NIGERIA’S ROLE IN THE INTEGRATION OF WEST AFRICAN STATES
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CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION
- BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
- OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
- LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1.1 PROCESS OF INTEGRATION
2.1.2 CONDITIONS ESSENTIAL FOR INTEGRATION
2.1.3 IMPORTANCE OF INTEGRATION
2.2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.2.1 NATIONAL ROLE THEORY AND HEGEMONIC STABILITY THEORY
2.2.2 FUNCTIONALISM AND NEO-FUNCTIONALISM
CHAPTER THREE: THE REGIONAL INTEGRATION PROCESS IN WEST AFRICA
3.1 HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF INTEGRATION IN WEST AFRICA
3.2 THE STRUCTURE OF THE ECOWAS
3.3 REGIONAL INTEGRATION AGENDA OF ECOWAS
3.4 CHALLENGES OF REGIONAL INTEGRATION IN WEST AFRICA
CHAPTER FOUR: THE ROLE OF NIGERIA IN THE REGIONALINTEGRATION OF WEST AFRICAN STATES
4.1 THE POLITICAL DIMENSION OF NIGERIA’S ROLE IN SUB-REGIONAL INTEGRATION
4.2 THE ECONOMIC DIMENSION OF NIGERIA’S ROLE IN SUB-REGIONAL INTEGRATION
4.3 THE SOCIO-CULTURAL DIMENSION OF NIGERIA’S ROLE IN SUB-REGIONAL INTEGRATION
4.4 AN EVALUATION OF NIGERIA’S ROLE IN THE INTEGRATION OF WEST AFRICAN STATES
4.4.1 CHALLENGES TO NIGERIA’S LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE INTEGRATION OF WEST AFRICAN STATES
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS.
CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
One motive that influenced the creation of almost all the West African International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) is the unity which has its origin in the Pan-African movements (UNECA 1983). According to Essien (2006) efforts at regional and sub-regional integration in Africa go back to the immediate post-colonial period. It was seen as an extension of the liberation movements and an effort to construct geographic entities that were economically viable and politically united. It also reflected the prevailing European experience with its emphasis on free trade within a Common External Tariff area. Thus, Anadi (2012) observed that, “by the 1960’s when most of the West African states gained their independence, the realities of the enormous distortions inherent in the colonial economy came to the fore.
First, they were utterly left with highly fragile and structurally truncated economies based on the export of one or two agricultural commodities with inherent price distortions in the international commodity market. Also, the fact that none of these states’ national currencies were convertible further worsened the already destabilizing balance of payments problems in both their trade within the region and in their trade with other regions of the world” (Anadi 2005). The founding fathers of ECOWAS were quite aware of the huge challenges that confronted them at independence, following the years of unbridled exploitation and utter neglect of the basic needs of the citizens by the colonial masters; Britain, France and Portugal. Consequently, successful nation building has remained the biggest challenge for them because their economies are small, weak and highly competitive.
Accordingly, they were unable to exploit the complementarities of big and strong economies and are equally incapable of competing effectively within the global economy. These realities made regional integration an attractive option for West Africa. Undeniably, also, globalisation processes have brought home forcefully to the region the reality that it is impossible for any country, including the most economically and politically powerful, to go it alone. Now, more than ever before, all countries need one another to survive in a world where states are intricately weaved together economically, politically and technologically, with significant externalities for those that are unable to catch the globalisation train (Sesay and Omotosho 2011). They also argue that contemporary integration schemes, particularly those in Africa, are essentially a post-World War II phenomenon.
Like many aspects of the present international system, they are largely inspired by developments in Europe and are specifically located in the determination of European statesmen to put an end to the rivalry between France and Germany, which was responsible for some of the most violent conflicts in their continent. More directly, contemporary integration projects in Africa and elsewhere are inspired by the seven-nation European Coal and Steel Community set up in 1951 to channel the energies of France and Germany to more productive ventures, and to prevent an outbreak of hostilities between them that could lead to another Europe-wide conflict with adverse global consequences (Sesay and Omotosho 2011). It can further be argued that, this must have inspired Nigeria to embark on spearheading the creation of ECOWAS given its experience in the civil war. It is noted that one of the reasons for the creation of international organizations is that it promotes cooperation and lessens the occurrence of violent conflicts (Goldstein and Pevehouse; 2011).
