The study is an assessment of Nigeria’s foreign policy under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan . This work is necessitated on the premise that no state in the modern times can avoid involvement in international affairs, and this involvement must be systematic and based on certain principles.  The objective of this work was to determine if Nigeria’s policy under the period in view had significant impact on Nigerian global image. Data for this study was obtained from secondary sources; the expose facto research design was adoptedwhile the qualitative descriptive method was adopted to analyze data. The concentric circles theory formed a framework of analysis. The research unfolded findings that Nigerian foreign policy under Jonathan’s administration had less positive impact on Nigeria’s global image; internal challenges were responsible for poor implementation of policies. The study recommended the re-implementation of Nigeria’s vital interest, which involves the security of lives and properties, protection of her society and defense of independence. Nigerians in Diaspora must be recognized and encouraged because they play a permanent role in advancing the foreign policies of the country.





1.1       Background of the Study

All states have some kind of relations with one another. No state in the modern times can avoid the involvement in the international affairs, and this involvement must be systematic and based on certain principles. In other words, states have to behave with one another in a particular manner. The framing of the foreign policy is, therefore, an essential activity of a modern state, for a state without foreign policy is like a ship without rider which may drift aimlessly and may be swept away by a storm of current events. What a state intends to do is defined by its interests; what is actually able to achieve is a function of its military and economic capability as well as the quality of its diplomacy. The history of Nigerian foreign policy since 1960 has constantly been changing, though the principles guiding her foreign relations remain the same (Gambari, 1989). Nigerian leaders are largely responsible for these unstable external relations. Apparantly, Nigeria’s foreign policy is deeply rooted in Africa with strategic emphasis on political and economic cooperation, peaceful dispute resolution, and global nonalignment (Gambari, 1989). Nigerian leaders also have their attention fixed on the successful implementation of these principles. However, the influence of individual personality on Nigeria’s relations with other countries cannot be totally ignored as different leaders adopt different styles in conducting external relations.

Examining the personality of the leader both at the theoretical and practical levels is therefore important to the understanding of Nigeria’s foreign policy. This is largely due to the fact that critical historical analysis revealed that the country’s foreign policy is synonymous to personality of the leader on board at any given time. However, it is important to accentuate that Nigeria’s foreign policy started at moderate level since independence in 1960. This may be largely due to smooth power relinquishing that occurred between Nigeria and the then colonial master (Britain). The crux of the matter remains that, there was nothing in the pattern and traditions of Nigerian foreign policy from independence to the emergence of Sani Abacha as Head of state to suggest that the country would become a pariah state in the international system. Even the speech of the Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa on Independence Day October 1, 1960 seemed to indicate that Nigeria was properly focused and her mind set firmly directed at the goal of her foreign policy. He declared thus;

I have indeed very confident that, based on the happy experience of a successful partnership our future relations with the United Kingdom will be more cordial than ever, bound together as we shall be in the common wealth by a common allegiance to her majesty Queen Elizabeth whom we proudly acclaim as Queen of Nigeria (hence) we are grateful to the British Officers who we have known, first as masters and then as leaders and finally as partners but always as friends (Balewa, 1960:26).

Immediately after, on October 7, 1960, Nigeria registered herself as the 99th member of the United Nations thereby becoming a recognized member of the international community. By her resources and even size, Nigeria was at the fore-front of Africa, providing with others, the necessary leadership and to fight the clutches of colonialism, neo-colonialism, underdevelopment, poverty, famine and racial discrimination. In fairness, some leaders gave the nation its right of place.

President Olusegun Obasanjo, at inauguration in May, 1999, inherited a nation with a battered image and without credibility externally. In his determination to regain Nigeria’s lost glory and re-integrate it into the civilized world, he engaged in a deft shuttle diplomacy across the major capitals of the globe. It is in view of the above imperative that the study is set to examine the gains and challenges of Obasanjo’s administration on Nigeria foreign policy in the 21st century.

