A STUDY OF THE NIGERIAN FOREIGN POLICY UNDER PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO 1999-2007
On assumption of office as president, Obasanjo made diplomatic moves to redeem the battered and shattered image of the country which was as a result of the unending transition to democracy, increase in the abuse of fundamental human rights and the regular killing of innocent citizens in the 1990s. This led to the imposition of international sanctions on Nigeria. However, with the return to democracy and Obasanjoâs shuttle diplomacy, sanctions placed on Nigeria were removed. And as part of Nigeriaâs commitment to make Africa the centre-piece of the countryâs foreign policy, Obasanjo continued with Nigeriaâs leading role in the maintenance of peace and conflict resolution in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Togo, Sudan, etc. This work is a review of Nigeriaâs foreign policy during Olusegun Obasanjoâs second era and its impact on Nigerian citizens. It examined the plight of Nigerians in some countries where the country participated in peace keeping operations during Obasanjo second era. Other issues that affect Nigerian citizens which were discussed in this work include the case of Bakassi and the countryâs diplomatic moves for debt relief and investment. The central question addressed in this research is: What were the measures taken by the government to protect Nigerian citizens in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Sudan where Nigeria participated in peace keeping operations; and in the Bakassi Peninsula which was ceded to Cameroon? However, the main focus of this research is to review and assess the impact of Obasanjoâs foreign policy formulation and implementation on national life. It includes how his foreign policy affectred Nigerians economically, socially and politically. The work was designed among other things to provide the historical account of Nigeriaâs foreign policy under obasanjo civilian era. In order to achieve this, it applied historical narrative and descriptive method of analysis. With the use of available evidence drawn from oral interviews (with some diplomats, political office holders, and scholars of international relations), books, and journals; this work has made attempt to examine the various strategies put in place to formulate and implement Nigeriaâs foreign policy between 1999 and 2007. The successful campaign for debt relief and the repatriation of looted funds are prominent among the results of his diplomatic manoeuvring. Nevertheless, it has been argued in this work that despite the recovery of looted funds, debt cancellation, and the promotion of Foreign Direct Investment; there was neglect of the pursuit of vital national interests which include protection of territorial boundary and the lives of citizens, and the improvement of the well-being of citizens. And as part of the attempt to make contributions to knowledge, this work has provided the historical analysis of Obasanjo’s foreign policy between 1999 and 2007.