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The demand for the reform of the United Nations is due to the evolving international system.

The international system has gone through such a rapid transformation to the extent that the

UN structures as they were at the time of its establishment are making the UN not to function

effectively as expected by majority of its members. Hence, the argument that the Security

Council membership is expanded to include major financial contributors and the equitable

representation of the regional spread. There is every indication that Nigeria has all it takes to

represent Africa in an enlarged Security Council. But considering the vagaries associated with

international politics a lot still need to be done by Nigeria to garner overwhelming support from

Africa to enable her emerge as a consensus candidate for Africa. This work examined Nigeria’s

quest for a permanent seat in the security council of the United Nations and the possibility of

Nigeria representing Africa in an enlarged security council.

This paper research work was able to find out the reasons for the sudden clamour for the democratization of the United Nations Security Council and the possibility of Nigeria being accepted into this seat. This paper adopted the Neo- realism, Liberalism and Veto power theory as a frame work for the analysis of Nigeria’s quest for a permanent seat in the Security Council and the democratization of the Security Council.








1.1 Background of the Study


The united nations in the last few years undergone serious reforms among which is the resolution to increase the membership of the non permanent members of the security council in which the African continent has been allotted two slots Nigeria was a serious contender of one of those slots in which it was able to get. Currently no African state is a permanent member of the security council and this is a major reason why Africa was allotted two slots in the non permanent members of the security council been that Africa is the second most populated continent in the world behind Asia.


One of the biggest achievements of Nigeria in her fifty four years of independence is being a non permanent member of the Security Council. The current reform of the United Nations is golden opportunity which Nigeria cannot afford to miss. Being a member of this exclusive club will be recognition of the country s strength, economic and strategic importance and political maturity. Despite all her short comings, Nigeria has emerged biggest democracy on the African continent. The return of the country to the part of democracy after years of successive military regime has increased its legitimacy in internal affairs. Nigeria has contributed immensely too many peace keeping operations around the world.


If these and other credentials are to yield the desired result the country must contend with the slow pace of economic recovery, the challenges posed by other serious African contenders particularly Egypt and South Africa.




In the 21st century, the world has indeed become a ‘’global village’’ what happens in one remote corner of the world is quickly known by others at the farthest and remotest corner. The consequences also spread fast and given the asymmetrical nature of the world, they have different and varying impact. This accounts for the reason why United Nations permanent members are reluctant towards the admission of an African state as permanent member of the Security Council because of the existence of so many short coming




The year was 1945 was the second war enveloping much of the globe in the last 30 years was coming to an end. In this environment, representatives from China, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States met at the Dumbarton Oaks mansion in Washington D.C. for the initial discussions that would lead to the creation of the United Nations. The representatives were well aware of the guiding principles of the League of Nations, and also of its multiple failures. Though many felt that the League of Nations had the capacity to discuss significant international affairs, the body was not constructed in a manner which was able to produce successful measures to deter aggression and prevent conflict. Firstly, the United States, by now a prominent global power, did not join the organization, although the organization was originally the Woodrow Wilson’s, the president of the United States at the time, idea after World War I. This handicapped the League from the beginning by preventing it from achieving maximal financial backing and international political support. Secondly, there was no clear division of duties between the League’s Assembly and Council committees. Thus, tasks were often mismanaged. Additionally, all resolutions required a unanimous vote to pass, a rarity in the arena of international politics. Since there was no clear sense of collective security, individual Member States of the League continued the policy of pursuing narrowly defined interests of their own country’s foreign policy. In 1945, the nations represented at Dumbarton Oaks were mindful of these




failings of the League of Nations. The representatives acknowledged the consensus that the newly proposed international organization should contain a principle organ tasked specifically with promoting international peace and security. After careful consideration at the San Francisco Conference later in 1945, delegates from countries that would become the first member states of the United Nations came to the conclusion that a smaller body acting as the United Nations’ defense advisor and operations executioner, specifically charged with “the maintenance of international peace and security,” should be commissioned. Thus, the United Nation’s Security Council was born