President Good luck Jonathan following his victory in the 2011 elections, before the anxious 100 days in office, directed presidential advisory council on international relations (PACIR) to coordinate the reforming of Nigeria’s foreign policy to be investment oriented. Coupled with his interactive forum with Nigerians abroad during his foreign visits, the president asked the nation’s foreign policy experts, seasoned diplomats, professionals and intelligentsia to chart a new way for the future without discarding the past.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Relations between Nigeria and other state and non–state actors in international politics from 1999 onward were based on democratic principles. The tit-for-tat diplomacy of late Gen. Sani Abacha, de facto President of Nigeria from 1993 to 1998 had greatly damaged the image of Nigeria. The government was accused of human rights abuses and was repeatedly condemned by the U.S. State Department. There were break in relationship with many countries with threats of economic sanctions from others. Apart from this, the government was characterized by an inconsistent foreign policy which made Nigeria a scorn in the comity of nations.

The goal of every foreign policy is to establish and maintain a cordial relationship with other nations as well as to build a good image for a nation and meet its national or domestic interest. This invariably means that foreign policy is important in formulating, maintaining and sustaining a nation’s good image. The Jonathan administration, like many other administrations in Nigeria has never lacked good foreign policies. The problem of Nigeria’s foreign policy that is affecting the country’s image is not in formulation, but in implementation [Nwankwo O (2013)].

In response to this, the research work therefore aims at assessing Nigerian foreign policy under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration from 2011-2015. The research will also find out the extent of implementation of the foreign policy issues that President Jonathan focused on to implement.


1.3       Research questions

  1. Did Nigeria’s Foreign Policy under Goodluck Jonathan regime have any positive impact on Nigerian’s image globally?
  2. How has international organisation enhanced Nigerian’s economic development?
  3. What were the challenges of implementation of Nigeria’s foreign policy Under Goodluck Jonathan’s administration?

1.4       Objectives of the study

This study has both broad and specific objectives. The broad objective of this study is to evaluate Nigeria’s foreign policy under theadministration of President Goodluck Jonathan 2011 to 2015. However, the specific objectives are as follows:

  1. To determine if Nigeria’s ForeignPolicy under President Goodluck Jonathan regime had any implication on Nigeria’s global image.
  2. To examine how international organisation enhanced Nigerian’s economic development.
  3. To ascertain the challenges of implementation of Nigeria’s foreign policy Under Goodluck Jonathan’s administration

1.5 Scope of the Study

This study focuses on Nigeria’s foreign policy under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan 2011 to 2015, in relation with its achievements with the regional body of Ecowas. It looks at the influence of personality on the conduct of foreign policy. Other areas which this study covers include the domestic factors that influenced the foreign policy of Goodluck Jonathan. Moreover, the key achievements of Goodluck Jonathan foreign policy as regards domestic economic growth, political stability, regional security, and international participation are covered in this research. However, the research will be limited to the foreign policy implementations of President Goodluck Jonathan and does not intend to provide a biography of the man nor do a comprehensive study of all his political activities in Nigeria.

1.6 Limitations of the Study

In producing a work like this, the problem that confronted the researcher was not the scarcity of materials, but its availability. More so, this research work is contemporary and politically sensitive. The researcher therefore was confronted with the problem of interpretation of the actions of President Goodluck Jonathan as some of the policies initiated are still an on-ongoing process. Time and funds served as serious impediments to this research.

1.7 Significance of the Study

This study has theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, it will add to already existing knowledge in the field of foreign relations and related fields. Practically;

  1. It will be useful to scholars’ especially diplomatic historians, political scientists, economists and international relations experts in their research. Diplomats like ambassadors, high commissioners and staffers of foreign ministries will benefit from the work
  2. The study will be of paramount importance to decision makers and the would-be diplomats for it traces the historical development of Nigeria foreign policy since 1960.
  3. It will help to re-affirm the bold attempt made by the democratic governments under various administrations, especially that of Goodluck Jonathan.
  4. This research work will help in providing information on the domestic factors that influenced Nigeria’s foreign policy under President Goodluck Jonathan from 2011 to 2015.
  5. The political and military class will learn, through this study, the need for them to be patriotic.


The mode of data analysis was qualitative which is largely descriptive and analytical. Descriptive analysis is an interpretative analysis based on data collection. As regards data analysis, a combination of simple descriptive – analytical and deductive methods was mainly employed. Inferences were drawn from writings and commentaries of other scholars. The method however was premised on the realist theory. Data were largely sourced through secondary source including textbook, journals, magazines, academic papers, internet and other scholarly materials on the problem of study.




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