of a State is liable to reflect the State’s personality, but foreign policy cannot be developed in a completely arbitrary manner, since a country’s foreign policy is bound to be affected by many considerations concerned with the circumstances and internal problems of the State, Nigeria is not different in this regard.

is the undisputed political leader of its sub-region. Nigeria was the founding force for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and supplies over one third of the organization’s budget. In the 1990s, Nigeria initiated multilateral militarized peacekeeping operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone. State leaders aspire to a permanent seat on a reconfigured United Nations Security Council and the country sits on sizeable oil and natural gas reserves; it vies with Angola for the title of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest petroleum producer.

For all these reasons, Nigeria should attract significant international analysis. Yet, within the international community, Nigerian foreign policy has garnered limited attention. Thus, making the continent of African the centre piece of our foreign policy in this 21st century is laughable as we are beginning to be a burden to not just our neighbours but also to the continent of Africa as our citizens are littered across the continent either as slaves in Libya or refuges and asylum seekers running away from violent conflicts.

In a world that is being ruled by the principles of gangsterism, with rouge states emerging virtually in every continent in the world, an ever assertive Iran, an unpredictable North Korea and an ever expansionist China and Russia, the scope of Nigeria’s foreign policy should no longer be limited to continental affairs. It should be focused world-wide and geared towards the promotion of our cultural heritage, and scientific, economic and technical cooperation with viable partners.

Its goal should aim at enhancing our national development, and military arrangements with NATO countries in order to give peace a permanent character in our societal needs and our sub-region as terrorism, kidnapping and banditry has taken a new dimension in our soiciety.

Finally, Nigerian foreign policy should aim at creating benefits for the betterment of its citizens. It should no longer focus on Africa without clearly defined policy objectives.

Prince Azubuike Esq
(Distinguish Member of Degema Branch of the NBA)
Writes from Port Harcourt and divides his research interest in International Law (with a bias for Afro Centric Views), Constitutional Law, Commercial Arbitration and Oil and Gas Law.

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