A Study Of The Relationship Between Nigeria And Other African Countries

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Nigeria has been an active member of the African union and Ecowas since inception and as such has actively been involved in the formulation, implementation and guidance of the union’s policies. There have been scholarly studies that address Nigeria’s diplomacy and contribution to AU albeit many authors have failed to explain how these bode with the socio-economic development of Nigeria. There have been few instances where attempts were made to explain such, yet a fully-fledged analysis lacked in their conclusions. For example, contributors such as Okereke (2012) and Gusau (2013) limited their analysis to only Nigeria and AU but failed to recognize the contradiction of Nigeria’s diplomacy and contribution with Nigeria’s socio-economic condition. There is no doubt that many more studies are required in this direction so as to beef up the scant literature that currently exists. We are therefore convinced that this paper makes a worthwhile contribution to literature on the subject. This possibility adds some value in enriching the literature on Nigeria and AU with a reflection on how Nigeria under AU platform has reflected on its socioeconomic condition.

Although the Brunt land Report on Sustainable was released in 1987 , Nigerian leaders had before this time made concerted efforts aimed at sustainable development not only for the benefit of Nigeria but also for Africa. On October 1st, 1960, the Nigerian Prime Minister, Alhaji Abubarkar Tafawa Balewa while delivering a maiden independence speech to mark Nigerian’s arrival as an independent sovereign nation after decades of British colonial rule said among other things that he felt “sure that history will show that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace… upon firm foundations”. Apart from addressing urgent national issues, Sir Balewa went international by declaring that Nigeria and Nigerians would, …not be allowed the selfish luxury of focusing our interest on our homes… In these days of rapid communications we cannot live in isolation apart from the rest of the world even if we wish to do so. This great country finds that she must at once be ready to deal with grave international issues… we must at once play an active part in maintaining the peace of the world and in preserving civilization. With these pronouncements, Prime Minister Balewa did not only open a new chapter in the history of Nigeria and indeed of the world but also set a road map that would guide successive Nigerian governments. The pronouncements were developed into Nigerian foreign policy towards Africa.

Nigeria regards Africa as the center-piece of its foreign policy, West Africa being the crucial sector of the piece. Viewing historiographical, what seems to have run through Balewa’s political and economic consciousness was a picture of Nigerian-state emerging as a regional and sub-regional leader and one of the major players in world politics. It was Balewa’s desire to see Nigeria being her brothers’ keeper by extending assistance to other African countries through viable economic cooperation and integration programs. Balewa believed that Nigeria’s effort at nation building must be made side by side with the effort at sustainable safe neighborhood because a neighborhood in which poverty and insecurity are endemic would always be prone to social unrests and armed conflicts with grave consequences on the country.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

With a total area of 923,768 square kilometers Nigeria is said to be nearly four times the size of Ghana, thirteen times the size of Sierra Leone and eighty-nine times the size of Gambia. As at 1975 when the ECOWAS was established, Nigeria had a population of 70 million, while the ECOWAS total population stood at 125 million. Nigeria’s natural endowments included petroleum, iron ore, tin, gold, manganese, coal, limestone, zinc, lead, columbite, natural gas and hydropower. Since in the 1970s, Nigeria’s industries have expanded to include car and truck plant assemblies, oil refineries, iron, steel and aluminum industries as well as chemical and pharmaceutical industries, among others. As has been asserted by some scholars Nigeria’s interest in championing the establishment of a pan West African body (ECOWAS) “was to be sustained through a functional economic co-operation that would not only strengthen national economies but that would also see Nigeria secure a ready market for her manufactures”12. Her main agricultural exports included cocoa, rubber, palm oil and kernel, groundnuts and cashew nuts. From late 1960s, oil emerged as the dominant revenue earner for the country. As in other West African countries, agriculture played a major role in the Nigerian economy during this period.

The economy of the West African sub-region was competitive because the countries produced basically the same range of agricultural products. Trade within the sub-region was export oriented in favor of their former colonial masters. Consequently, the volume of inter-country trade in the area was low. Trade was relatively higher in value between neighboring francophone countries of West Africa. For example, almost 55 per cent of Burkina Faso’s imports from West Africa came from Ivory Coast (now Cote D’Ivoire), while about 69 per cent of Senegal’s West Africa import originated from Cote D’ Ivoire. The sub-region’s economy was external oriented, as the level of industrialization was low. Except Nigeria, the market for manufactured goods in the region was small due to relatively low population and the accompanied low per capita. The region’s economy was also characterized by numerous currencies, which were linked to either the currencies of Britain or France or the United States of America.

1.3 Objectives of the study

The main objectives of this study is to find out the relationship and impact of Nigeria on other African state; specifically the study intends to

  1. Investigate the history of Nigeria relationship between Nigeria and Africa
  2. Find out role of Nigeria on the development of some other Africa countries
  3. Find out the impediment to a better relationship between Nigeria and other African countries and proffer

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the history of Nigeria relationship between Nigeria and Africa
  2. What is role of Nigeria on the development of some other Africa countries
  3. What are the impediment to a better relationship between Nigeria and other African countries

1.5 Significance of the study

This study will expose the general problem to the relationship that exist between Nigeria and other Africa countries, the study will make the federal government understand the importance of creating a good relationship with other countries. And finally this study will serve as a guide for other research.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study will cover the impact and the role Nigeria on other Nigeria countries, the relationship Nigeria created with other countries in ECOWAS and AU most especially.

1.7 Methodology

This study is basically on the study of the relationship between Nigeria and other West Africa countries. The study therefore adopts one of the traditional methods of gathering information, i.e. the secondary sources. A sizeable percentage of secondary sources that is used came from published and unpublished works which include materials extracted from: Archives, Newspapers, discussions, Conference papers, Magazines, Internets, Books, and Articles in journals e.t.c.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

The challenge of finance for the general research work will be a challenge during the course of study. However, it is believed that these constraints will be worked on by making the best use of the available materials and spending more than the necessary time in the research work. Therefore, it is strongly believed that despite these constraint, its effect on this research report will be minimal, thus, making the objective and significance of the study achievable.

1.9 Definition of Terms


The way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave towards each other.

Africa Union:

An organization of African states established in 2002 as successor to the OAU; it aims to encourage economic development and political stability through increased cooperation between its members Abbreviation: AU.


The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional organization of 15 West African countries established on 28 May 1975. Its main goal is the promotion of the economic integration among its members.

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