POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICA: A CSAE STUDY OF NIGERIA’S ROLES WRITTEN BY OTU GABRIEL JERRY DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY

AND DIPLOMATIC STUDIES UNIVERSITY OF PORT HARCOURT

JAN, 2011

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Politically. she gave material and financial backing to the South Africa black liberation movement and actually nationalized British assets such as British Petroleum. maintenance of peace and security and work for the unity of the African States. has since independence in 1960 thrown its weight behind Africa’s political and economic development both in words and actions demonstrated in various ways and circumstances. by this. total political. Nigeria foreign policy since its independence shows Nigeria’s commitment to Africa. Nigeria has played a significant role in the development of the African continent beginning from the decade of decolonization in the 1960’s and 1970’s Nigeria has in line with Pan-African ideals supported various liberation struggle and democratic institutionalization in the Continent. Nigeria at independence adopted Africa as the centre-piece of her Foreign policy. economic roles. 1999 and 2006 Nigeria constitutions commits Nigeria to the creation of necessary economic and political conditions in Africa and the promotion of African unity. Nigeria pledged her commitment to the total liberation of Africa from colonial politic domination. Instances abound to demonstrate this claim about Nigeria’s role in Africa’s Political development.Introduction The discussion of the efforts at the political and economic development of Africa by actors (State or Private individuals) will not be complete without the mention and recognition of Nigeria’s roles. The elements of Nigeria’s national interests. As such. social and cultural liberation of Africa. Thus. Nigeria spoke against the continued practice of apartheid regime in Africa. Firstly. Nigeria did not stop at this. The pursuit of Africa as the centre-piece of Nigeria’s foreign policy lends credence to her recognition of cooperation with other African countries as a “Conditio sine qua non” for a self-reliant development on the continent. which were recommended by the Adedeji Panel in 1976 and the 1979. challenges and prospect of Nigeria’s roles in Africa’s political and economic development in the 21 st Century. Nigeria often regarded as Africa’s giant mainly because of her historical antecedents such as population and natural resources. this paper would be discussed in three sub-heading vis: Political roles. To demonstrate this. economic. the focus of this paper will be to explore the position of Nigeria in Africa’s political cum economic development. Barclay 2 .

Again. It would be agreed that Nigeria’s roles in Africa’s Political 3 . Similarly. Instances such as that of Liberia. Nigeria committed her resources – human and material in seeing to the smooth transition to civilian rule in Liberia. Furthermore. an action that may have contributed to his assassination later. against the stance of her Western allies Britain and United State aided and supported the liberation of the blacks from white domination in Angola by recognizing and backing the Augustino Neto led black majority liberation movement (MPLA) as the national government of Angola. Ivory Coast. Nigeria has through ECOMOG spear headed peace keeping missions. In the areas of Peace and Security. functionalist strategy that resulted in the formation of OAU in Addis Ababa in May 1963. Nigeria during Gowon government refused to identify and recognize the Unilateral declaration of independence from Britain by Ian Smith which was targeted at keeping power perpetually in the hand of the white minority in Rhodesia now Zimbabwe. Nigeria is held the world over as a maintainer of peace because of her role in United Nations peace keeping missions all over Africa. Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast by recognizing quatarah and not Gbagbo as the winner of their presidential election early this year. Sudan. in the area of democratization. during Murtala/Obasanjo government. Nigeria was among the first countries in the world to recognize the Provisional Government of Libya. Niger etc. peace building and democratization in Africa. To achieve this. Nigeria with Ethiopia decided to favour the Monrovia. are good examples. financial and moral wealth to work for the total emancipation of Africans from white minority regimes especially in Southern Africa. Nigeria also used its material. Nigeria. To reconcile the two opposing groups. That is not all. Recently. To crown it all. Nigeria was a major player in the process that led to the evolution of the OAU now AU by breaching the gap between the radical/militant Casablanca group and the more conservative/moderate Brazzaville group who were divided on ideological grounds on the approach to be adopted in the African unification process. Sierra Leone.bank to Africa Petroleum and Union Bank when Britain refused to discontinue her recognition and support for the South African Apartheid Government at Nigeria’s insistence.

