Nigeria and Regional Security
22 Pages Posted: 9 May 2014
Date Written: May 2014
In this paper, we consider the development of Nigeria as a regional security actor, and the extent to which it shows security leadership in two dimensions: the sub-region West Africa, and in the whole of Africa. Whereas we contribute to studies that show, this paper provides a more nuanced assessment of the perceptions of Nigeria’s regional role. We argue that Nigeria’s dual regional role is a carefully constructed narrative that is central to its foreign policy objectives, and indeed its identity as an African state. The implication of this is that on the one hand borne out in Nigeria’ regional performance vis-à-vis the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), which we explore in nuanced detailed. On the other hand, however, we also consider how Nigeria’s sub-regional performance, the usual focus of academic discourse unfolds in the context of its pan-African commitments. In doing so, we highlight the various tensions that underscore and challenge Nigeria’s role as a regional (African) leader. In particular, we examine claims of hegemonic ambitions, the impact of on-going national security challenges, the potential competition between Nigeria and others for leadership, and the role of external actors in discourses around who is a regional actor.
Keywords: Nigeria, regional leader, security narrative, ECOWAS
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