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1.1 Background of the study

Nigeria has since Independence been playing a significant leadership role in the West African Sub-region and indeed the African continent. Africa has remained the centerpiece of Nigeria’s foreign policy since independence in 1960. With a population of about 150 million people, almost one quarter of the African continent and being endowed with immense physical and human resources, Nigeria is destined to play leadership roles in the affairs of the continent. This is exactly what the country has been doing for decades, notwithstanding the financial, political, social and diplomatic challenges. Successive Nigerian governments have consistently accorded special attention to the plight and conditions of her brothers and sisters in Africa, which has made the basic principles of Nigeria’s foreign policy “Afro-centric” and that of its brother’s keeper. In Nigeria’s Afro-centric foreign policy, the West African Sub-region remains the first line of implementation. Given the vast size, natural, economic and human resources, large market drive, Nigeria perceives itself as having an historic mission to exercise hegemonic influence in the West African Sub-region and indeed, the black world. Her economic strength and the high level of human resources at her disposal have allowed her a measure of autonomy in the pursuit of Africa’s genuine interests in global politics. This can be seen in her role in the Organization for African Unity, which later metamorphosed into the African Union (AU), other sub regional groupings such as Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Chad Basin Commission and Commonwealth of Nations. Africa has been, and continue to be, the most vulnerable and most externally threatened region in the world. The growing marginalization of Africa will worsen unless urgent and protective measures of regional and sub-regional integration, cooperation, and collective security are implemented as a matter of urgency. This is what the increasing hostility of the increasing hostility of the intentional environment calls for. There is a strong movement towards regional and sub-regional cooperation in Europe, North America, East Asia and Latin America. And despite their global prescription of liberalization policy, and their head-start advantage in the development project, the advanced countries are today themselves the champions of regionalism as a defensive mechanism. We in Africa must follow suit by pooling our national efforts. Europe and North America need integration for strength and prosperity but Africa needs it for survival. What is crucial but missing is strong political and far-sighted statesmanship, for effective regionalism requires at least a limited surrender of national sovereignty to supra-national organs. Indeed, the centrality of the leadership issue has been apparent in the literature on regional integration. With respect to West Africa, Nigeria is expected to play that role, in view of its status as the largest market in the sub-region, with vast natural and human resource endowments, a relatively developed manufacturing capacity, and a pervasive influence on the economies of its immediate neighbors. This study therefore, intends to evaluate the role that Nigeria has played in the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) at achieving its objectives as a leading member of the community.


The role that Nigeria has played in various international organizations over the years has been proactive, especially in the AU. Nigeria has vigorously articulated and consistently defended African concerns and interests as a member of various international organizations. She has used this platform to champion the interests of Africa in the true spirit of Pan- Africanism. It is in view of this that the researcher intend to investigate the role of Nigeria in the formation of regional organizations


The main objective of this study is to ascertain the role of Nigeria in the formation of regional organization. But for the successful completion of this study the researcher intends to achieve the following objectives;

i)             To ascertain Nigeria’s role in the formation of international organization

ii)           To ascertain the economic benefitof regional organization to her member countries

iii)          To ascertain the role Nigeria has played in the development of regional organization

iv)         To identify the role of member country in the development of regional organizations


For the successful completion of the study the following research questions are formulated by the researcher;

i)             What is the role of Nigeria in the formation of regional organization?

ii)           What is the economic benefit of regional organization to her members?

iii)          What role has Nigeria played in the development of regional organization?

iv)         What are the roles of member countries in the development of their region?


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.


The scope of this study covers the role of Nigeria in the formation of regional organization with emphasis on ECOWAS. Though there are some factors which limited the scope of the study;

a)     AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material      available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

b)     TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider         coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities        and examinations with the study.

c)     FINANCE: The finance available for the research work does not     allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the        researcher has other academic bills to cover



The Economic Community of West African States, also known as ECOWAS is a regional economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa. Collectively, these countries comprise an area of 5,114,162 km2(1,974,589 sq mi), and in 2015 had an estimated population of over 349 million. The union was established on 28 May 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos, with its stated mission to promote economic integration across the region

Regional organization

Regional organizations (ROs) are, in a sense, international organizations (IOs), as they incorporate international membership and encompass geopolitical entities that operationally transcend a single nation state. However, their membership is characterized by boundaries and demarcations characteristic to a defined and unique geography, such as continents, or geopolitics, such as economic blocs. They have been established to foster cooperation and political and economic integration or dialogue among states or entities within a restrictive geographical or geopolitical boundary.


 Regional Interest Groups provide forums in which the mobile industry can discuss and address issues that are specific to particular regions or the regional angle on global issues.


        This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter.     Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

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