This work is undertaken to give a lucid assessment of Nigeria‟s foreign policy and national interest with particular focus on the policy thrusts adopted by both the Yar‟Adua and Jonathan‟s administration from 2007 to 2015. The work examines the trends in Nigeria‟s foreign policy since independence to 2015. Although, many scholarly works have been done on Nigeria‟s foreign policy trends since independence, but very little of specific attempts have been made to articulate the need for re-direction of Nigeria‟s foreign policy. The work is a deliberate effort aimed at directing intellectual attention to the reasons why Nigeria‟s foreign policy vis a vis her national interest should be re-directed from Africa-centered. In order to give credence to the research and obtain adequate and reliable information for the study, primary and secondary data were utilized. Interviews were conducted, structured questionnaires were administered. Some members of staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, foreign policy scholars/analysts and some serving and retired Diplomats provided the primary data while the secondary data were obtained from related books, seminar/conference papers, journals, newspapers/magazines, internet and government publications. The study uses survey method as its research design. The choice of this research technique was informed by the descriptive nature of the research problem and also to give credence to the research findings. Structured observations were also used in the course of the research..The work has been able to come up with some findings in closing the long-standing gap which referred Nigeria as „Big Brother‟ to other African countries in need of assistance to the detriment of her growth and development. The work has also brought out the fact that Citizen Diplomacy(foreign policy thrust adopted by the Yar‟Adua‟s administration) amongst other foreign policy thrusts of successive governments (including that of Jonathan‟s), is more desirable as it has promoted the prosperity and survival of Nigerian citizens both at home and in the diaspora. The thrust has further connected diplomacy to governance by emphasizing the ideals of citizenship and the need for citizens‟ participation in decision-making process, particularly in Nigeria, amongst others. In order to have a comprehensive analysis and understanding of the focus of this study, two theories were considered as a framework of analysis (Critical Theory and Social Constructivist Theory), but Social Constructivism was adopted.

Keywords: Foreign Policy, National Interest, Diplomacy, Social Constructivism


Title Page i

Declaration ii

Certification iii

Dedication iv

Acknowledgement v

Abstract vii

Table of Content viii


Introduction 1

Statement of the Problem2

Research Questions/Objectives of the Study3

Objectives of the Study4

Research Assumptions…4

Significance of the Study5

Scope and Limitations5

Organization of the Study6


Introduction 8

National Interest8

Nigeria‟s Foreign Policy Objectives…10

Principles of Nigeria‟s Foreign Policy12

Determinants of Nigeria‟s Foreign Policy14

Instruments for Conducting Nigeria‟s Foreign Policy15

Conceptual Clarifications and Definitions17


Foreign Policy19

Foreign Policy Making and Its Conditioning Factors20

Foreign Policy Process25

Making of Nigeria‟s Foreign Policy33

Overview of Nigeria‟s Foreign Policy Since Independence34

Balewa‟s Foreign Policy34

Ironsi‟s Foreign Policy37

Gowon‟s Foreign Policy37

Murtala/Obasanjo‟s Foreign Policy38

Shehu Shagari‟s Foreign Policy40

Buhari‟s Foreign Policy41

Babangida‟s Foreign Policy42

Abacha‟s Foreign Policy44

Abdulsalami Abubakar‟s Foreign Policy46

Obasanjo‟s Foreign Policy46

Yar‟Adua‟s Foreign Policy49

Citizen Diplomacy As a Concept51

Assessment of Yar‟Adua‟s Citizen Diplomacy53

Critique of Citizen Diplomacy56

Goodluck Jonathan‟s Foreign Policy58

Assessment of Jonathan‟s Economic Diplomacy60

Critique of Jonathan‟s Economic Diplomacy63

Theoretical Framework65

Relevance of Social Constructivist Theory67



Research Design69

Method of Data Collection69

Primary Source of Data69

Secondary Source of Data70

Research Instrument and Administration70


Data Presentation72

Data Analysis…73

Respondents‟ Profile73

Test of Hypothesis One73

4.3.0 Test of Hypothesis Two 74

4.4.0 Test of Hypothesis Three 75

Discussion of Findings…78

Data Source Triangulation79

Methodology Triangulation79

Theory Triangulation79





References 87

Appendix I (Questionnaire for Staff of the Foreign Affairs Ministry) 94

Appendix II (Questionnaire for Foreign Policy Scholars/Analysts and Diplomats) 96

Appendix III (List of Interviewees) 97


Test of Hypothesis One 73

Test of Hypothesis Two 74

Test of Hypothesis Three 76



After the Second World War in 1945, the foreign policy direction of most developing nations was to liberate themselves from the shackles of colonialism and adjusting themselves to the politics of bi-polarism. Fifty years after, most African countries have been liberated. The cold war between the western capitalist bloc and the eastern socialist bloc no longer exists. From the fall of the Berlin wall, there was an emergence of a new world order. Foreign policy in the contemporary world has taken a completely new shape. The dynamics that now shape relations between states are informed by more complex issues than was traditionally the case.