Generally, the ECOWAS sub-regional arrangement is attributable to the idea of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).The idea was an economic grouping embracing all the states in West Africa which was set forth at UNECA’s first meeting held in December 1962. The Economic Commission of Africa’s standing committee on industry, natural resources and transport decided to render assistance to governments in promoting sub-regional co-operation in the development of industries on the basis of international specialization, and in the harmonization where appropriate, of industrial developmental plans through studies and field investigation. This development is the result of the realization that all West African states are underdeveloped, that almost all of them are too small in size to develop the broad range of complex industries that characterized a modern economy and that they have to cooperate if they are to emerge from the situation of underdevelopment” (UNECA, 1983:16).
Furthermore, it must be noted that the imbalances caused by colonialism, particularly, the economic and associated development problems it brought about, with a continuing food shortage, high population growth rates, dependence on commodity exports, unfavourable terms of trade, huge balance of payments deficit, increasing indebtedness and the ineffective development strategies adopted by the new independent States of Africa spurred the need for a more viable development strategy for a self-reliant economy. Therefore, the Pan-African Movements which were to come to a compromise of achieving a common supranational platform for combating colonialism and neo-colonialism can be seen as one of the facilitating factors to the realization of integration schemes that emerged across the African continent. Particularly, the ideological row between the progressive Casablanca Group and the conservative Monrovia Group subsequently saw to the triumph of the Brazzaville – Monrovia Group and the eventual creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963. Nigeria belonged to the conservative group. The rationale for this compromise was to gain a common ground for the struggle against colonialism and imperialism and resolve the crises of underdevelopment which as Kwame Nkrumah put it, meant “seeking first the political kingdom”. Regional integration was to follow via pan-Africanism because of the need for economic development, it was realized that independence didn’t mean the end to Africa’s problems.
After the establishment of the OAU, it became apparent that the African States needed another platform at the sub-regional level to promote African development. Indeed, the African Economic Community (AEC) was designed to enhance Regional Economic Communities (REC) as a means of achieving economic development by proffering regional economic integration as a development strategy. Therefore, AEC’s objective was to attain integration at the continental level by way of consolidating existing RECs and creating new ones where none existed. Other such platforms as the United Nation’s 6th and 7th special sessions of the General Assembly which aimed at the establishment of a New International Economic Order (NIEO), had in its set of resolutions which it desired to achieve, one of which is ‘an economic order which urges closer economic ties among developing regions and States and stresses possibilities of increased trade and technical and economic cooperation. It also laid emphasis on effective control by developing countries over their natural resources and on the harmonization of policies for the exploitation, conservation, transformation and marketing of these resources on the ground that they are indispensable for economic and social progress of the countries concerned. This proposition called for action among developing countries at the national, sub-regional, regional or inter-regional levels (Adedeji, 1984:4). As such, it can be argued that ECOWAS was established following the propositions of the UN General Assembly in its agitations for a New International Economic Order and strengthened through the AEC instruments of the AU. Carstens deservedly acknowledged the efforts and dogged determination of Adebayo Adedeji, erstwhile Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to the formation of ECOWAS. He was convinced that Africa would not be able to compete with the rest of the world unless it is united economically and politically; and that such a process should start at the much smaller regional level (Sesay and Omotosho; 2011).
In the view of Audu, “the idea of some form of economic co-operation among member states of the West African sub region was born in the early sixties immediately after the granting of independence to most West Africa countries. It was felt then that each of the constituent states of West Africa on its own, except perhaps Nigeria was too small to realize its economic potential. Also, it was felt that despite the similarities of the constituent states, there was room for specialization both in the agricultural and industrial sectors which could not be developed purely on a national basis. The main economic argument for the establishment of an economic community in West Africa is the creation of a large market” (Audu1986: 347). Corroborating this view is the position of Lolette Kritzinger-van Niekerk (2011) who pointed out that the argument is equally made with respect to the size of the national markets in the region. Except for Nigeria, the markets of other ECOWAS states are small, making them uncompetitive and unattractive to the outside world. Successful regional integration was believed, would increase the size of the market; enhance competition and efficient production due to economies of scale. All things being equal then, it was much easier for the enlarged West African market to attract foreign investment that will benefit the region provided the investors do not engage in tariff-jumping (Sesay and Omotosho; 2011).
