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NIGERIA'S QUEST FOR THE PARMANENT MEMBERSHIP OF UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
NIGERIA'S QUEST FOR THE PARMANENT MEMBERSHIP OF UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Nigeria sees herself first as an African nation and seeks to promote the interests of the whole continent and that of the black people all over the world. This is well reflected in her foreign policy where Africa is her centrepiece (Aladekomo 2005: 33). Flowing from the above, Nigeria’s historic, heroic and commendable role in the international community is in tandem with Article 1(i) of the UN charter, 1945. “The purposes of the UN are to maintain international peace and security and take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to world peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression” (U.N. Charter). In other words, Nigeria since independence in 1960, has been visibly committed to the promotion of peace, security and liberation in Africa, Middle East and Europe. In the area of UN “assessment on troops contribution, Nigeria is ranked 7th, South Africa is 10th, Senegal 12th, Kenya 13th, Egypt 49th, Algeria 81st, and Angola not ranked among the 106 countries. This suggests that Nigeria leads other African aspirants in this regard. For this, the US and other big powers ought to campaign for Nigeria” success in this bid. We note, however, that the western nations do not want a strong voice for Africa which Nigeria represents so that they can manipulate the UN as they wish. For the African continent, African states ought to declare a consensus on Nigeria’s choice for one of the seats. Nigeria has been at the apex vis- à-vis other African states of building capacity for the resolution of conflict/restoring or installing democracy, peace and stability in several brother African countries where warlords or power hungry military boys had seized power. This Nigeria has done with world acclaim in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote’d Ivoire, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Togo, Sao Tome and Principe and Guinea Bissau. Nigeria single-handedly initiated the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) deployed for peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone from 1989 to 2002. The burden of those peace operations was borne largely by Nigeria. Nigeria in 1981 wrote off $80 million, which the OAU could not pay for as expenditure on the OAU peacekeeping operation in Chad (Akpotor and Nwolise 2005). Nigeria also has been at the apex of humanitarian interventions in Africa and the resolution of the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan and has hosted many rounds of peace talks. It was Nigerian troops that led the AU contingent in that country. Nigeria’s humanitarian intervention to the famine stricken people of Niger Republic is well known. Relief materials were delivered through a presidential committee led by her speaker of the House of Representatives. Nigeria has continuously given financial handouts to all African states in need, for example, to Cameroon when lake Nyos Volcanic eruption occurred. Nigeria in the past sold her oil at concessionary rate to some African states. In fact, she is Africa, number one financial and aid provider for fellow African states, through OAU/AU, ECOWAS, ADB and the lake Chad Basin Commission etc. By this, Nigeria is commended for fulfilling Article (2) and (3) of the UN charter, which states. “The purpose of the UN are to develop friendly relations among nations and to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character”. With regards to regionalism as a basis for the strength of the UN, Nigeria has played her role functionally. She was a founding member of OAU in 1963, and was functional in the transformation of the OAU into African Union (AU) in 2002. Attendantly, she is one of the initiators of the new partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and its peer review mechanism. On the sub-regional plain, Nigeria and Togo were the founding fathers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 1975. Nigeria’s economic and social indicators put her on a high pedestal; she is one of the biggest economies in Africa. It is Africa’s biggest market and it is responding to functional economies reforms, like the anti-graft war. This has been acknowledged by the Paris club, which cancelled $18 billion of our foreign debt in 2005. Nigeria has also consistently paid its UN dues and as at December 2004, she had paid her d Egypt are free to contest for the UNSC seat, it is, however, against universal morality and African culture for someone to be biting the hand that had fed him. Nigeria and South Africa, the two greatest powers in Africa should be companions rather than competitors; be like a snail and its shell, as the US and UK have been on international issues like in Iraq full dues to the UN regular budget. Although in politics, self-preservation is the first law, which means South Africa and Egypt are free to contest for the UNSC seat, it is, however, against universal morality and African culture for someone to be biting the hand that had fed him. Nigeria and South Africa, the two greatest powers in Africa should be companions rather than competitors; be like a snail and its shell, as the US and UK have been on international issues like in Iraq. South Africa should remember the financial and material contributions Nigeria sacrificed for her in the days of apartheid. For Egypt, she should not forget history so soon. Nigeria championed the African campaign for severance of relations with Israel in 1973 for its war with Egypt. And that Nigeria only restored diplomatic ties with Israel in 1992 (Akpotor and Nwolise 2005), many odd years after Egypt itself has restored diplomatic ties with it.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
First, Nigeria since the 1960's failed to convert its financial backbone in continental organizations into influential political and policy making roles. During the regime of General Muhammadu Buhari, the government flatly refused to support the candidature of Mr. Onu of Nigeria, then acting Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to become the head of OAU to the surprise of many senior African leaders. Nigeria has lost two successive races for the leadership of the African Development Bank, an institution that it co-founded and still retains significant individual voting bloc. Although Nigeria's Adebayo Adedeji served for 15 years as the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission of Africa, the position is a senior management job in the United Nations. Today, Libya and South Africa have parlayed their financial influence into major power brokers in African institutions and have the capacity to mobilize less wealthy African nations.
Secondly, contrary to the days of the struggle for decolonization of Southern Africa where Nigeria implemented an Africa-First foreign policy, many African countries do not know the major thrust of Nigeria's foreign policy. Furthermore, the perceived close relationship between Nigeria and some Western countries such as the United States and United Kingdom appear to send wrong signals to other African countries on Nigeria's commitment to an Africa-First foreign policy. Already, Egypt is accusing Nigeria of watering down Africa Union's collective agreement to retain veto-power for the two African representatives. However, despite these misgivings, Nigeria's support for major initiatives in Africa is still critical in the continent. It is no coincidence that South Africa and Nigeria are the major arrowheads of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the continent's blueprint for political renaissance and economic development.
