NIGERIAN FOREIGN POLICY DURING NIGERIAN BIAFRA WAR 1966 - 1975


Content

TABLE OF CONTENTS

      Pages       

Cover Page     ......................................................................................          i          

Certification ..................................................................................... ii

Dedication .......................................................................................  iii

Acknowledgement ...........................................................................            iv

Table of Contents      ........................................................................        v                                 

 

CHAPTER ONE

1.0       Introduction .............................................................................        1

1.1       Background to Nigerian Foreign Policy ....................................     1

 

CHAPTER TWO

2.0       Nigerian Foreign Policy During the Nigerian Biafran War,

1966- 975 ...............................................................................          12

2.1       The Domestic Politics of Nigeria Foreign Policies during

the war.....................................................................................          12

Note of References. .................................................................        18

 

CHAPTER THREE

3.0             The International Community, Nigeria Foreign Policy and

the War.............. .....................................................................          20

3.1             Nigeria's Foreign Policy Towards African and the World

Countries During the war ........................................................        20

3.2             Nigeria and Western Europe during the war...........................      25

3.3             Nigeria and the East During The War................... ...................      28

3.4             References ................................................... ...........................         32

 

CHAPTER FOUR

4.0       The Achievements and Constraints to Nigeria Foreign Policy

1966-1975……...........................................................................        34

4.1             Constraints …………………………....................................................     34

4.2             Achievements …………………………….............................................37

4.3             Summary and Conclusion..........................................................39

4.4             Future Challenges……………........................................................      40

4.5             Bibliography ...............................................................................43

4.6             References..................................................................................44

 

CHAPTER FIVE

5.1             Summary...................................................................................        45

5.2             Conclusion................................................................................         45

5.3             Recommendation ....................................................................        46

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background to Nigerian Foreign Policy

For a meaningful understanding of Nigeria's foreign policy, there is need to define the term foreign policy. Several attempts have been made to provide generally acceptable definition of foreign policy. However, as Olajide Aluko rightly observes, nobody has really            formulated a universally acceptable definition of the concept and probably will ever succeed in doing so. Meanwhile, for the purpose of this work, some of these definitions have been propounded by scholars quite renowned in International Relations.

Northedge conceptualizes foreign policy as interplay between the outside and the inside. Charles Lerche and Abdul A. Said maintain that "the foreign policy of a state usually refers to the general principles by which a state governs its reactions to the international environment. To Miller, "foreign policy is presumably something less than the sum of all policies which have an effect upon a national government's relations with other national governments".

In sum, foreign policy is essentially the instrumentality by which states influence or seek to influence the external world, and to attain objectives which that are in consonance with their perceived national interest.       

Hence we can conceive of Nigeria's foreign policy as the explicit objectives which Nigeria wants to pursue and achieve in her external relations. Essentially, it is the instrumentality by which Nigeria influences the global environment and through which she realizes objectives that are in conformity with her perceived national interest. More importantly, foreign policy therefore has to do with actions of a country towards the external environment or actions such a country takes in its relationship with others.

Foreign policy therefore remains a reflection of domestic policy. It is very important that in formulating foreign policy a nation must appreciate its national interest as earlier reiterated.

 

Meanwhile, the background to Nigerian policy could partly be found in its objectives and has subsequent roles and performance in the continent. The objective of Nigeria's foreign policy have since the country's attainment of nationhood in 1960, been broadly spelt out by successive administrations. Addressing the parliament on August 20 1960, the Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa identified certain fundamental objectives of Nigeria's foreign policy, the most prominent and on which others are anchored being "the promotion of national interest of the federation and of its citizens". This in essence means that Nigeria's foreign policy, like that of any other country ought to be fundamentally guided by the national interest. Unfortunately, what constitutes the country's national interest was not clearly articulated, and with the Balewa's administration and that of the two subsequent regimes of Ironsi and Gowon merely remised their foreign policies on their world perception of what they consider as Nigeria's interest. It was not until the inception of Murtala/Obasanjo's regime in 1975 that the broad strands of Nigeria's national interest was clearly addressed. The Adedeji Commission that was set up to examine Nigeria's foreign policy in all its ramifications made a number of recommendations that had far reaching effects on Nigeria’s external relations.

