Nigeria in the World System: Alternative Approaches, Explanations and Projections

  • Timothy M. Shaw
  • Orobola Fasehun


Nigeria is at an historic conjuncture, one that poses problems as well as offering opportunities for both political analysts and activists. The country is now two decades old and just another two decades away from the twenty-first century. In its first twenty years of de jure independence, the territory and political economy of Nigeria were administered by several elements within the reconstituted ruling class; initially by combined political-entrepreneurial fractions but for the most part by three distinct military administrations.


Political Economy Foreign Policy World System Alternative Future Alternative Projection 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Jaja Wachuku, first Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Nigerian Parliament, House of Representatives Debates, January 1960, column 54.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    See, for instance, the strikingly titled but otherwise disappointing book by Joseph Wayas, Nigeria’s Leadership Role in Africa (London: Macmillan, 1979).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    L. Gray Cowan, ‘Nigerian Foreign Policy’ in R. O. Tilman and Taylor Cole (eds), Nigerian Political Scene (Durham: Duke University Press, 1962) p. 116.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    A. Bolaji Akinyemi, Foreign Policy and Federalism: the Nigerian Experience (Ibadan University Press, 1974) p. 191.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Olajide Aluko, ‘Nigeria’s Role in Inter-African Relations with Special Reference to the Organisation of African Unity’, African Affairs, 72 (287), April 1973, p. 162.Google Scholar
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  7. 9.
    Ikenna Nzimiro, ‘The Political and Social Implications of Multinational Corporations in Nigeria’ in Carl Widstrand (ed.), Multinational Firms in Africa (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1975) p. 210.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    For a general comparison of the contents and claims of these two modes see Timothy M. Shaw, ‘Foreign Policy, Political Economy and the Future: Reflections on Africa in the World System’, African Affairs, 79 (315), April 1980, pp. 260–8. The notion of ‘foreign policy’ employed here is, of course, a broad one: all interactions with and policies towards ‘external’ actors, whether they be individuals, classes, other non-state actors, other states, regional institutions and universal organisations. This goes beyond official relations and ideologies to embrace a wide variety of ‘transnational’ linkages (see notes 58 and 61 below).Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    For a comparative discussion about the analytic and political debates over the intention and direction of Zambian foreign policy see Timothy M. Shaw, ‘Dilemmas of Dependence and (under) Development: Conflicts and Choices in Zambia’s Present and Prospective Foreign Policy’, Africa Today, 26 (4), October/December 1979, pp. 43–65.Google Scholar
  10. 12.
    Ray Ofoegbu, The Nigerian Foreign Policy (Enugu: Star, 1979) p. ix.Google Scholar
  11. 13.
    Gavin Williams, ‘Introduction’ in Gavin Williams (ed.), Nigeria: Economy and Society (London: Rex Collings, 1976) pp. 3–4.Google Scholar
  12. 14.
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  13. 15.
    For a succinct and suggestive introduction to the industrial, exchange, regional, military, social and theoretical implications of NICs see Raimo Vayrynen, ‘Economic and Military Position of Regional Power Centres in the International System’, Journal of Peace Research, 16 (4), 1979, pp. 349–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  17. 18.
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    Julius E. Okolo and Winston E. Langley, ‘The Changing Nigerian Foreign Policy’, World Affairs, 135, Spring 1973, p. 324.Google Scholar
  19. 21.
    A. Bolaji Akinyemi, ‘Introduction’ in his collection on Nigeria and the World: Readings in Nigerian Foreign Policy (Ibadan: OUP for NIIA, 1978) pp. x–xi.Google Scholar
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    Segun Osoba, ‘The Deepening Crisis of the Nigerian National Bourgeoisie’, Review of African Political Economy, 13, May–August 1978, p. 65.Google Scholar
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    Sayre P. Schatz, Nigerian Capitalism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977) pp. 1 and 2.Google Scholar
  22. 28.
    For introductions to this world system perspective see Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Academic, 1974) andGoogle Scholar
  23. The Capitalist World Economy (Cambridge University Press, 1979);Google Scholar
  24. and Daniel Chirot, Social Change in the Twentieth Century (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977).Google Scholar
  25. 29.
    Barry B. Hughes and Patricia A. Strauch, ‘The Future of Development in Nigeria and the Sahel: Projections from the World Integrated Model (WIM)’ in Timothy M. Shaw (ed.), Alternative Futures for Africa (Boulder: Westview, 1981) pp. 179–200.Google Scholar
  26. 31.
    Patrick F. Wilmot, In Search of Nationhood: the Theory and Practice of Nationalism in Africa (Ibadan: Lantern, 1979) p. 123.Google Scholar
