FOREIGN POLICY IN THE YAR’ADUA ADMINISTRATION
Foreign policy has become a useful component that defines relations between and amongst states. Generally, we may say, a country‟s foreign policy thrust bottles the totality of the acts, strategies and manipulations by a given state in her process of launching her domestic resolve in the international arena. Chibundu (2003:1) crisply notes that foreign policy is “a country‟s response to the world outside or beyond its own frontiers or boundaries. Such response may indeed be friendly or aggressive, casual or intense, simple or complex, but it is always there.” This means that the said „response‟ which critically requires a dependable and accurate means of attainment has a vital quality. That is why it is generally accepted, both in theory and practice, that in relations with one another, nations should vigorously pursue their national interests and seek to protect it at whatever cost. Certainly, a nation‟s foreign policy is the political instrument or technical framework upon which it pursues its domestic interest. To be clear, Morgenthau (1973) asserts that “no nation can have a true guide as to what it needs to do in foreign policy without accepting national interest as a basic guide.” If this is to be likened to the Nigerian scenario, for example, then, the overall concern should be focused upon those parameters of Nigeria‟s core values that constitute essential components of her foreign policy. Therefore, it is important to contemplate: Do various Nigerian leaders consider the country‟s national interest at all, in the pursuit of foreign policy thrusts?
It is worth mentioning, herein, that since the First Republic, Nigeria‟s foreign policy has been largely Afro-centric in posture. Take for instance, in an official statement just before independence, on August 20, 1960, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, at the Federal House of Assembly stated that Nigeria was, “adopting clear and practical policies with regard to Africa; it will be our aim to assist any country to find solution to its problem” (Tafawa, 1960:3). Similarly, one significant event that took place under late General Ironsi‟s regime was the June 1966 Ambassadors‟ Conference, held in Lagos to re-examine the premises and directions of Nigeria‟s foreign policy. Among other issues ironed out, the conference re-dedicated Nigeria‟s external outlook to the total emancipation of all African territories still under colonial tutelage and racial discrimination. This position was further reinforced when General Ironsi persuaded everyone into the assumption that, „in the whole sphere of external relations, the government attaches greatest importance to our African policy‟ (cited in Al-Hassan, 2008:7). It was under the above foreign policy directions, mainly, that the Nigerian state delicately ventured into the complex theatre of international relations in the first place (Asobie, 1990:13). This position could be better appreciated when we consider the fact that successive regimes in the country accorded significant attention to Africa as the centre-piece of Nigerian foreign policy.
Whatever had been the case, definitely, we may have to adjust our mindsets towards the understanding that nation-states all over the world necessarily design and implement foreign policies in order to guide their external relations as well as protect, promote and defend their vital national interests (Aluko, 1981:9). In content therefore, a cluster of areas such as defense of territorial integrity, the promotion of economic, military, strategic and diplomatic interests and whatever a country might consider as its vital national interest appear germane (Ogwu, 2005:19). It is therefore naturally expected that Nigeria‟s foreign policy too, ought to be fundamentally guided by her national interest, which should ordinarily serve to either justify or repudiate the country‟s action or inaction in her foreign relations (Akindele, 2003:33).
However and seemingly, at a point when it became very glaring that such conventional orientation of thrusting Nigeria‟s external behaviour upon frivolous magnanimity, or say, unrewarding love for her African neighbours, has emptily translated into political bunkum, the emergent democratic leadership redirected the entire focus of the country‟s foreign policy. Former President Obasanjo, for instance, being so apprehensive of the excruciating economic condition of the country, and more so, of the shallowness of the Nigerian purse for such flamboyant or philanthropic role of „giant of Africa,‟ made a progressive change and overwhelmingly refocused the country‟s external attention. According to Ogwu (2005:25), this foreign policy arrangement was built upon „economic diplomacy.‟Put differently, the plank of this administration‟s foreign policy became shuttle diplomacy. First and foremost, the Obasanjo regime devoted or dissipated political energy wooing foreign partners into the country, for national development. Indeed, it was such a personal task which Obasanjo took upon himself, to navigate and rummage through Western countries either begging world leaders for aids or enticing them to come and invest in Nigeria. In fact, Obasanjo was more or less hanging out with world leaders, and snapping too many pictures. It was on this diplomatic page that the frequency of these trips got so bad that “According to official sources, the President, as at mid August 2002, travelled out of the country for one hundred and thirteen times since he took over the leadership of the country at the end of May in 1999, and that as at June 2002, he had been out of Nigeria altogether for a period of 340 days” (Akindele, 2003:3). In other words, in a period of three years, the President has been out of the country for a period of a year less two weeks. This development does not only climax the emphatic value attached to the regime of “Economic diplomacy,” but more so, the magnitude effort invested in achieving a turnaround thereto.
