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: 402


Manifest destiny and foreign relations: Examining the Nigeria-South Africa contradiction

ADETUNJI, Olumuyiwa Adebayo
  • ADETUNJI, Olumuyiwa Adebayo
  • Department of Political Science, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Federal College of Education, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar
ADEWUMI, Eyitayo Folasade
  • ADEWUMI, Eyitayo Folasade
  • Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 13 August 2020
  •  Accepted: 22 October 2020
  •  Published: 31 January 2021


This article analyses the dichotomy between potentials and capabilities with respect to Nigeria-South Africa relations and how this impinges on the leadership contest majorly involving the two countries. It observed that the international recognition accorded South Africa pitched it against Nigeria though, there are other contenders including Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Rwanda to mention a few for the leadership slot. To determine the leadership contest, this illustrative paper adopts descriptive and comparative methods to match the potentials vis-à-vis capabilities of Nigeria with South Africa in resolving the leadership contest. After a review of the foregoing issues, the study found out that though Nigeria was traditionally acknowledged as the giant of Africa, certain internal contradictions were not in tandem with Nigeria’s leadership status as it remained a country of potentials lacking the edge to provide leadership for the rest of the continent. It concludes that South Africa appeared to meet the criteria for leadership to a greater extent and as such should be considered as the leader of the continent though competition cannot be ruled out by other contenders.
Key words: Manifest potentials, strengths, leadership, foreign relations, leadership contest.