Adedeji inspired the formation of a Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce. she has been looked upon as the engine room of Africa. Gown had established cooperation in the field of defense and security. Also. To enhance economic ties with her neighbour. big brother “spraying” of financial resource strategy as exhibited in Benin and Guinea in the mid 1970’s. it was the Lagos plan of Action and the Final Act of Lagos adopted in the mid 1980 by the OAU Extraordinary Summit which became major landmarks for African integration. First because of he populated and size she is regarded as the largest market in Africa and due to her natural resources. legal and industrial assistance in terms of providing 4 .development cannot be over emphasized especially when considering the fact that. Nigeria adopted the benevolent. Industry and agriculture in 1963. In the same spirit. Nigeria has used her resources in sponsoring the economic integration of the West African Sub-region that resulted in the formation of ECOWAS in 1973. In the economic sphere Nigeria has been and is still a major player. Similarly. in return for Toure’s pledge of cooperation with Nigeria in bilateral schemes. made substantial financial investments in industrial enterprises located in some of these Countries. This was demonstrated when the then Balewa government through it Commissioner for Economic Development Prof. Caribbean and Pacific) negotiations ensuring that the terms of the negotiations did not jeopardize the formation of ECOWAS. In all. To demonstrate her commitment. the Gowon administration in pursuant of African economic development tied the question of a West African Economic Community to the then pending EEC-ACP (African. She also sold oil to African States at concessionary rates. Nigeria agreed to supply Niger with electricity from Nigeria’s Kanji dam at the maximum rate of 30. Nigeria demonstrated its willingness to forgo immediate economic gains and to play an active leadership role in the economic integration of West Africa. medical educational.000 kilowatts per day. Nigeria spent large sums of money in the form of grants and low-interest loans to other West African State. Nigeria established the Technical Aid Corps through which it gives free technical. and financed the construction of road and markets in a few of these West African States. In Guinea.

Nigeria has also through ECOWAS. human and industrial commitment to Africa’s political and economic development. low industrial capacity. Nigeria has also partnered with South Africa in what later crystallized in the African Union share of its vision of African Renaissance. lack of maintenance culture and political continuity. It is worthy to note that not long ago. the Millennium Partnership for the Recovery Programme (MAP) which was a joint initiative of President Obasanjo and Mbeki. despite Nigeria’s significant roles in the political and economic development of Africa. Nigeria hosted a number of African Heads of Government in Abuja to harmonize the new African Initiative. it is now clear. absence of a diversified economy. All these had contributed in limiting Nigeria’s financial. must first learn to rule Himself”. Both Countries are supporters and promoters of the New African Initiative (NEPAD) as well as its immediate antecedent. it should be noted that the leadership role for the continent is thrust upon Nigeria. human and natural resources and good governance in transforming its domestic economic. On the other hand. In spite of its short coming. material. initiated the West African Gas Pipeline project to burst electricity supply for industrial and domestic use in the sub-region and has also implemented a rail project linking Lagos to Accra and Dakar. However. poor national infrastructures.expatriate services to African Countries. In summary. who must rule the world. political and industrial capacity into a formidable tool in the pursuit of her foreign policy objectives. she has also been faced with a lot of challenges that seem to downplay her efforts in the continent. the Omega plane and MAP into a “Marshal plan” for the continent later known as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Some of these domestic challenges includes public corruption that tend to sabotage government efforts. that Nigeria has and still has the capability to play an active role in the political and economic development of Africa. She 5 . the prospect of Nigeria’s roles in Africa seem bright if she would utilize her large market potentials. As the saying goes” He. poverty in the mist of plenty. insecurity as seen in the recent activities of the Boko Haram sect. internal ethnic rivalry and absence of national ideological orientation.

self-reliant domestic economic and political environment.should thus rise up to the task by seizing the opportunities such as United Nations negotiations and EU economic partnership to advance Africa’s interest while still maintaining a stable. 6 . peaceful.

Adaye Orugbani (2003) Principles of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy. See “The Punch” September 28. (1090) The structure and Process of Foreign Policy Making and Implementation in Nigeria. Port Harcourt: Paragraphics Press 3. 2011 vol. 977 6. Lagos: NIIA 2.29 no. The Brooking Institute 4. 11. Eds. Claude Ake (1996) Democracy and Development in Africa. 1960-1990.17 no. 2011 vol. Lagos: NIIA 5. Joy Ogwu (2005) New Horizons for Nigeria in World Affairs. 956 7.29. 20. Akindele. 11. A. 933 7 . See “The Guardian” September 26. no. 2011 vol. See “” August 29.Notes and References 1. Washington DC.

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