Based on the commission’s report, General Obasanjo in June 1976 identified the elements of national interest which also constitute the objectives of the country’s foreign policy as follows:

1.     The defence of our sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

2.     The creation of the necessary political and economic conditions in Africa and the rest of the world which will facilitate the defence of the independence and territorial integrity of the African countries while at the same time, foster nation’s self-reliance and rapid economic development.

3.     The promotion of equality and self-reliance in Africa and the rest of the developing world.

4.     The promotion and defence of justice and respect for human dignity especially the dignity of the Blackman.

5.     The defence and promotion of world peace.

However, while these grand objectives described Nigeria’s national interests, some of them as Aluko posits are not realizable and cannot therefore “provide national and realistic basis for the country’s behaviour”.

For instance, the second and third objectives seem to extend beyond the capacity of Nigeria. This is perhaps the reason why General Obasanjo lays emphasis on three broad objectives – territorial integrity, independence and rapid economic development as being central in the constitutional provision of the Federal Republic of Nigeria lucidly enact the basic objectives of Nigeria’s foreign policy under the fundamental objectives and directives principle of state policy. For instance, section 19 of the 1979 constitution states that:

“The state should promote African Unity, as well as total political economic, social and cultural liberation of Africa and all other forms of international cooperation. Conducive of the consolidation of universal peace and mutual respect and friendship among all peoples and states, and shall combat racial discrimination in all its manifestations”.

Similarly, section 20 of the 1989 constitution spells out the foreign policy goals of nation as follows:

1.     Promotion and protection of the national interest.

2.     Promotion of the total liberation of Africa from colonial rule and support of Africa Unity.

3.     Promotion of international cooperation from the consolidation of universal peace and mutual respect  among all nations and elimination of racial discrimination in all its manifestations.

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 promotion of a just world economic order.

Thus, both the 1979 and 1989 constitution enshrine the same foreign objectives, the promotion of a just world economic order being the only national in the 1989 constitution.  Inspite of this slight adjustment, the instance of the foreign objectives generally has not changed. Whatever differences that exist therefore cannot be attributed to changes in substance but rather in the emphasis placed on the specific objectives as well as the style adopted by a particular regime in executing the objectives.

Be that as it may, the conduct of Nigeria's foreign policy has been publicly proclaimed by them (Political Elites) to be guided by the same principle which are also in conformity with the well established principles of traditional law as well as the charter of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). They are:

(1)    Sovereign equality of all states

(2)    Respect of territorial integrity and independence of other states

(3)    Non-interference in the internal affairs of other states

(4)    Commitments to self determination and independence of other states

(5)    Commitments to functional approach as a means of promoting cooperation

         and peaceful co-existence in Africa; and

(6)    Non alignment to any geo-political power blocs.

 

As an independent, sovereign states, Nigeria has always emphasized the principle of legal equality of all states, that it also in conformity with her conviction that a well-ordered and peaceful society requires mutual and reciprocal respect for the interests and opinions of all the national actors. Hence, Nigeria since the Balewa regime and up to Abubakar administrations, she always made it abundantly clear that in the pursuit of her leadership role in Africa, she does not have any intention to dominate any country.

Also related to the principle of sovereign equality of all states is that of respect of territorial, integrity and independence of other states. It is the  belief of Nigeria that the territorial integrity of other states be respected. In the same vein, the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states has always been jealously guarded by Nigeria. She is found interfering in serious cases which bothers on the state's infringement of their people's human rights and the need for peace keeping. This accounted for Nigeria's intervention in the Chadian internal crisis in the 1970s and 1980s.

It was the launch of Nigerian government that conflict in Chad which is a neighbouring country poses security problem for Nigeria. On the other hand, Nigeria intervention in the Liberian and Sierra-Leonean domestic crises is essentially to justify her regional power status and perception of her leadership role in the sub-region.

It is also in the spirit of promoting cooperation and peaceful coexistence in Africa that Nigeria has sought membership of various international organizations. Upon her attainment of independence in 1960, the country joined the United Nations Organisation (UNO).