More importantly, however, President Yar‟Adua‟s Administration made a radical and positivist step toward something very unique and so different – citizenship diplomacy. This foreign policy thrust was directed towards the enhancement of the country‟s citizens world over. This research therefore evaluates the level of political will and relevant actions invested in the implementation of the foreign policy thrust of „citizenship diplomacy‟ in the context of Nigeria‟s relations with the outside world during President Yar‟Adua‟s Administration. In other words, scholarly effort is made to associate the minimal success or near failure of citizenship diplomacy with the challenges of Yar‟Adua‟s incapacitation in office. Put differently, the nagging health issues that critically challenged Yar‟Adua functional authority/capacity and/or legitimacy in office are significantly identified as causative factors that generated widespread loss of focus, distraction and practical inhibition to concrete commitments toward the successful implementation and subsequent attainment of the basic goals of citizenship diplomacy.
1.1 Background to the Study
The Personality of an individual plays an important role in determining a Nation-State Foreign Policy. There is no gain saying the fact if the personality of a Decision-maker is not studied it would be difficult to understand the rationale behind some rules and decisions. Scholars of old and even present scholars have studied the personality of powerful leaders of old in order to understand the reason why some policy were carried out while others were not, leaders of old like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Kim Il Sung and a host of others were analysed in order to understand the rationale behind some decisions. Some people fail to realise that laws are not made by the state itself but by certain individuals in positions of authority, for a law or decision that is attributed to a state to be really understood, the people behind such laws should be analysed. The successes or failures of a particular regime in authority are attributed to the type of person in position of authority.For Nigeria’s foreign policy under the leadership of Umaru Yar’adua to be analysed, the personality of the president would be analysed; the president was referred as a too slow to act and incapable of performing the complex function of running the Nigerian state. Nigeria’s foreign policy statement under the immediate past president of Nigeria would be analysed in order to understand the role the personality of its past president in performing his functions.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The personality of Nigeria’s immediate past president in the person of Umaru Yar’adua played an important role in his foreign policy statement and this had a negative impact in promoting the interest of the Nigerian state in the International scheme of things. Nigeria was referred as a“toothless bulldog” due to the inability of the Nigerian president in carrying out his functions when it came to foreign relations.
1.3 Objectives of Study
This study seeks to analyse the relationship between the personality of President Umaru Yar’Adua and his foreign policy statements and administration. It aims to understand if the personality of Nigeria’s Yar’adua had a role to play in his policy statements and objectives.
i. To review the late presidents Yar’adua administration on the foreign policy.
ii. To examine the performance of his administration
iii. To identify the impact of his administration on Nigerian
1.4 Research Questions
For the purpose of this research work, relevant research question have been outlined to serve as a directional guide and articulation of there search findings or work.However, these questions focus more on the major problems to be investigated and could possibly lead to other minor research questions in subsequent research works. The following are relevant and essential instructive to this research work:-
i. What are the major policy implemented by the late president Yar’adua to the country Nigeria?
ii. What is the significance of his policy to the economy of the nation Nigeria?
iii. In comparison with other president administration on foreign policy whose administration can be seen with more effectiveness to the economy of the country
1.6 Significance of the Study
The level of Nigeria’s prominence in International Affairs especially in the African continent has dwindled, and this happened during the emergence of Umaru Yar’adua as Nigeria’s president.There is no better time for this research work to be written than this point in time in which the fortunes of the Nigerian state when it comes to International relations is in shambles.This research work is being written in a crucial period of this democratic dispensation, the timing is apt as the present government is determined to tackle the deep rooted problems.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
This research work would cover areas in which the Nigeria’s past president late president Yar’adua was administered on foreign policy and how it affected the foreign relationscapability of the Nigerian state. This research work subject to some limitations and the major one is being that of time, the time frame of the research work is short; and alsothe non-availability of materials is also a limiting factor in writing thisresearch work.
1.8 Research Methodology
This research work would adopts qualitative descriptive method of data collection and analysis. And make use of secondary method of data collection. Content analysis would be made use of, especially the Internet.
1.9 Definition of Key Terms
States is defined as political units that exercise ultimate internal authority and that recognize no legitimate external authority over them(Anifowoshe, 1999). States are the most recognized and revered of our political organizations. States are also the most powerful of all political actors, whether large or small, rich or poor, populous or scanty, states share all or most characteristics sovereignty, territory, population,international organization and domestic support.
This is a course of action or a set of principles adopted by a nation’s government to define it relations with other countries or groups of countries (Saleh, 2003). A country’s foreign policy also set forth its positions on a wide range of international issues. Little wonder why Reynolds defines foreign policy as a range of actions taken with reference to external situation and domestic factors.
Fredrick (1963) defined policy as a proposed course of action of persons,a group, or government within a given environment proving obstacles and opportunities which the policy was proposed to utilize and overcome in an effort to reach a goal or realize an objective or a purpose. The two essential features of this definition are course of action and goal or objectives. These are essential elements of every policy.
Diplomacy had been defined as the management of international relations by negotiations the method by which these relations are adjusted or managed by ambassadors and envoys, the business or act of the diplomat. Implicit in this definition is the fact that the international system is far from being. Perfect and this arises out of the competing demands which nation states make on it.