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This report evaluates the foreign policy direction of Goodluck Jonathan’s administration from 2011 to 2015. It examines the administration’s contributions and failings to Nigeria’s economic progress through the lens of foreign policy.

It contends, guided by Systems theory and the Pluralist interdependence model, that while the government made certain gains, it left much to be desired in terms of the country’s economic progress, since the country’s reputation remained tarnished by corruption.

It urged, among other things, that corruption be addressed front on as a method to reassure the world community that Nigeria is now ready for investment, which is critical to further economic progress.

Chapter one


1.1 Background of the Study

Continents of the earth are not completely isolated from one another. Nation-states, the primary unit of continents, have carried out some of their operations in the global environment.

According to Emezi (1998, p. 193), “nation-states do not only come into contact with each other on their own continent but they also interact with nation-states in other continents.”

This global interaction occurs in what is known as the international system. States are the primary actors in global relations, therefore this can be realised. As a result, no nation, regardless of size, economic endowment, population, or other factors, can survive in isolation or as an island; interactions are unavoidable.

Nations seek assistance from others to ensure their survival. Foreign or external relations occur when one nation interacts with another. Foreign relations are driven by economic, political, and socio-cultural needs. Nigeria’s external contacts with the rest of the world began during the colonial era.

When Nigeria and other African countries first entered the international arena, the international order was a loose bipolar system with capitalist and socialist blocs. The two undisputed hegemonic powers were the United States of America (USA) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

The stance shifted as the USSR collapsed in 1990, ushering in the unique post-cold war era. As one would assume, global changes inevitably had a spillover effect on the African continent in general, and Nigeria in particular.

Furthermore, as the winds of change shifted, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) evolved into the African Union (AU). These reforms had a significant impact on foreign policy and relations. The reality is that external structure underpins Nigeria’s foreign policy and ties, as well as its economic development.

Despite this, the personal whims and caprices of Nigeria’s prior presidents had a greater impact. According to Fawole (2003:232), General Muhammadu Buhari’s regime and foreign relations contributed to the collapse of the Nigerian economy because of his personal grip on foreign policy matters

, such as “his border closure, expulsion of illegal aliens, currency changes, dramatic recognition of Sawahari Arab Democratic Republics, and diplomatic tit-for-tat with Britain.”

The long military dictatorship in Nigeria left a poor legacy by disrupting the process of routinely making foreign policy decisions. According to Fawole (2003:235), the military established their own form of decision-making in which the dictator’s wishes became law.

This is in contrast to the civilian age, in which the government was somewhat answerable to the people and the parliament for its acts. Over time, military rule provided no room for such accountability, and each dictator administered the country as he saw appropriate.

A practical example was the late General Sani Abacha’s foreign relations and policies, which were clearly a failure due to a series of diplomatic faux pax.Abacha tarnished Nigeria’s reputation in the world community and reduced the country to pariah status.

These issues helped to explain why Nigeria has struggled with unequal economic and social development, debt burden, internal political and religious crises, low production, corruption, low income per capita, insecurity, unemployment, a high rate of infant mortality, and so on.

Given the verifiable link between a leader’s personality and a country’s socioeconomic and political health, this study evaluates Nigerian Foreign Policy under the Goodluck Jonathan Administration between 2011 and 2015,

with the goal of determining the administration’s successes and failures in pursuing the country’s foreign policy goals as outlined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Chapter 2, Section 19 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria established Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives as follows:

The foreign policy objectives will be ­

(a) promote and preserve the national interest;

(b) promoting African integration and supporting African unity;

(c) promoting international cooperation for the consolidation of global peace and mutual respect among all nations, as well as the elimination of prejudice in all its forms;

(d) respect for international law and treaty commitments, as well as the pursuit of international dispute resolution through negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and adjudication; and

(e) The promotion of a just global economic order.

Top of the list of foreign policy objectives is the promotion and protection of national interests, which ostensibly include security and economic progress.

Since independence, particularly during the period under review, and even today, Nigeria has faced insecurity issues such as Boko Haram terrorism, armed robbery, kidnapping, political and ritual killings,

widespread poverty, large-scale unemployment, technological backwardness, decayed social and physical infrastructure, illiteracy, decreased life expectancy, debt crisis, political instability, and so on.

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