Between Afro-centrism and citizen diplomacy, the dilemma of Nigeria's conflict resolution mechanism in Africa : lessons from Liberia.
Amao, Olumuyiwa Babatunde.
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Given the destabilizing effect which conflicts have had on Africa's socio-economic and political development, attempts have been (and are still being) made by a combination of state and non-state actors towards ensuring the prevention of conflicts before they occur, including the setting up of the required capacity to deal with them. Epitomizing this tradition is Nigeria, which courtesy of its regional hegemonic status and geographic location as well as its military and economic strength has been one of the leading nations in conflict resolution, peace building and peacekeeping in Africa. In view of the foregoing, this study revisits Nigeria's conflict resolution mechanisms in Africa, through an analysis of its role within Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)-sponsored projects; such as the Nigerian-led military intervention in Liberia between 1990 and 1997. Using the realist approach as its framework of analysis and content analysis as its research methodology, the study interrogates the connection between Nigeria's interventionist role in Africa and the possible nexus or otherwise with its foreign policy dictates. The study further examines the gains or otherwise that have been achieved courtesy of the Africanization of Nigeria's foreign policy objectives from 1960 to 2010; and the probable factors responsible for the much 'politicized' shift to citizen diplomacy. The study reveals that what is presently at play is a continuation of Nigeria's traditional Afro-centric posture and advocates the need for Nigeria to put an end to its seemingly 'charity inclined foreign policy orientation'. It recommends a re-definition of Nigeria's foreign policy focus to accommodate a 'People first' approach towards conflict resolution in Africa both in theory and in practice.