This is a study that examines Nigeria's role as a leader in Africa when it comes to international relations it took a critical view of its role as the authentic leader since 1975 with special reference to OAU where Nigeria initially despite colossal funding played a less leading role.



Here is a study which overviewed Nigeria's role since its wake from slumber in the 70s by accepting a frontline position in establishing West African Economic Commission (ECOWAS).



An appraisal of Nigeria's relationship internationally, the global response, the travails and victories.






Title of page                                                                                                             i

Certification                                                                                                             ii

Dedication                                                                                                                iii

Acknowledgements                                                                                               iv

Abstract                                                                                                                    v

Table of Contents                                                                                                   vi



Introduction                                                                                                            1

Research Methodology                                                                                        3

Synopsis                                                                                                                    4

Literature Review                                                                                                   5

Notes and References                                                                                           9



The Genesis of Nigeria’s Leadership                                                                 10

Role in African Relations                                                                                      19

Notes and References                                                                                           26



The Benefits or Gains of Nigeria’s Leadership                                                28

Role in African Relations                                                                                      32

Notes and References                                                                                           38


The Attitude of African Countries towards Nigeria’s Leadership              40

Role in Inter-African Relations                                                                            43

End Notes                                                                                                                 45


CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions, Prospects, Problems and Recommendations   

Conclusions                                                                                                              46

Prospects                                                                                                                  47

Problems                                                                                                                  50

Recommendations                                                                                                 52

Notes and References                                                                                           54

Bibliography                                                                                                            56












Nigeria was granted independence by Britain on. October 1, 1960 before then, she had been under British tutelage for virtually a century.

After independence, Nigeria was still linked to Britain and the West economically, politically as well as culturally. At independence, it seemed that Nigerian leaders showed no desire to break these historical ties and identity more with African countries, or to establish links with Socialist States. Consequently, the mass media and the politician exhibited sentimental attachment to the West, and looked up to Britain and the West generally, for, direction in-the formulation of Nigeria's foreign policy.

It is thus clear that it was during Gowon administration that African assumed the focus of Nigeria's foreign policy. As a result of this new policy stance, African received greater attention henceforth. In view of this, Gowon developed closer relationship with .his counterparts in the continent. There was also notable increase in the amount of financial and technical assistance Nigeria gave to other African states. Among the thrusts of this essay, is Nigeria's greater involvement in the liberation struggle especially in Southern Africa.

The civil war did not radically change but rather strengthened  the country's African policy as enunciated by the Tafawa Abubakar's regime, the OAU's support to Nigeria during the war intensified Nigeria’s interest in OAU, Mr. Harold Wilson used the OAU's principles several times to justify his government's support for the Federal Government of Nigeria. At the same time, the stand of the OAU was expressed on several occasions regarding the Civil War as an internal affair. This has led to stronger commitment from Nigeria to the building of a virile OAU.  For instance, in 1970-1, the Nigeria government increased its contribution to the OAU budget to 150,000 Pounds. This equals to the 47% over its 1968-9 contribution.

Nigeria's radical commitment to the eradication of colonialism and imperialism from Africa assumed new proportions as a result of the support, given by South Africa to UNITA rebels during the Angolan crisis. After 1968, Nigerian government has been providing assistance to the various revolutionary groups of Southern Africa. This new move was borne out of the allegations that the funds meant for the OAU liberation Committee were alleged to have been used by the Tanzania government to back up the secessionists. As a result of this confidence, the idea of using Nigerian troops against the white minority of South Africa to gain acceptance especially among the decision makers. For instance, in March 1970, Chief Enahoro said in a press conference that the solution to the racial problems in Southern Africa would mainly involve the commitment of development of some of our resources and that in such task Nigeria has to play a prominent role.

The civil was lesson explain that the security and freedom of the country depend on the security, stability and freedom of her neighbours. There was then the suggestion of this novel idea creating a sub-regional economic community which will comprise of Nigeria and her neighbours.  Nigeria believes that as long as neighbouring countries remained financially dependent of France, they could easily be manipulated against Nigeria's stability.



The regimes before the civil war played less formidable and forceful role in Africa affairs compared to the activities of regimes during and after the war. Nigeria especially in the immediate years after independence played less of a leading role within the African continent.

This is connected to. 'the state of Nigeria's economy as at then. In 1963, the population of Nigeria was about 22% of that of the whole Africa, and then, there was the belief that she should lead Africa. This hope was dashed as all attempts to choose Lagos as the headquarters of the OAU proved abortive. Also, when a new Secretary-General was to be elected, Nigeria proposed a Camerounian Minister, Mr. Nzo Ekjangaki, and it was he who got the job. Thus within nine years, Nigeria moved from a position of vying for the OAU crown for herself to one of kingmakers.

Political instability also characterized the regime of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa's First Republic. He had to contend with internal politics, this consequently to Africa, and foreign policy in general, For instance early in 1962, Sir Abubakar had to cancel his proposed visits to some Africa countries because of internal political unrest.



The research methodology was majorly library research. Much of the study involved an extensive literature on Nigeria and her leadership role in Africa. This reading certainly sharpened our theoretical focus and understanding of Nigeria's role inter-African relations. In this regards, the library research focused mainly on secondary sources of information. These include books, articles in journals, newspaper, seminar papers both published and unpublished.

To some extent, primary sources of information were used. They are interviews, questionnaires and field works. Efforts to get lots of these primary sources of information proved relatively difficult. This was as a result of financial limitation which made traveling difficult. The unwillingness by most of the policy makers to grant interview, also limited the strength of my primary sources of information.

In spite of the foregoing, there is still a sound possibility of making enlightened propositions based on the existing facts and information form the library.



CHAPTER ONE:        Introduction

CHAPTER TWO:      The Genesis of Nigeria's Leadership Role in African Relations.

CHAPTER THREE:    The Benefits or Gains of Nigeria's Leadership Role in African  Relations.

CHAPTER FOUR:     The attitude of African countries towards Nigeria's Leadership Role in Inter African Relations.

CHAPTER FIVE:        Conclusion

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