Gerald McLoughlin

in International Relations

ISBN: 9780199743292
Published online November 2014 | | DOI:

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Nigeria is an important actor on the African and global stage. Its foreign practitioners and analysts often define Nigerian interests as operating within four concentric circles. The innermost circle represents Nigeria and its immediate neighbors; the second circle revolves around Nigeria’s relations with its west African neighbors; the third circle focuses on continental African issues; and the fourth circle involves Nigeria’s relations with entities outside Africa. The degree to which Nigeria may influence the four circles is a matter of debate—the fact that it does is not. It is an active participant in the United Nations and in global international affairs. Nigerian leaders often state their ambitions to play a larger role on the international scene. It helped found the two principal organizations of African states, the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It remains willing and able to use its military regionally (see Question of Intervention) and, to some degree, outside the region. It has been a major contributor of forces to security operations on the continent and has also long been the largest African contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa and beyond. Nigeria has become an important partner for the United States as well (see US-Nigeria Relations). These developments have generated and animated a vigorous international relations literature on a global scale. Nigeria itself has created high-quality research universities and think tanks since independence. Nevertheless, strong debate continues over how to apply international relations theories and even whether or not the case of Nigeria challenges the applicability or even the validity of these theories (see Nigeria Challenges International Relations Theory). The formation of Nigerian foreign policy and, even its nature, are also subjects of vigorous research and even controversy (see Formation of Nigerian Foreign Policy). This has led to a controversy as whether or not so-called traditional international relations theory (and, in particular, neorealism) applies to Nigeria. Given the volume of material generated, this short article, even with a narrow focus on Nigeria and international relations, cannot attempt to be complete. It will attempt to list some of the more useful and frequently cited generally available work (which also means that it will cite almost exclusively English-language material) on Nigeria and international relations with a strong bias for Nigerian voices. The article will include works from the last few decades of post-independence Nigeria to give the reader a sense of intellectual continuity and change. The article will also focus on international relations commentaries and analyses rather than raw data.

Article.  8219 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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