  27. For comparable attempts to contrast traditional and radical approaches to regionalism, nonalignment, NIEO and foreign policy see Timothy M. Shaw, ‘Towards a Political Economy of Regional Integration and Inequality in Africa’, Nigerian Journal of International Studies, 2 (2), October 1978; ‘The Political Economy of Nonalignment: from Dependence to Self-Reliance’, International Conference on NonAlignment, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, January 1980;Google Scholar
  28. ‘Dependence to (Inter) Dependence: Review of Debate on the (New) International Economic Order’, Alternatives, 4 (4), March 1979, pp. 557–78; andCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. with Olajide Aluko, ‘Introduction: the Political Economy of African Foreign Policy’ in Timothy M. Shaw and Olajide Aluko (eds), The Political Economy of African Foreign Policy: Comparative Analysis (Aldershot: Gower, 1982).Google Scholar
  30. 33.
    On these see, for example, J. N. Garba, ‘The New Nigerian Foreign Policy’, Quarterly Journal of Administration, 11 (3), April 1977, pp. 135–46.Google Scholar
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  32. For more on Africa’s middle powers see Timothy M. Shaw, ‘Kenya and South Africa: “Sub-imperialist” States’, Orbis, 21 92), Summer 1977, pp. 375–94, andGoogle Scholar
  33. ‘Inequalities and Interdependence in Africa and Latin America: Sub-imperialism and Semi-industrialism in the Semiperiphery’, Cultures et Developpement, 10 (2), 1978, pp. 231–63.Google Scholar
  34. 35.
    Douglas G. Anglin, ‘Nigeria: Political Non-alignment and Economic Alignment’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 2 (2), June 1964, p. 262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 36.
    For general theoretical work on the Third World state and foreign policy see Biplab Dasgupta, ‘Interpretation of Foreign Policy: an Alternative Approach’, International Round Table on Non-Alignment, Calcutta, November 1979, and Timothy M. Shaw, ‘The Political Economy of African International Relations’, Issue, 5 (4), Winter 1975, pp. 29–38.Google Scholar
  36. 37.
    Gambari, ‘Nigeria and the World’, p. 139. Cf. Geoffrey Hunt and Christos Theodoropoulos, ‘Nigeria: Will Civilian Rule Bring Democracy?’, African Communist, 79, fourth quarter 1979, pp. 88–101Google Scholar
  37. 38.
    Thomas J. Biersteker, Distortion or Development? Contending Perspectives on the Multinational Corporation (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1978) p. 161.Google Scholar
  38. 40.
    A further, more fascist variant of this reformist position is that an authoritarian response would serve to contain, if not remove, social pressures; see Claude Ake, Revolutionary Pressures in Africa (London: Zed, 1978) p. 107.Google Scholar
  39. 41.
    Sayre P. Schatz, Nigerian Capitalism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), p. 46.Google Scholar
  40. 52.
    There is considerably more writing on Nigerian foreign policy than on the foreign policy of any other African state (except, perhaps, the ‘special’ case of South Africa). There are also more trained and professionally active social scientists in Nigeria (particularly in the fields of political science and international relations) than in any other country on the continent (let alone the large number of Nigerian scholars still in the diaspora!). Yet because of the widespread adoption of traditional modes of analysis, Nigerian scholars have yet to have a proportional impact on the frontiers of and debates within these sub-fields. See Mark W. DeLancey, ‘The Study of African International Relations’ in his collection on Aspects of International Relations in Africa (Bloomington: Indiana University, African Studies Programme, 1979) pp. 1–38, especially 8–9.Google Scholar
  41. 54.
    For an interesting overview of this intense period of change and continuity see A. Bolaji Akinyemi, ‘Mohammed/Obasanjo Foreign Policy’ in Oyeleye Oyediran (ed.), Nigerian Government and Politics under Military Rule 1966–79 (London: Macmillan, 1979) pp. 150–68; cf. note 12 above.Google Scholar
  42. 56.
    On the US case see Laurence Shoup and William Minter, Imperial Brains Trust: the Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy (New York: Monthly Review, 1977).Google Scholar
  43. 57.
    See Holly Sklar (ed.), Trilateralism: Elite Planning for World Management (Boston: South End, 1979).Google Scholar
  44. 58.
    Typical of the new concerns amongst established scholars for transnational, ecological, developmental and economic factors are Seyom Brown, New Forces in World Politics (Washington: Brookings, 1974);Google Scholar
  45. Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition (Boston: Little, Brown, 1977),Google Scholar
  46. Joan E. Spero, The Politics of International Economic Relations (New York: St. Martins, 1977); andGoogle Scholar
  47. David H. Blake and Ronald H. Walters, The Politics of Global Economic Relations (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1976).Google Scholar
  48. See also 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
  49. 59.
    See the powerful critiques in Claude Ake, Social Science as Imperialism: the Theory of Political Development (Ibadan University Press, 1979) especially pp. 1–98 and Nzimiro, The Crisis in the Social Sciences, especially pp. 17–26.Google Scholar
  50. 60.
    See Richard W. Mansbach, Yale H. Ferguson and Donald E. Lampert, The Web of World Politics: Non-state Actors in the Global System (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1976) p. 31.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Timothy M. Shaw and Olajide Aluko 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy M. Shaw
  • Orobola Fasehun

There are no affiliations available

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