The efforts of Nigeria in the establishment of ECOWAS have been tremendous and noteworthy. Ajayi (1983) observed that it was the initiative of Nigeria and Togo that revived the idea of an all-encompassing West African grouping in April 1972 for a process of achieving a West African-wide economic co-operation. On 14 December 1973, a ministerial meeting was held in Lome, Togo, attended by fifteen West African States which agreed in principle to establish an Economic Community of West African States. The meeting called on Nigeria to draw up detailed proposals for the future shape of the community. In May 28, 1975, the heads and representatives of the fifteen states finally assembled in Lagos and signed the Treaty establishing the ECOWAS (Ajayi,1983:145). Also, the country’s participation in spearheading the creation of ECOWAS is informed by the power structure in the West African sub-region with Nigeria being the dominant power within the bloc. As the leader of the bloc in the region it naturally became the “hegemon” because of its military superiority, large population compared to the others, diverse and enormous economic resources and a relatively stable political environment. Therefore, the conduct of Nigeria’s internal and external relations has had an effect on its neighbours and this is for the safeguarding of its national interest. This posture upholds the truism as observed by Alli that the key interest of states in the international arena which determines the content of foreign policy include achievement of security, socio-economic welfare and power. The use of national interest as a cornerstone of foreign policy is the key element of the road more travelled in world politics (2010:221). As a result of occurrences in the past, it can thus be recalled that in the early 1960s, Britain and the Commonwealth dominated Nigeria’s foreign policy.
However, Nigeria had bilateral relations with its immediate neighbors but was totally indifferent to the internal political struggles in the countries of its neighbours (Nwolise, 1989:194). As a result, the conflict that eventually characterized the Nigerian Civil War saw some West African States and some African States supporting the Biafran secession, notably, Coted’Ivoire, Gabon, Tanzania and also Zambia. However, OAU as a body denounced the secession and called for the recognition of the unity and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state. Hence, Pham observed that the Nigerian government’s initiative in the formation of ECOWAS in 1975 underlined the importance of the sub-region in Nigeria’s security and diplomacy especially those that emanated from its immediate environment, particularly its neighbours. Nigeria, therefore, after the war, embarked on a vigorous policy of uniting African countries (Pham, 2007:6).
The survival of the Nigerian nation was due in part to the diplomatic support it received from the majority of OAU states. Nigeria became convinced that it could achieve more with the united will of Africa, regionally or as a whole. Nigeria, therefore, took the initiative to spearhead the establishment of ECOWAS (Audu, 1986:352). Also observed by Gambari (1986) is the fact that, “at the end of the country’s Civil war, Nigeria’s Head of State, General Gowon, also worked hard to repair the country’s relations with neighbouring and other African states. He restored relations with these countries that recognized “Biafra” and played active role in the affairs of the OAU. General Gowon was the Prime Mover of the diplomatic efforts that led to the establishment of the ECOWAS. Hence, his successors, Murtala and Obasanjo consciously concretized the “African Centrepiece Concept” in Nigeria’s foreign policy. It was coined and expressed in the Adedeji Report on Foreign Relations during the regime (Gambari, 1986:75). Consequently, successive regimes adopted this policy maxim. It is not the first time however, that Africa has been taken into account in Nigeria’s policy considerations but it became more progressive. According to Pham several lessons were drawn from the Nigerian Civil war. First, the state’s survival as a united entity was not to be taken for granted and had to be the primary objective of any foreign policy. Secondly, in order to achieve that first objective, Nigeria had to have a secure neighbourhood which the influence of any outside power had to be limited as much as possible. Third, strong Pan-African institutions were a vital instrument in support of the country’s national security. Fourth, Nigeria needed to cultivate extensive ties with all major international power blocs (Pham, 2007:6).
The prospects and expectations from Nigeria was due in part because of its human and natural resources which became more evident than ever in the first two decades of the country’s birth. Akinyemi observed that, “at independence in 1960, there was much optimism held both nationally and internationally that a power had come into existence. The basis for the optimism lay in the resources, both human and natural which formed the Nigerian endowment” (Akinyemi, 2010:11). In synchrony, it has been observed that “a major factor in the consideration of the domestic environment for foreign policy is the economic endowment of a nation. In this regard, Nigeria should be considered fortunate indeed, because, she is one of the most naturally endowed nations in the world with a huge population and an abundance of oil and gas, solid mineral wealth and huge arable land for very profitable agricultural production and food security. Its crude is much prized because of the ease with which it can be refined into petrol, while its huge, still expanding proven gas reserves are already playing a big part in the worldwide shift toward gas (Alli, 2010:224).
A corollary to be drawn is that, having these enormous resources, Nigeria had to deploy it advantageously to win the allegiance and support of its immediate neighbours. This guided the fact, as noted by Akinyemi (1986) that “Nigeria does not want to be surrounded by small countries that are heavily dependent on extra-African powers especially France, for their military, political and economic survival. It was and is widely believed that as long as there are client West African States closely tied to European powers, Nigeria’s own security cannot be assured. Such states can either be manipulated against Nigeria or used as staging post by foreign powers that wish to cause disaffection and confusion in the country as was the case with Dahomey (now Benin) during the Nigerian Civil war, which was used as a base for air lifting of arms and relief materials to Biafra (Akinyemi 1989:19).