The Security Council is comprised of fifteen member states, with five nations holding permanent seats and ten holding rotating elected seats. The permanent five members are China, France, Great Britain, the Russian Federation (in place of the former Soviet Union) and the United States and are often referred to as the “P-5” Members. The five permanent members retain veto power over any resolution discussed in the Security Council. These permanent members were given veto powers primarily to ensure that no P-5 member would attack another P-5 Member as well as to ensure that the leading nations were in unanimity before taking action on a particular issue, establishing a unanimous coalition of the powerful. The ten nonpermanent member states are elected for a period of two year terms with five rotating out each December. These states are represented geographically, whereby there are three African, two Latin American, one Arab, one Asian, one Eastern European and two Western European states on the Security Council at any given time. Furthermore, Member States on the Council are mandated by the United Nations Charter to have a representative from each of their states present at the organization’s headquarters in New York City so that the Council may operate “continuously” without delay or hesitation. Current members of the Security Council include: Permanent Seats: China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States; Non-permanent Elected Seats: Belgium, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Indonesia, Italy, Libyan Arab




Jamahiriya, Panama, South Africa, and Viet Nam.. Security Council members must be ready to convene at any given time to decide on “the fate of governments, establish peacekeeping missions, create tribunals to try persons accused of war crimes, and in extreme cases declare a nation to be fare game for corrective action by other member state.” This legislative right was granted to the Security Council through the UN Charter and is apparent in the associations between Articles 37 and 39, which allow the Council to settle a particular dispute and make its accords compulsory on any parties involved or on the international community as a whole, hence, becoming international binding documents. Therefore, it is in this regard that the Security Council has the capability and authority to exercise powers from existing international law by creating binding resolutions.




The Progress of the Security Council has been rather varied. During the late 1940s, the Security Council was quite effective in dealing with many issues that arose. Most affairs the Council encountered dealt typically centered on decolonization. However, as time progressed, relations between the Soviet Union and the United States deteriorated, and the Council faced setbacks. This stalemate period was particularly characterized by the frequent use of the veto by the Soviet Union, which blocked many efforts. The other P-5 Members also utilized the veto as well. For example, both France and Great Britain vetoed resolutions during the Suez crisis of 1956. Despite the frequent use of the veto during this period, the Security Council was able to take action and settle conflicts in South Asia, the crisis in the Congo and the successful execution of the ceasefire agreement in Cyprus. As the Cold War dissolved in the late 1980s, significant changes were incorporated within the Security Council’s working methods. It had become apparent that every conflict was beginning to present new and “unique set[s] of circumstances.” Specifically, the growth in the prevalence of civil wars addressed by the Security Council posed unique challenges for a body designed to intervene in and prevent inter-state, not intra-state conflicts. One of the main reasons for its creation, size and power



was to enable the Security Council to rapidly respond to international crises as they arise. The Security Council is tasked with “transforming disaster into constructive development [which] requires a conceptual model different from the traditional, linear model of economic development which assumes a stable administrative system.”

The Security Council primarily operates under the mandate of Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter. Chapter VI is titled “Pacific Settlement of Disputes” and mandates actions which may include peace talks, summit meetings, mediations and negotiations. For instance, sovereignty over the Kashmir region in South Asia has been disputed by Pakistan and India. While mediation efforts have yet to find resolution to the issue, the Security Council has been involved and monitoring the situation, particularly now that the conflict could produce a conflict that leads to nuclear war. Nevertheless, when measures of this stature fall short to be effective, the Security Council has the capacity to incorporate the use of sanctions. Sanctions have long been used throughout history to correct or punish nations for actions considered contrary to the established norms of international behavior. Sanctions represent a step short of armed intervention, and the Security Council may attempt to isolate an aggressor by severing some or all relations with a nation in view of trying to alter offensive behavior. These actions consist of the “complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.” Nevertheless, when the Security Council chooses to implement sanctions as a form of non-forcible enforcement, it is often combined with incentives, such as humanitarian aid, as part of a bargaining process to resolve conflict and encourage compliance.


Though sanctions may seem like ideal measures to use, this is an area of much controversy. Many international organizations and agencies feel that at too many times sanctions cause civilian populations to suffer while only meeting with limited success in coercing the government of the



country in question to alter its position. One alternative is the use of “smart sanctions,” which are sanctions that can be formulated in such a way as to minimize the detrimental effects on civilian population. Instead, these sanctions are designed to apply pressure directly on those regimes that pose a threat to international peace and security, as well as human rights. If these two measures prove ineffective, an alternative tool is the use of force. The Security Council may invoke Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, which calls for the Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and make recommendations as to how “to maintain or restore international peace and security.” When the Security Council finds no other measures sufficient of deterring such behaviors, it is under Chapter VII that the Security Council finds the authority to use force.