Nigeria also played active role in the formation of the organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, and propelled in the collaboration with Togo, the establishment of Economic of West African States (ECOWAS) in 1975.

The country has been playing front-line role in these organizations. For instance, she has been both chairman of the United Nations General Assembly and has been chairman of both OAU and the ECOWAS on a number of occasions. At independence, Nigeria foreign policy started on a moderate level. This is inevitably expected since the country obtained its independence on a platter of gold was not expected to be radical in the pursuit of foreign policy.

Having gained independence from the British, its colonial master, Nigeria still maintained a cordial relationship with Britain having a conservative relationship.

Before long, Nigeria embraced policy of non-alignment, which reflects a culture of non-committal to any political ideology whether from the East or West.

In spite of the unequivocal statement by the Prime Minister, Nigeria was unruffled. Even not the quest for an Anglo-Defence pact could deter him from not standing firm with the principles of non-alignment. The defence pact of 1961 was meant or rather conceived as a means by which Nigeria/Britain could have joint military relations.

Soon, the pact was dead when in 1962 it was seriously greeted with opposition from many that did not like the idea.

While all these lasted, the military struck in January 1966 and took over the reigns of power from the civilian. When the military eventually assumed the mantle of leadership, they continued to see how Nigeria's foreign policy could move forward.

Ironsi who became the Head of State could not inject any fundamental changes in Nigerian politics as he was busy trying to resolve huge political problems created by the Nigerian civil war, and in no distant time there was a counter coup which swept away the regime of Ironsi and bringing about Yakubu Gowon as the new Head of State. His regime witnessed a serious internal crisis and as a result, he could not achieve any significant progress during the war years.

By January 1970, the civil war came to an end, having raged for thirty months. The Western style of foreign policy remained unabated. To complicate matters, Nigeria experienced a strange relationship with Britain for failing to give military assistance to Nigeria during the war year. This prompted Nigeria to turn to the Soviet Union for help which she eventually got.

When the war eventually came to an end, the Nigerian economy blossomed as oil resumes boomed. Consequently, upon this, Nigeria provided leadership. In 1975, Gowon was toppled through a coup d'etat. Murtala regime made far-dramatic changes in Nigeria's foreign affairs. One of such change is the interaction of Nigeria in the politics of Angola.

In the course of freedom for independence of Angola, General Murtala Muhammed brought dynamism in Nigeria's foreign services and relations with the external world. Out of three contending groups for supremacy of power in Angola, Murtala Mohammed earnestly desired a National government for the people of Angola.

Having observed the intrigues between the East and West over UNITA and the National Front for the control of Angola, he (Murtala Muhammed) decided to support the MPLA popular Front for the liberation of Angola. With this move, even as South Africa was earnestly desiring a puppet government of UNITA in Luanda, Nigeria declared and recognized MPLA.

Before long, he was assassinated but this did not stop the nature of radicalism already in Nigerian foreign relations.

At his demise, Obasanjo Olusegun took over and continued in his footstep making Nigeria centre of his policy. Attempts were made to return to civil rule, which later materialized in 1979 when he handed power to Shehu Shagari.

In accordance with the Murtala/Obasanjo regime's political transition programme, General Obasanjo successfully handed power to the civilian. While in office, Shehu Shagari was not comfortable with the OAU summit as he refused to attend their summit in Tripoli, unless Libya meets two conditions.

The first was that the OAU member states should be allowed to participate and not Libya should withdraw its troops from Chad. His regime was terminated in 1985 by Ibrahim Babangida who came up with the structural adjustment programme. Unfortunately the SAP programme could not see the light of the day. Meaning that Nigeria's economy is still tied to the apron string of the white man.

Later, he came out with a military outfit - ECOMOG - Ecowas Military Group which is expected to keep peace in the continent. Babangida installed a puppet government when the heat was on following a political crisis that greeted the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, the regime has been following the footsteps of lbrahim Babangida when it was eventually removed from office by Sanni Abacha. Sanni Abacha later ensured a lasting solution to the Liberian crisis.

At his demise, after much political crisis which came with unending troubles, he Abubakar Abdulsalam took over from him and later ushered the Nigerian state to a democratic rule in May 1999.

 

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