Thus, having acknowledged the imminent threat from its immediate environment Nigeria had to take cognizance of its neighbours and through economic means establish a platform for cooperation. After all, it is well known fact that among the African regional powers, the one with the potentially most significant strategic heft as well as the greatest geopolitical importance is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is reckoned that its population includes in relative and absolute terms; a number of well-educated citizens who represent a wealth of human capital; its vast oil reserves makes it America’s fourth largest source for imported petroleum and it stands as Africa’s largest contributor to multilateral stability operations; and its effective participation in international organizations, from the United Nations, the African Union the ECOWAS puts it as a core state and confers on it the responsibility for leadership (Pham 2007:3).
Olusanya and Akindele point to the fact that Nigeria possessed the qualities to be the leader in the sub-region and the need to safeguard her national interest. They stated that Nigeria’s efforts at establishing the ECOWAS is informed by the ‘natural leader’ role it perceived for itself and the need to have a secured neighbourhood. It is against this background of Nigeria’s perception and conception of the crucial role international organizations play in moderating the international political game, particularly in providing a forum for the smaller states to be heard and in collectively legitimizing their foreign policy aspirations, that Nigeria has invested much time, energy and resources to support and secure the functioning of International Organizations (Olusanya and Akindele, 1986:4).
Whether it is the “African centrepiece policy”, “concentric circle Model” or “Economic Diplomacy”, Nigeria, by virtue of its power capabilities has always put a premium on the primacy of African states which has from independence guied its foreign policy objectives. And therefore, according to Alli “Nigeria is conceived as a “natural leader” with a “manifest destiny and even with the responsibility to promote and protect the interests of Africa and Black people everywhere in and all ramifications (Alli, 2012:7).
The basic economic reason that that spurred the initiative for a regional economic integration scheme in West Africa was the need for economic development which is quite limited and in a large extent this condition was created and perpetrated by erstwhile colonial States of the developed world. Hence, according to Nwabuzor (1982), “the desire for a respectable degree of political and economic independence coupled with a high welfare expectation of the ruled, have been primarily responsible for the creation of regional economic organizations on the African continent”.
Also, Iyanda (1980) notes that, it is well known that developing countries do not generally trade with each other. Their economies were principally to provide the raw inputs for the factories of Western Europe as well as absorb the outputs of their factories. Expectedly, the outputs of many developing countries find their market in, and most of their manufactured domestic needs are imported from the developed countries. Unless the orientation is changed, an integrated economy of West Africa will still be outward looking, producing agricultural goods for exports and consuming manufactured imports from developed countries. Also, the lack of capability for exchange and specialization for comparative advantage as a result of the dominance of primary commodities as a character of the narrow and small markets of African nations has also seen to the lopsided nature in trade with Europe, devoid of complementarity which reflects the inadequacy of pre-independence ties. The transport networks were designed to evacuate materials from the interior of West Africa to Europe. And even in the post–independence era, the existence of a system of preferential treatments in economic relations between Europe and their client West African states became the norm; the Commonwealth with British West Africa, while the European Economic Community (EEC) maintained ties with their French colonies within the framework of the initial Yaounde conventions 1963 and 1969 respectively (Iyanda, 1980:277).
Hence, the dependent economies of African states have seen to the various efforts at ameliorating the deplorable and abysmal extent of development, due to leadership problems and economic problems like the small markets. It is with regard to the improvement of the condition of West African States that the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) encouraged African states to form themselves into economic groupings to improve these conditions” (Akinyemi and Aluko, 1983:5). Thus, regional economic integration was prescribed as the antidote. The reason is that, “since economic integration increases the capacity of the cooperating states to act concertedly and in unity in international negotiations with other blocs of nations, it also strengthens their bargaining power and reduces the negative effects of globalization on them”.
Finally, it is contended by Gambari (1991) that in West Africa, economic integration is also viewed as an ‘illustration of Pan-Africanism’ and indeed, a practical step toward the economic liberation of the African continent. Some of the states such as Nigeria viewed integration as a veritable instrument for ensuring not only regional peace and security but also ‘national security’ (Anadi, 2005:45). Arguably, the ECOWAS regional integration was established as a response to colonialism; to tackle the problem of small markets by grouping the markets of the states in the sub-region and increase the living standards of the peoples of the region; Nigeria’s hegemonic presence served as a rallying point for its West African neighbours in general and in her national interest the creation of ECOWAS was necessary to pursue her foreign policy and preserve the country’s unity.
