Nigeria in the Global System, 1960-1975: Exploring the Foundation of an Emergent African State’s International Relations

Solomon Tai OKAJARE


The interplay of colonization and attainment of independence as a critical element of inter-state relations in the contemporary international system has manifested in the nature and character of the relationship between African states (as former colonies) with other members of the global system particularly their former colonial masters. The Nigerian experience in terms of membership, status and activities within the international system, which largely typifies the African story, can be better understood and appreciated in that context. The 1960-1975 period remains a very critical phase in Nigerian history as an emergent African state given that, it was in the period that the first two regimes (civilian and military) ruled the country and provided the foundational architecture of governance upon which successive regimes built. It is against this backdrop that this article explores the Nigerian membership of the international system between 1960 and 1975. Adopting the analytical method of historical reconstruction as a valuable perspective for its discussion, the study is qualitative as it depends moderately on primary source materials, and largely on secondary source materials. The study found that some of the foreign policy decisions of the two regimes were not sufficiently well-thought out particularly in an atmosphere of international power rivalry, which represented a wide gate of multilateralism. Such decisions eventually ended as abysmal strategic failure, which has, for a long time, haunted the Nigeria’s drive for improved status and increased influence on, and prestige in, the international system.

Keywords: Membership, Foreign policy decision, Status, International influence

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