A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF PRESIDENT YAR’ADUA AND PRESIDENT JONATHAN'S FOREIGN POLICIES, 2007-2015

RESEARCH PROPOSAL The recent outbreaks of civil wars and conflicts in Niger (2007), Guinea Bissau (2008-2009), Côte d’Ivoire (2011), Sudan (2009-2014), etc., have received little or no pro-active peace support operations from Nigeria. This is in sharp contrast to the past active engagement of Nigeria in the sub-region. The aggressive articulation of African-centeredness in Nigeria’s foreign policy under General Murtala  Mohammed  (1975-1976) made the colonial and apartheid regimes in South Africa to reduce or stop their activities. At a point, Murtala challenged the United States of America and South Africa when they planned  to  install  a  puppet  regime  in  Angola.[1] General  Obasanjo equally employed cultural diplomacy to assert the supremacy of Nigeria in the region by hosting  high  level international conferences like  the  World  Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC 77’), the  World Conference for Action  against  Apartheid  and ECOWAS Heads of State  Summit, etc. The government also applied militancy in its foreign policy by ‘nationalizing’ British assets in Nigeria such as the British Petroleum in retaliation to Britain’s decision to sell crude oil to South Africa. This action, coupled with leading other African countries to boycott the 1978 Montreal Olympics forced the British government under  Thatcher to reverse its proposed  recognition  of  and  support for  the minority  racist  government in  Zimbabwe.[2]             The country’s foreign policy has taken a new turn, leaning more toward the citizens. President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s administration (2007-2010) who took over from President Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007) concentrated more on the internal restructuring of Nigeria than on external relations. He worked on fighting corruption and literally settled the problem of the Niger Delta by offering Amnesty to the militants. However, critics have labeled his foreign policy posture as ‘inactive, dormant and unfocused’.[3]  It was typified by last minute cancellations of international appointments and a lull in filling ambassadorial positions, including that of Washington. While the country paid its dues to Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU), it did little to pursue an assertive diplomacy in the region. In the end, Nigeria entered the world scene as a terrorist country as a result of the attempted bombing of a US-bound airplane by Nigeria-born Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab.[4] In 2009, the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua apologetically lamented the non-representation of Nigeria at the G-20 Pittsburgh Summit of heads of states. According to him, it is a sad thing

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