Also, the success of the European development models became worthy of emulation considering its achievements. Achieving the goals of integration will bring about a self-reliant and self-sufficient economy which will bolster the economies of the States involved in the integration scheme. It will enhance specialization through the principles of comparative advantage, that is, the division of labour, industrialization and the wider markets created will bring about growth and development.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigeria resorted to economic diplomacy to enable her have a strong foundation for the integration of the states in West Africa. Nigeria has upheld the principle of non-interference at the same time being the regional hegemon confers certain roles on her in the affairs of neighbouring West African countries while stabilizing and bringing peace to trouble spots like Sierra Leone and Liberia, Nigeria has sank a lot of money to keep ECOWAS alive in seeking to maintain cordial relations and enhancing mutually beneficial ventures in ECOWAS. Oputu (2006) notes that Nigeria has contributed so much in terms of human and material resources for the integration of the states in ECOWAS, yet it hasn’t brought significant results. Consequently, Owoeye (2002) observed that “It is more prudent for a nation to assume a high profile in international politics only as an imperative for its economic achievements”. However, some nations, inclusive of Nigeria, would appear to put politics before economics thereby assuming expensive political roles in their regions or globally, though the domestic economic structures are not strong enough to support such political missions abroad (Owoeye, 2002:159).
In furtherance of its foreign policy objectives, Nigeria adopted economic integration as another dimension for the promotion of its African centrepiece diplomacy which is why Nigeria deployed enormous wealth and energy to enhance West Africa’s integration. Since it is assumed as a manifestation of its destiny to be the natural leader of Africa, it is the concern of this research to look at the advantages and disadvantages of these roles Nigeria has undertaken in enhancing the integration of West African region and whether it is to the country’s benefit.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The general and overall aim of the study is to evaluate Nigeria’s role in the regional integration of the West African region. However, the specific objectives are to,
- Review Nigeria’s role in setting up the ECOWAS;
- Evaluate the different dimensions of Nigeria’s role in the regional integration of the West African region;
- Identify the specific roles Nigeria has performed to attain the objectives of integration in the West African region;
- Identify the challenges Nigeria faces while performing its role to enhance the regional integration of the sub-region; and
- Proffer suggestions on how Nigeria can further deploy its enormous resources towards achieving the goals of integration in West Africa.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Nigeria has assumed important roles in the regional integration of West Africa. This research seeks to find answers to the following questions:
- Why did Nigeria participate in establishing up of ECOWAS?
- What are the different ways Nigeria has employed to promote the integration of the West African Region?
- What are the specific roles Nigeria has performed to attain the objectives of regional integration in West Africa?
- What are the challenges which Nigeria has faced in achieving the objectives of integration in the West African Region?
- What steps should be taken to improve on Nigeria’s role in promoting sub-regional integration?
The researcher relies on the secondary method of data collection. Data were collected from published and unpublished works, including books, journals, conference papers, articles, magazines, newspaper publications and internet sources. Therefore, for the purpose of this research, content analysis method was employed to analyse the results of the subject under study. The research will summarize the information generated in the work from the secondary sources such that deductions can be drawn and interpretations made.
In undertaking the research, repositories of relevant literature were consulted. Libraries and the internet were a veritable source. Particularly, the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru, the ECOWAS secretariat, the University of Jos library, the National and State libraries in Jos have been good sources of materials. Also, this study benefitted from discussions with some of my lecturers including my supervisor.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study will cover the period from 1999 to 2010. This delineated period is of consequence because it marks the period of inception and uninterrupted civil rule and the accentuation of economic imperatives which came to the fore of Nigeria’s foreign policy. Thus, the period covers eleven years of Nigeria’s continued active leadership in the promotion of regional integration under civilian Heads of States.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The researcher was particularly constrained in this study by lack of adequate funding. This is why I could not consult as many scholars as I would wish at the Nigerian Defence College (NDC), the Nigerian Institute for International Affairs, (NIIA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) The ECOWAS secretariat etc. Also, I could not gain access to materials written in French because of language barrier. However, the research was conducted with utmost rigor to ensure a good result.
1.8 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is a relevant source of knowledge for students and policy makers dealing with Nigeria and West African states. The outcome of the study would be of primary benefits to the Federal Government of Nigeria in the area of foreign policy relating to the integration of ECOWAS member states. Also, Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ECOWAS, policy makers of Nigeria and other ECOWAS States will find this work useful. This study will add to existing literature and also stimulate further research on the subject.
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