The world was faced with such new realities as bad governance, poverty, civil war, terrorism, environmental degradation, threat to nuclear war, piracy, illegal oil bunkering, proliferation of small arms and light weapons and trans-national crimes among others. Nigerians and their successive leaders were clamouring for change of Nigeria‟s foreign policy direction to meet the emerging trends in the international system. The foreign policy of Nigeria, among other things, had placed emphasis on Africa and the enhancement of international cooperation for the consolidation of world peace. Nigeria‟s foreign policy has for much of the period of her independence been a definitive declaration of Africa as the centre-piece of her foreign policy thrust. Issues like decolonization, anti-apartheid, and the pursuit of peace in Africa and the world at large constituted the central focus for so long in the country‟s foreign policy pursuit to the detriment of the Nigerian nation and its people.

The changing realities of the global situation in terms of the complete decolonization of the African continent, the collapse of apartheid policies and regime, and the new concern about

globalization coupled with the negative residual effects of the „African-centered‟ policy on the Nigerian domestic situations such as economic backwardness, ethno-regional/religious crises and political instability have made change in Nigeria‟s foreign policy thrust inevitable.

However, the African centeredness of Nigeria‟s foreign policy has been criticized by scholars in that it became very glaring that such conventional orientation of thrusting Nigeria‟s external behavior upon frivolous magnanimity, or unrewarding love for her African neighbours. Over the years, Nigeria‟s Africa-centered policy had not given Nigeria and her citizens the required respect and dividends. We are giving and we are not getting. Therefore, Nigeria‟s foreign policy should seek to improve the welfare and living conditions of Nigerians. Nigeria‟s national interest must be re-assessed to aid our developmental aspirations. Thus the assessment of foreign policies and national interest pursued by both Yar‟Adua and Jonathan‟s administrations.

In consideration of the problems engendered by the „Africa-centered‟ policy on Nigeria and Nigerians, this chapter will explain salient problems that prompted this research work, the significance of the study, research assumptions, data and methodology, objectives of the study, scope and limitations as well as the organization of the work.

Statement of the Problem

This study, while corroborating Robinson, in Roseau (1969) that the primary interest of all nations is security of national territory and in safeguarding the lives and values of the citizens (wherever they may choose to live), observed that African-centered foreign policy of Nigeria had not adequately safeguarded her citizens‟ lives and values. While Okolie

(2007) also refers to foreign policy as protecting, maximizing and promoting the prescribed national interest of a given state, the work equally observed that the Afrocentric foreign policy of Nigeria had not adequately protected, maximized and promoted our national interest in favour of her citizens. Furthermore, it is observed that, despite the conservative African-centered foreign policy adopted since independence, progress, prosperity and survival of Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora had not been well promoted. More so, as Eke (2009) noted that every state‟s interest is dictated by the interests and core values of its citizens. It is based on the above that this work considers non-realization of Nigeria‟s foreign policy objectives problematic, and therefore seeks to assess the foreign policy thrusts of Yar‟Adua (Citizen Diplomacy)and that of Jonathan‟s (Economic Diplomacy) vis- à-vis Nigeria‟s national interest, as well as the trends in Nigeria‟s foreign policy since independence with a view to addressing the stated problems and providing information and insights to stakeholders of Nigeria‟s foreign policy and advocating for a paradigm shift from Africa-centered, considering the negative effects the former has had on Nigeria and Nigerians since independence to date.

In the process of examining this, the following questions are asked:

Research Questions

a) Have the Nigeria‟s foreign policy objectives and national interest been able to safeguard the lives and values of Nigerian citizens?

b) Has the adoption of Citizen-Diplomacy by Yar‟Adua and Economic Diplomacy by Jonathan‟s administration being able to promote the prosperity and survival of Nigerian citizens both at home and in the diaspora?

c) Has the Nigeria‟s national interest being dictated by the core values and interest of her citizens?

