Introduction: Nigeria as Africa’s Major Power

  • Timothy M. Shaw


Recognition of Nigeria’s relative influence and affluence is now commonplace in Africa, Europe and elsewhere. Yet scepticism remains about the stability of Nigeria’s state and status. The country clearly has potential for expanding its capabilities and choices, but whether it can either realise or utilise these is still problematic. This book is intended to contribute to the growing debate about the bases and effects of Nigerian power. The debate is of relevance not only to students of Nigeria in particular or of Africa in general but also to students of Third World foreign policies as a whole, especially those of Newly Industrialising Countries (NICs). For Nigeria is one of very few African states aspiring successfully for a place in the ‘semi-periphery’. Its position between ‘core’ and ‘periphery’ in the global system remains somewhat tenuous although the nature of its political economy and development strategy points towards such a role or status, particularly in the medium-term future.


Political Economy Foreign Policy World System Dependent Development Military Rule 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Andrew Young, ‘The United States and Africa: Victory for Diplomacy’, Foreign Affairs, 59 (3), 1981, p. 654.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Claude Ake, ‘Off to a Good Start But Dangers Await …’, West Africa, 3330, 25 May 1981, p. 1163.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    G. O. Okunzua, ‘No Need to Worry Over Money in 1981: New Year Predictions’, Sunday Times (Lagos), 28 December 1980, p. 11.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sonni G. Tyoden, ‘State, Class and Capital Accumulation in the Periphery’, Nigerian Political Science Association, Kano, April 1981, p. 20.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Typical of such recognition are two essays by Jean Herskovits, ‘Nigeria: Africa’s New Power’, Foreign Affairs, 53 (2), January 1975, pp. 314–33, andCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. ‘Dateline Nigeria: a Black Power’, Foreign Policy, 29, Winter 1977–8, pp. 167–88. Cf. the critiques of this widely held position in Chapters 6 and 11.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    Peter Evans, Dependent Development: the Alliance of Multinational, State and Local Capital in Brazil (Princeton University Press, 1979) p. 11.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    See A. Bolaji Akinyemi, ‘Mohammed/Obasanjo Foreign Policy’ in Oyeleye Oyediran (ed.), Nigerian Government and Politics under Military Rule, 1966–1979 (London: Macmillan, 1979) pp. 150–68.Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    See B. C. Sullivan, ‘Structural Dependency: the Nigerian Economy as a Case Study’, Journal of Asian and African Studies, 14 (1–2), January and April 1979, pp. 44–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 9.
    On this ‘tradition’ in Nigerian foreign relations see Douglas G. Anglin, ‘Nigeria: Political Non-alignment and Economic Alignment’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 2 (2), June 1964, pp. 147–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    On these decisions see Chapter 5 and Olatunde J. B. Ojo, ‘Nigeria and the Formation of ECOWAS’, International Organisation, 34 (4), Autumn 1980, pp. 571–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Oye Ogunbade jo, ‘Nigeria’s Foreign Policy Under Military Rule, 1966–79’, International Journal, 35 (4), Autumn 1980, p. 765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    On the semi-periphery see Timothy M. Shaw, ‘The Semi-periphery in Africa and Latin America: Sub-imperialism and Semi-industrialism’, Review of Black Political Economy, 9 (4), Summer 1979, pp. 341–58, andCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. ‘Dependence to (Inter) Dependence: Review of Debate on the (New) International Economic Order’, Alternatives, 4 (4), March 1979, pp. 557–78. See also Evans, Dependent Development, especially pp. 33–54 and 290–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 16.
    See, for example, Olajide Aluko, ‘Nigeria, the United States and Southern Africa’, African Affairs, 78 (310), January 1979, pp. 91–102.Google Scholar
  16. 23.
    See Timothy M. Shaw, ‘Dependence with Growth: the Political Economy of Petroleum in Nigeria’, Workshop on the Effects of Commodity Dependence on Development in African Countries, Centre for African Studies, Dalhousie University, March 1981.Google Scholar
  17. 30.
    Typical of this genre see Ibrahim A. Gambari, ‘Nigeria and the World: a Growing Internal Stability, Wealth and External Influence’, Journal of International Affairs, 29 (2), Fall 1975, pp. 155–69, andGoogle Scholar
  18. Joseph Wayas, Nigeria’s Leadership Role in Africa (London: Macmillan, 1979); cf. critique in Chapters 6, 10 and 11.Google Scholar
  19. 31.
    See Bibliography, Ogunbadejo, ‘Nigeria’s Foreign Policy Under Military Rule 1966–79’, andGoogle Scholar
  20. Olajide Aluko, Essays in Nigerian Foreign Policy (London: Allen & Unwin, 1981).Google Scholar
  21. 33.
    For more on this important concept and category see Immanuel Wallerstein, The Capitalist World-Economy (Cambridge University Press, 1979) pp. 21–34, and Evans, Dependent Development, passim, especially pp. 33–54.Google Scholar
  22. 35.
    See Gavin Williams’ ‘Introduction’ to his collection on Nigeria: Economy and Society (London: Rex Collings, 1976) pp. 1–7, andGoogle Scholar
  23. Segun Osoba, ‘The Deepening Crisis of the Nigerian National Bourgeoisie’, Review of African Political Economy, 13, May–August 1978, pp. 63–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. See also Gavin Williams, ‘Postface’, in his collection on State and Society in Nigeria (Idanre, Ondo: Afrografika, 1980) pp. 10–21.Google Scholar
  25. 38.
    See Evans, Dependent Development, pp. 320–9, and Timothy M. Shaw, Towards an International Political Economy for the 1980s: from Dependence to (Inter) Dependence (Halifax: Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, 1980).Google Scholar
  26. 42.
    On these see Timothy M. Shaw (ed.), Alternative Futures for Africa (Boulder: Westview, 1982) passim.Google Scholar
  27. 48.
    See Timothy M. Shaw, ‘The Political Economy of Nonalignment: from Dependence to Self-reliance’, International Studies, 19 (3–4), July–September 1980, pp. 475–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 49.
    Ake, ‘Off to a Good Start But Dangers Await …’, p. 1163. For more on Nigeria’s problems and development strategies to deal with them see Claude Ake, A Political Economy of Africa (London: Longman, 1981) pp. 114–16 and 143–72.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Timothy M. Shaw and Olajide Aluko 1983

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  • Timothy M. Shaw

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