EVOLUTION OF NIGERIAN’S FOREIGN POLICY.
The evolution of Nigerian’s foreign policy cannot be understood
without first knowing what is foreign policy? For the sake of this study I shall define foreign policy as a strategy or planned course of actions developed by the decision makers of a country aimed at manipulating the international communities in order to achieve certain national interest. From the above one could infer that foreign policy is the articulation of a country's national objectives and how such objectives is related to other countries.
The evolution of Nigerian’s foreign policy could be divided into two, namely pre-colonial times and post-independent period. The pre-colonial times is when the entity Nigeria came into existence i.e. from 1914-1960, when the country was still under the colonial rule of the British government, while the second phase is from independence to date. I will focus on the second stage of the Nigerian’s foreign policy because that is when we can say that she really has an interest. From 1914- the later part of 1960, the interest of the British is the interest of the entity called Nigeria. A writer put is this way, the interest of her Majesty government in England is the interest of the then dependent state of Nigeria.
The post independent period saw the formation of a truly indigenous foreign policy that was truly called a Nigerian’s foreign policy, with the coming of successive government the policy has been mortified. Since independence in 1960, the foreign policy of Nigeria has been like a chameleon, it changes in colour but its substance remains the same, Anyaele states as follows, the protection of our national interest has remained permanent in Nigerian’s foreign policy, but the strategies for such protection has varied from one regime to another.
This means that all the government from independent to date has pursued the same goal and objective but in deferent way.
The formation and execution of Nigerian’s foreign policy from independence to date has been carried out fewer than twelve administrations through the External Affairs Ministry. From the administration of Sir Balewa on October 1st, 1960 to the administration of president Obasanjo on May 29th, 2003, they have all pursued the same national interest, the prevailing domestic and international affairs determines the actions and responds of external matters. The strength or weakness of Nigerian’s domestic economy and socio-political conditions have been the basic problem of implementation of her foreign policy, Anyaele states that foreign policy is a reflection of domestic policy, it is the promotion of national interest at international level.
One can therefore state that the evolution of Nigerian’s foreign policy stated when Nigeria gained independent as a sovereign nation and not when she was under the colonial authority of Her majesty government, because as a dependent nation she has no interest of her own except that of her colonial master.