An analysis of Nigerian foreign policy: the evolution of political paranoia

"At independence in 1960, the Nigerian state represented a contrived federal balance between three ethnically and politically divided federal states. The political rivalry and tension between the three factions precluded the evolution of any specific 'Nigerian ideology or doctrine' and the emergence of any single charismatic national leader who could be identified as the 'voice of Nigeria'. Thus, the characteristic conservatism of Nigerian foreign policy at independence, often interpreted as weakness or lack of sovereignty is more realistically ascribed to the uncertainty of the Nigerian political leadership's domestic political footing. In formulating foreign policy the leadership elite was faced with the dilemma of internal disunity and a patently contrived and unstable federal political balance. In order to bridge the cleavage between internal divisiveness and the wider notion of 'Nigerianism', the political leadership (in view of the lack of any characteristic or cohesive Nigerian nationalism) sought to project Nigeria's external objectives into a wider pan-Africanist framework."