I’m sure you understand that the international arena is made up of various entities. These include: states, non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations, and many more including each of us as individuals. These entities relate with themselves in various ways. Foreign relation thus arises from the need to address the mutual relations among these various entities in the international community.
This content is going to dig deep into facts about the Nigerian Foreign Relation and how Nigerian has been operating so far, but first let us start with a quick definition of Foreign relation.
What is Foreign Relation?
The two words that make up the concept: foreign and relation. The word ‘foreign’ can be used to refer to something that is from another country or that concerns another country or countries other than your own. A relation is a program of actions adopted by a person, group, or government, or the set of principles on which these are based.
In other words, a relation is a definite method or course of action by a person, group. or government selected to guide and determine present and future decisions. When we relate this to governments, a relation consists of some general or specific goals which relation makers hope to attain and the specific means by which the goals are to be pursued.
Foreign Relation of Nigeria
Nigeria is a country in West Africa and the most populous country in Africa, with a population of about 170 million. Nigeria shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west. Chad and Cameroon in the east. Niger in the north, and borders the Gulf of Guinea in the south. Size 1991, its capital has been the centrally-located city of Abuja.
Nigeria is one of the most important countries on the African continent. It is one of the most visible African states in the international community, and is often referred to as “giant of Africa” because of the apparent ‘big brother’ role the country plays in ensuring the well-being of her immediate neighbours and by extension.
Nigeria plays a pivotal role in the maintenance and promotion of peace in Africa, as well as in other parts of the world. From the day Nigeria gained its independence (October 1, 1960) from the United Kingdom after decades of colonial rule, she presently consists of 36 states and the federal capital territory. Nigeria re-achieved democracy in 1999 after a sixteen-year interruption: from 1966 until 1999. Nigeria had been ruled (except the short-lived second republic. 1979-1983) by military dictators who seized power in coups d’état and countercoups during the Nigerian military juntas of 1966-1979 and 1983-1998. The various regimes and leadership styles experienced by the country played a vital role in determining her foreign relations.
From 1960 to date. Nigeria has maintained a relatively consistent foreign relation considering the fact that the country had experienced varied forms of government within this period. Right from independence, Africa was the centre piece of the county’s foreign relation, with emphasis on the emancipation, development and the unity of Africans both within and outside the continent.
Principles Guiding Nigeria’s foreign relation
Nigeria foreign relations is guided by certain underlying principles, which, from regime to regime, has served as a basis for the continuity that strikingly characterized the various relations of Nigeria with the rest of the world.
The objectives and principles of Nigeria’s foreign relation were specifically laid out in Section 19 of the 1999 Constitution. These are:
1) Promotion and protection of national interest.
2) Promotion of African integration and support for African unity.
3) Promotion of international cooperation for the consolidation of universal peace and mutual respect among all nations, and elimination of discrimination in all its manifestation.
4) Respect for international law and treaty obligations as well as the seeking of settlement of international disputes by negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and adjudication: and
5) Promotion of a just world economic order.
Nigeria has been in the fore front in the establishment and sustaining various continental and regional organizations. For instance, Organization of African Unity (OAU) established on May 25. 1963, was primarily aimed at achieving two important objectives, namely: to ensure the quick decolonization of the remaining colonies in Africa and secondly to facilitate the rapid socio-economic growth and development of the African states. In this respect, Nigeria did a lot in ensuring the implementation of the primary objectives upon which OAU was founded. For instance, in 1975, Nigeria granted the sum of N 13.5 million and military assistance to Angola’s MPLA and also enlisted diplomatic support to the Angolan government within the O.A.U.: this greatly accorded recognition to the Angolan government by many African states who were hitherto unwilling to give such recognition.
In addition to this, Nigeria contributed enormously to several liberation movements in the continent. This greatly contributed towards the political independence of most African countries For instance, on February 13. 1976. Nigeria donated the sums of two million dollars $2m to South Africa’s ANC and 500.000 dollars to Namibia’s SWAPO. SWAPO was later granted permission to open office in Lagos. At about the same time, the Federal Ministry of Information inaugurated a committee for dissemination of information about the evils of Apartheid.
Nigeria plays active roles in various international organizations and vied for positions in them For example. Joseph Garba, Nigeria’s former permanent representative to the UN. was elected in 1989 to a one-year term as president of the UN General Assembly: Adebayo Adedeji was executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, a UN affiliate: and Emeka Anysoku became secretary general of the Commonwealth of Nations in 1989. Former military head of state, Olusegun Obasanjo also had become a recognized world statesman and spokesman on African issues. Nigeria contributed personnel to many UN peacekeeping missions, including operations in Congo. Tanzania. and the UN India Pakistan Observer Mission in the 1960s, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon in 1978. and UN forces observing the fran-Iraq cease-fire and the Angola Namabian accords in 1988.
The importance that Nigeria places on international organizations grew out of a striving for peace and international cooperation. In the cases of the African Union (AU). formerly Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), these organizations also served to increase AMean unity, another important Nigerian goal Nigeria played an initiating role in the creation of both organizations and was active in both thereafter. Although Nigeria’s positions on various issues have changed over the years, its level of activity in international organizations has increased.
Nigeria has played an important role in international peacekeeping both under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) as well as ECOMOG. Nigeria has maintained a relatively consistent foreign policy considering the fact that the county had experienced varied forms of government within this period. Nigeria’s commitment towards solving African problems could also be seen in various peace and mediation talks she hosted. She also mediated severally between various rebel factions in the Liberian crisis. Nigeria has been in the fore front in the establishment and sustaining various continental and regional Organizations like ECOWAS and OAU.
Nigeria has also made substantial contributions to multilateral efforts. including international peacekeeping
With all the facts and figures highlighted above concerning the Nigeria Foreign relations. I believe Nigeria is doing fine (for a developing country) and of course, they can do better.