In the past few years, the Security Council has come under scrutiny as to whether or not it will be able sustain its legitimacy among the growing international community. Many of these attitudes have stemmed from a large portion of member states who wish to see the compositional arrangement of the Security Council reformed. However, other reform attitudes have come from within the United Nations. According to the Brahimi Report of 2000, the document suggested that the United Nations was beginning to encounter a vast number of limitations in the struggle against war and violence. The report insisted that in order for the United Nations to overcome these “shortcomings,” there must be “an ongoing effort for [its] institutional change.” Since the inception of the United Nations, over a hundred countries have joined the organization, including Japan and Germany, which are the second and third largest financial contributors to the UN budget. Many reform supporters agree that in order for the Security Council to remain effective and legitimate in years to come, it must grow to be more “reflective of today’s international realities.” Any change in the composition of the Security Council would require an amendment to the United Nations Charter. However, any prospective change faces a




significant hurdle; the permanent members must unanimously agree on it. The primary hesitance among the P-5 Members is that even though “reform is a loaded word and its meaning is often subjective,” any significant change in permanent status may disrupt or even destabilize power relationships among many of the Member States. While reform has yet to happen, it is certain that the topic will remain prevalent for years to come despite the resistance of the P5.





Existing literature A.S Akpotor and P.E Agbeka in his book ‘ Nigeria’s quest for a permanent seat in the security council’ and Sokore Collins ‘ Nigeria’s UN Seat Bid And the Tsunami Gyration Gang’ have attempted to present both the advantages and the disadvantages that are inherent in Nigeria’s bid for a permanent seat of or at the UNSC. These they have done without paying adequate regards to the complex implications, which may not necessarily be negative, that the bid could attract to Nigeria. Really Nigeria’s attempts at assisting the United Nations in finding solutions to some of the numerous politico-security challenges that had happened in some regions of the international system, and her contribution to several of Africa countries, present her as about the best African candidate for a permanent seat at UNSC. However, the groundswell of anomie within her confines and the grave ignominy in which she is held by some of her neighbors, no thanks to the fraudulent activities of some of her citizens in diasporas and some of the elites that are wont to siphon and launder funds from the governmental coffers, seem capable of hurting her candidature. In view of this, one notes that the existing literature have mostly paid attention to the advantages and/or disadvantages that her candidature would engender, with distasteful disregard for the implications therein. Without grappling issues with extant literature therefore, this study seeks an interrogation of the fallouts that would be engendered by Nigeria’s candidature for a permanent seat at UNSC.





During the course of this work it will research on the enlightenment of Nigerians on what we stand to gain by being a member of the permanent seat of the UN Security Council. Its implications on our finances and the responsibility this post is going to impose on Nigeria as a nation and also as the ‘Giant’ of Africa. It will be analyzing the reasons why Nigeria is likely to get the seat despite the fact that it’s competing against strong nations such as South Africa and Egypt.




The scope of my research would seek to answer the following questions;



1.   Is there any likelihood that the UNSC would be restructured in order to accommodate new permanent members?


2.   Is Nigeria’s quest for a permanent seat a way to go for Africa or is such aspiration meant to satisfy some egocentric interests?


3.   Will Nigeria’s acceptance into the Security Council solve the problem of insecurity in Africa, and in particular, that within her confines?


4, Will Nigeria play a better role in the Security Council than other nations in Africa?





The specific objectives of the study are to:



a)      Identify the reasons that underlie the sudden clamor for the democratization of the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council

b)      Examine the complex dimensions of relations that Nigeria’s bid for the hallowed


membership might be engendered



c)      Analyze the several implications that the rejection and/or acceptance of Nigeria’s bid for the permanent membership would have on the country.




This project is meant to analyze the varying issues that might be engendered by Nigeria’s bid for and the actual accession of the country to the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. This becomes important since existing literature have been grappling issues as to the reality of the dream. But beyond the actualization of the dream is the fact that both the rejection and/or the acceptance of the country’s bid would engender complex implications that would seriously impact on her behavior on the African continent and within the international system.


1.7 Hypothesis


Deriving from the above, the study seeks to test the following hypotheses, that:



Hypothesis One



H0: Nigeria’s bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council is possible


H1: Nigeria’s bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council is not possible



Hypothesis Two



H0: Democratization of the permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council is possible



H1: Democratization of the permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council is not possible



Hypothesis Three



H0: Nigeria deserves a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council





H1: Nigeria does not deserve a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council



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