Third, Nigeria does not have a reputation in Africa for meticulous preparation, consultation and compromise on continental affairs. Nigeria has a reputation of the "big brother" in Africa who may not ask how other brothers are feeling or their opinion on critical issues. Furthermore, Nigeria does not have the reputation for disciplined, resilient carrot-and-stick policy toward other African countries on continental issues, especially those that have benefited immensely from Nigeria's political and financial support. For example, in the ECOWAS political arrangement, Nigeria is not the undisputed leader unlike the situation in Southern Africa region where South Africa exercises firm control over SADC.
Fourth, Nigeria is no longer a leading intellectual light on Africa's renaissance and development. In the 1970's and 1980's, Nigerian intellectuals were giants in the conceptualization and design of Africa's response to decolonisation, neocolonisation, and economic emancipation. Perhaps, years of co-option of Nigeria's leading intellectuals in various Military governments in Nigeria, the gradual erosion of academic freedom in Nigerian universities, the progressive degradation of the infrastructure of tertiary institutions and the forced migration of experienced faculty to other African countries and the West have taken their toll. Unfortunately, institutions such as the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos are no longer very influential in shaping intellectual discussions and policy options on Africa's renaissance and development issues.
Fifth, unlike other nations who continuously harvest the experience and network of their retired diplomats, senior government officials and academics, successive Nigerian governments rarely developed long-term policy and program relationships with these talented individuals. Consequently, Nigerian governments often "raise" Ad-hoc panels to tackle foreign policy issues that require careful conceptualization, marathon strategic planning and vigilant attention to shifts in tactics and possible outcomes. The tri-partite foreign policy revolving door of ideas between the government, academia and experienced practitioners is not institutionalized in Nigeria. It is a misnomer to believe that prominent foreign policy experts who have no influence in shaping the foreign policy thrust of the government of the day will sway their counterparts in other countries. It is also strange that Nigerians in the Diaspora are rarely consulted on critical foreign policy issues that require the acquiescence of their resident or adopted countries. Nigeria is campaigning to become a permanent member of the United Nations and its nationals living in the five permanent members of the UN are not actively involved.
Sixth, the continued question mark over Nigeria's political and economic stability is an albatross in any serious attempt to become a permanent member of the Security Council. Today, there is talk of "third term" for the president and other elected leaders despite the extraordinary damage such a move would do to Nigeria's international standing or influence. Uncertainties over the 2007 election are real. There is no major corporation or foreign government with major investments in Nigeria that will not develop a 2007 contingency plan for Nigeria because of political uncertainties. In addition, the economic reform program of the present government is yet to be fully institutionalized and may not survive a post-Obasanjo regime. The legendary entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians can only blossom to the fullest potential with stable macroeconomic policy.
Despite these question marks, Nigeria's chances of clinching a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council remains, bright. Western powers recognize that Nigeria is indispensable to political and economic stability in Africa. African leaders understand that Nigeria's support for serious continent initiatives is always pivotal. The major leaders of the South such as India and Brazil tacitly support Nigeria's quest. A Nigeria that gets its act together and mobilizes its formidable natural and human resources for sustainable development will become a beacon of hope for hundreds of millions of Africans living in the continent, North America, Latin America, Europe and other parts of the World.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following objectives will be met in this study;
- To find out the importance of the United Nation’s security council’s seat to Nigeria
- To examine how capable Nigeria can manage the seat of the United Nation’s Security council
- To analyze how worthy Nigeria deserves the United Nation’s Security Council’s seat
- To study the possibility of Nigeria achieving the United Nation’s Security Council’s Seat
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- How important is the United Nation’s security councils’ seat to Nigeria?
- How capable Nigeria can manage the seat of the United Nation’s Security council
- How worthy does Nigeria deserve the United Nation’s Security Council’s seat?
- What possibility level can Nigeria achieve the United Nation’s Security Council’s Seat?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the study will provide a comprehensive insight into the looming and cyclical issue of United Nations reforms, especially in to the United Nations Security Council reform by giving a detailed account of both the remote and immediate factors that necessitate the call for the reformation of the structure of the council and its voting pattern; it will also account for the reasons why the current veto wielding members (the so-called big five) have been giving the move a sort of lip service and lackadaisical attitude, rather than giving the issue the seriousness and attention that it deserved.
It will also provide the reading public with a clear cut meaning and
nature of the functions of the United Nations Security Council, its structure and the provision of the United Nations Charter as it regards the membership and power of the Security Council. It shall equally add to the extant body of literature that borders on United Nations Reform and the Quest for permanent seat in the world especially as it concerns Nigeria.
1.6 SCOPE OF STUDY
This study deals with Nigeria’s quest for united Nation’s Security council seat being a reality or a myth. It will cover Nigeria and will extend to united nations states where applicable also.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
During the course of this study, many limitations were faced. Some of them include -:
- Time factor: the time was a big constraints compared to the volume and quality if the work to be done.
- Data collection: this process passed a lot of limitation to this work due to source of data
- Finance: this is also another limitation as a result of the fact that every stage of this work needed finance beginning from first stage to the last stage.
- Respondents: these are also limitations due to the preservation attitude of some people in realizing vital information
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION
Quest: Quest as used in the study is the intension set to achieve the goal of getting the seat of
Myth: as used in the study means the state of being impossible and unachievable.