African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 403


Transformations in Nigeria’s foreign policy: From Balewa to Obasanjo

Dele Jemirade
  • Dele Jemirade
  • History Department, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University, Toronto, Ontario Canada.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 06 July 2020
  •  Published: 31 July 2020


This article re-examines and reassesses Nigeria’s foreign policy from 1960 to 1979. From independence in 1960, all the administrations in Nigeria had similar foreign policy objectives until 1975 when General Murtala Mohammed became the Head of State. General Mohammed was killed in a failed military coup d’état and General Olusegun Obasanjo, his deputy, became the head of state; hence, the usage of Mohammed-Obasanjo administration. The administration of Mohammed and Obasanjo witnessed the first time that Nigerian broke away from her traditional-moderate way of pursuing foreign policy objectives to a new style with emphasis on action, rather rhetoric. The aim of this review article was to re-examine and reassess the transformations in Nigeria’s foreign policy and diplomacy during the administration of Mohammed and Obasanjo. This review article discovers that Nigeria’s foreign policy truly transformed from reactionary, conservative, static, and lacklustre nature to inspiring, progressive, radical, and dynamic during the administration of Generals Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo. The article concluded that the Mohammed-Obasanjo’s foreign policy was the best in Nigeria from independence in 1960 to 1979 when Obasanjo handed power to President Shehu Shagari.


Key words: Nigeria, foreign policy, diplomacy, international relations, security.