Objectives of the Study

The broad objectives of the study are to assess foreign policies adopted by the Yar‟Adua administration and the Jonathan‟s administrations vis a vis Nigeria‟s national interest;

the specific objectives include the following:

a) To articulate what prompted the adoption of Citizen-Diplomacy as Nigeria‟s foreign policy thrust by the Yar‟Adua‟s administration;

b) To examine the need for the adoption of Economic Diplomacy as Nigeria‟s foreign policy thrust by the Jonathan‟s administration;

c) To come up with verifiable findings of what foreign policy thrust could be best adopted by Nigeria.

Research Assumptions

In line with the stated problems of the study and the outlined objectives, the following assumptions were tested in the study:

a) Views, opinions and aspirations of the national elite determine what constitutes Nigeria‟s national interest and Nigeria‟s foreign policy focus.

b) The definitive declaration of Africa as the centre-piece of Nigeria‟s foreign policy serves Nigeria‟s national interest, and therefore be continually pursued.

c) Changing realities of global circumstance affect Nigeria‟s foreign policy focus, thereby making a paradigm shift to a more rewarding policymuch more desirable.

Significance of the Study

Although, many scholarly works have been done on Nigeria‟s foreign policy trends since independence as it focuses on Africa as her centre-piece, but very little (if there is any at all) of specific attempts have been made to highlight the urgent need to re-direct Nigeria‟s foreign policy thrust that will benefit Nigeria and Nigerians above any other consideration considering the socio-economic and political retrogression the „Africa-centered‟ has brought to Nigerians.

The significance of this study therefore lies firstly in its deliberate attempt at filling this gap by directing intellectual attention to the reason why Nigeria‟s foreign policy should be re- directed.

Secondly, its significance lies in an attempt to enrich political discourse and stimulate better understanding on how Nigeria‟s foreign policy has no bearing with the plight of Nigerian masses, and how citizen-centered approach will enhance the country‟s needed socio- economic and political growth and development if adopted and sustained. Furthermore, its significance lies in its attempt to see to the appropriateness or otherwise of the theory adopted to analyse the subject matter of this study.

Scope and Limitations

Space, time and extent readily come to mind when scope and limitations are mentioned in the study of this nature. The study covers the foreign policy thrust of President Umaru Musa Yar‟Adua‟s administration and that of President Goodluck Jonathan (i.e. 2007 to 2015). It is important to note that in analyzing the foreign policy thrusts of both governments, there is the need to examine, critically, the trends in Nigeria‟s foreign policy since independence for us to understand the need for a re-direction. Hence the study covers  the trends since

independence to and after the demise of President Yar‟Adua in 2010, and to the end of President Jonathan‟s administration in 2015.

Our limitations in the conduct of this research included, but not limited to: Frustrations encountered during administration of questionnaires at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Abuja (as gaining access and retrieving the administered questionnaires were cumbersome); getting people of high caliber to interview was also tasking, as the researcher had to travel several long kilometres to get them interviewed at their convenient times; financial challenges equally slowed down data collection and final production of the entire work. All these were however surmounted by the doggedness and perseverance of the researcher, and encouragements he received in the course of carrying out the research.

Organization of the Study

This work has been divided into five Chapters. Chapter One gives the general background of the study as to how Nigeria‟s foreign policy had, since independence, placed emphasis on Africa and the enhancement of international cooperation and global peace. The chapter states the problem which the adopted foreign policy had engendered, the research questions, objectives,   assumptions,   significance   of the   study,   scope   and   limitations and its organization. Chapter Two being the Literature Review, explains the meaning of national interest and foreign policy objectives, principles of Nigeria‟s foreign policy, determinants of Nigeria‟s foreign policy as well asinstruments for conducting Nigeria‟s foreign policy. Conceptual clarifications and definitions were also explained in chapter two of the work. These include: Diplomacy; Foreign Policy; Foreign policy making and conditioning factors, foreign policy process and the making of Nigeria‟s foreign policy. While providing a historical overview on Nigeria‟s foreign policy since independence, the chapter discusses Citizen Diplomacy as a Concept. It further assesses  both the Yar‟Adua administration‟s

Citizen Diplomacy and that of Economic Diplomacy of the Jonathan‟s administration. Critiques of both foreign policies adopted by both administrations were also discussed. The Theoretical Frameworks adopted in this study were also provided in this chapter. Chapter Three discusses research methodology, the research design and methods of data collection. Research instrument and administration were also discussed. Chapter Four covers data presentation and its analysis. The final Chapter provides conclusion of the whole chapters and then offers some recommendations.




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