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Nigeria from time past have always been regarded as the giant of Africa, partly due to its high population (i.e. human resources), large land size, abundant mineral resources and economic potentialities. Hence, many African countries and indeed the international communities looked up to Nigeria for a leadership role in Africa. Nigeria joined the committee of independent nations in 1960 full of hope and vigor and ready to expend its political, economic and natural human resources for the growth, unity and development of Africa. Nigeria since independence thus pursues foreign policies that are in tune with the beliefs and aspirations of the founding fathers of this great nation, a foreign policy that is concentric in nature, content and which has as one of its core values – “the Africa Center Piece”. (Abdullahi Shehu Gusau, 2012)

It is this core value of the Nigerian foreign policy that Nigeria participates in International Organizations in Africa.

Nigeria over the years, has been an active player in the development of the continent and this has made her to champion the establishment of various international organizations in Africa: the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS (1975)]; ECOMOG; the Organization of African Unity [OAU (1963), now AU (2001)]; the Non-Aligned Movement and other West African bodies. The country's membership in and commitment to several international organizations, such as the United Nations and many others, also affect foreign policy positions.

Nigerian external relations have emphasized African issues, which have become the avowed cornerstone of foreign policy. (Atah Pine, 2011)


Focusing on Nigerian roles in the development of international organizations in Africa, this research interest is centered on the African Union. One cannot properly talk about the AU without first looking at its predecessor the OAU. The OAU before it was transformed to the AU was as a result of the Lagos charter which subsequently defined the OAU agenda as the promotion of African unity and solidarity, the eradication of all forms of colonialism and the defense of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of member states. In effect, Nigeria dictated the agenda for the then young organization. She also financed and occupied positions in the organization.

Furthermore, it was Nigeria that provided the leadership that enabled Africa to see clearly the way forward in establishing the African Union. The powerful and sovereign supra-national entity, which Libya proposed and tried to promote, subsequently became tempered and was replaced by the gradualist approach of a European Union model to continental organization, favored by Nigeria and a majority of member states. A Nigerian, Professor Adele Jinadu, was one of six experts that produced the Draft Constitutive Act of the African Union. Even at the Experts level, Nigeria's voice was clear, consistent and equivocal, enabling most countries to support a balanced position put forward by our delegation. During Ministerial debates, Nigeria, along with four others, ensured that Africa was not saddled with an unworkable Union as intended by its initiator. When debates became deadlocked, it was Nigeria that mostly provided the compromise solutions that saved the day. Today, the AU officially formed on July 2001 and its institutions is stridently marching forward, thanks to the clear and consistent direction provided by Nigeria in the process leading to the transformation. (El-Ayouty, 1975)


There was no doubt that in all these, Nigeria's principled stand was anchored on the importance which the country had always attached to the unity of Africa and the forging of solidarity among its peoples.


There is no doubt that the survival and development of the African Union would have been futile without Nigeria as a strong catalyst and with the contribution of her human, material and financial resources used to achieve this. This role has always been hinged on the notion of the historic mission and manifest destiny that the country portrayed to have and as such embarked on responsibilities within her continent that has not yielded benefits.

Nigeria has suffered (and is still suffering) huge financial expenditures and massive loss of human and material resources from its involvement in the AU to foster political integration and unity in her continent and in conflict prevention, management and resolution. Nigeria contributed so much money to quell the Chadian crisis with the promise from the organization to be reimbursed which never happened and in the Liberian and Sierra Leone wars, Nigeria has not been able to reap any economic benefits. To date, one cannot tell one single Nigerian company involved in the post-conflict reconstruction activities going on in these two countries. This therefore begins to explain that Nigeria so far in the bid to develop international organizations in her continent has had little or no benefit over the years.

Nigeria, though often described as the giant of Africa is dwarfed by inconsistent policy, poverty, insecurities, poor or bad governance and lack of quality education despite its efforts to develop the AU and other international bodies within Africa.



It is important to state the objectives that will guide this research work. The objectives are the goals set out to be achieved at the completion of the research study. They give insights to why the study is being carried out in the first place. The basic or main objective of this project is to assess Nigeria‟s contributions to the development of African Union. No doubt however, other objectives follow, and they include:

1.                  To know the relationship between Nigeria and the international organizations in Africa.

2.                  To investigate the roles of Nigeria in the political integration of Africa through the AU.

3.                  To analyze the implications of Nigeria‟s contribution to the development of the AU.


1.                  What is the relationship between Nigeria and the international organizations in Africa?

2.                  What are the roles of Nigeria in the political integration of Africa through the AU?

3.                  What has been the direct response of the AU towards Nigeria as a major contributior to her development?


Significance of the study has to do with how important the work will be. This research primarily will enlighten people on the contributions of Nigeria in the development of the AU and other international organizations in Africa as well and the thrust of Nigeria‟s foreign policy. It will be useful to scholar‟s especially diplomatic historians, political scientists, international relations students and in their research. This research work will help in providing information on the factors that has been influencing Nigeria‟s development of the AU.



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