1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The foreign economic relations of a country are often triggered by the need to obtain some of the resources which it desires for its well-being, but which lie outside its territories. As a result, states design their foreign policies to attract these limited resources. Independent states do not just compete but also maximize each other in pursuit of their national interests to secure adequate security and prosperity for their citizens. Reasonable co-operation is obtainable only when all parties get something for their people. The diplomatic team of various countries often engages in countervailing practices and horse-trading aimed at exploiting or even bypasses the international rules in order to apportion share of the global development dividends to their citizens. However, the tendency of foreign policies of the co-operating states to clash gives room for diplomacy as a veritable instrument for the accommodation and synchronization of such interests. The policies that drive and/or underpin the external economic relations of a country are founded on economic diplomacy. Nigeria’s foreign economic relations are essentially hinged on the structural tripod of external trade, foreign investment and debt management. As part of the planks of Nigeria’s foreign policy, “economic diplomacy” according to Omojuwa (2014) as cited in Omenma (2009:65) “aims at the diversification of Nigeria’s economic base, expansion of its international market, attraction of new foreign loans and foreign investments and the rescheduling/forgiveness of the nation’s external debt”. Thus, Nigeria’s foreign economic engagements since independence are poised to pursue an international economic regime that guarantees a favourable balance of trade, attraction of more FDIs and management of debts through debt refinancing, debt repudiation, debt rescheduling, debt restructuring, and debt conversion. Foreign policy is an essential tool with which states relate to states and non-states actors in the international system [Levy 2013; Igwe et al 2017]. The foreign policy is set of tools which are used to pursue and achieve country’s national interests. Foreign Policy of Nigerian state has continued to change under different governments and leaders. This is usually influenced by the type of government and to a great extent personality of the countries leader [Levy 2013], [Fawcett 2016], [Musa et al 2017].
From independence, where Nigeria sought after a non-aligned foreign policy during Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa regime, Under Yakubu Gowon 1966-1975 the country was affected with civil war, but his foreign policy was also Afrocentric in nature, Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo 1975-1979 the government went after a radical foreign policy which was targeted at liberation of African states from grip of apartheid and colonialism and reducing the influence of Western capitalist countries, Shehu Shagari 1979-1983 continued with the Afrocentric policy and also liberal policy, Muhammadu Buhari 1983-1985 chose to follow foreign policy of Murtala/Obasanjo foreign policy which was radical in nature. Ibrahim Babangida 1985-1993 foreign policy was seen mainly as pro-western countries which led to the acceptance of Structural Adjustment Programs and also its economic diplomacy, Sani Abacha 1993-2012 choose to pursue an isolation foreign policy which meant Nigeria had limited engagement with outside world. Olusegun Obasanjo 1999-2007 decided to re-open Nigeria to the world after isolation of Sani Abacha government, his foreign policy was hooked on shuttle diplomacy which was aimed at economic development, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and Goodluck Jonathan 2007-2015 foreign policy was initiated and encourages relations with other countries around the world, and its policy was hinged on citizen diplomacy, Muhammadu Buhari 2015-Present foreign policy is also hooked on improving relations with neighbors and to maintain ties with the United States and China among other countries in the world. President Buhari assumed shuttle diplomacy between different countries immediately after assuming office in 2015 he was referred at as “Jet-Setting President”, this was attributed mainly to the fact he spent a quarter of first 100 days in office in different countries. The president upon inauguration assumed the responsibility of been countries chief diplomat and foreign policy officer to re-launch Nigeria into the international community. This is mostly attributed to the international environment Buhari found himself, this situation was characterized by dwindling oil prices, terrorism and counter-terrorism, nuclear deals and neo-liberalism among others [Aning 2017]. Hence the study examines the Nigeria’s foreign economic relations under President Mohammed Buhari administration (an analysis from 2015 - 2020).
1.2. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The goal of every foreign economic relation is to establish and maintain a cordial relationship with other nations as well as to build a good image for a nation and meet its national and domestic interests. This invariably means that a good foreign policy is important in formulating, maintaining and sustaining a nation’s positive image. However, Nigeria’s reputation is at very low ebb under the Muhammadu Buhari’s administrations. It is alleged that violent crimes is a bane of Nigeria’s development. The Boko Haram terrorism, the Niger Delta crises, and the IPOB agitations have earned Nigeria a place amongst the least safe countries of the world (Martin, 2016). The violent crimes perpetrated by these (and many other) groups have led to the death of over 1.3 million Nigerians and the displacement of over 20,000 people, pallid national integration, and ethno-religious chauvinism (Duke & Agbaji, 2017). Also, bedeviled by corruption and the maddening disregard for transparency and accountability, Nigeria‟s image tarnishes while she simultaneously loses huge foreign direct investments (FDI). Thus, the nation is unable to successfully combat internal insurrections and stands amongst nations with a smeared image of bad governance. This weakens the economy, increases insecurity and maladministration. It is against this backdrop that the study examines Nigeria’s foreign economic relations under President Mohammed Buhari administration (an analysis from 2015 - 2020).
1.3. AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine Nigeria’s foreign economic relations under President Mohammed Buhari administration (an analysis from 2015 - 2020). Other specific objectives of the study include;
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant relationship between foreign economic relations and President Muhammadu Buhari regime from 2015- 2020.
H1: There is a significant relationship between foreign economic relations and President Muhammadu Buhari regime from 2015- 2020.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study has significance to students and scholars with research interest in foreign economic relations as well as public administrators and policy makers. Contrary to the prevailing conclusion that Nigeria’s foreign economic relations is the cure-all for its development crisis, the study avers that the continued neglect of the endogenous variables of national economic development has largely blighted economic progress in the country. Thus, it calls on the relevant government bodies like the Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment, to emphasize the production of competitive finished and semi-finished goods instead of continued heavy reliance on globally less competitive and inelastic primary commodities. This study would also be of immense benefit to students and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to Nigeria’s foreign economic relations under President Mohammed Buhari administration (an analysis from 2015 - 2020).
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Foreign policy: is an essential tool with which states relate to states and non-states actors in the international system
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