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Showing posts from 2015

The Iran Nuclear Deal

Why Diplomacy Succeeded and Regional Alignments

On July 14, Iran and the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia, United States) plus Germany – concluded a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) concerning the future of Iran’s nuclear program. On July 20, the UN Security Council unanimously endorsed the landmark deal.

In late October, Iran is expected to begin implementing its part of the agreement. In early 2016, following the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) confirmation of Iranian compliance, the UN, US and EU will begin lifting sanctions and unfreezing Iranian assets – opening the way for Iran’s reintegration back into the global economy.
Basic Framework of the JCPOA
Broadly speaking the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) places extensive limits on Iran’s nuclear programme; makes provisions for an intrusive inspection regime to monitor and verify Iran’s compliance; creates a “Joint Commission” to resolve disp…

Fashola’s Website Scandal, Twitter Overlords, and Rumourpreneurs

Some Thoughts

Former Governor Babatunde Raji Fahola (BRF) has finally responded to the website scandal story that broke out last week. Couched between his anger-laced sentences was his confirmation that N78million of public funds was supposedly spent to “upgrade” his website ( 
Essentially BRF is telling us he approved about $400,000 – the price of a 4-bedroom house in Abuja – to pay for what is basically an internet-based, interactive billboard to advertise his achievements. 

 Apart from the condescending tone he adopted in responding to this serious allegation that borders on corruption and gross mismanagement of public funds, there are a couple of issues with this website scandal. 
First, the IT firm BRF said Lagos state paid to upgrade the website earlier denied receiving N78m, saying it charged N12.5m for the job but was eventually paid N10m
Second, it seems the IT firm – ‘Info Access Plus Limited’ – has no website of its own. Searching for the firm online is l…

Why Nigeria Should Also Think of Itself as a Central African State

This article was first published on 'African Arguments Online' on 21 July 2015
The ‘concentric circle‘ model which frames how Nigeria’s foreign policy thinkers view our region places the country exclusively in West Africa. Consequently West Africa has traditionally been the main focus of the country’s regional diplomacy.
West Africa also remains the arena of Nigeria’s boldest and most celebrated diplomatic initiatives to date – the establishment of ECOWAS in 1975 and the ECOMOG interventions of the 1990s.
I think this view of our broader region which situates Nigeria on the eastern edges of West Africa is incomplete. Instead our strategic thinkers should embrace the country’s natural identity as a potential pivotal power situated at a crossroad between multiple regions, and an anchor state linking West and Central Africa together.
Nigeria’s broader region also encompasses Central Africa. Therefore we should also join Central Africa’s principal regional organisation – the Economic …

Nigeria and France: Geopolitical Rivals No More

How accurate is the widespread perception that Nigeria and France remain locked in an adversarial rivalry in West Africa?

Reading Bassey and Dokubo’s monumental tome, Defence Policy of Nigeria: Capability and Context, one gets the impression that for Nigeria’s foreign policy elites France remains a formidable obstacle to the country’s regional ambition and an enduring threat to national security. As the authors observe: 
The pervasive and tenacious involvement of France in West-Central Africa has been widely seen by Nigerian defence planners as constituting a direct affront to its national security and also impeding the growth of the country’s political, economic and cultural interests in the region. France’s politico-military presence all across West-Central Africa, the authors unequivocally conclude, means the “antagonistic relationship between Nigeria and France [will] arguably … continue in the foreseeable future”. This view is widely shared by most Nigerians and is rooted in the mut…

Change of Defence and Security Chiefs: Some Thoughts

On Monday, President Buhari sacked his Service Chiefs, Chief of Defence Intelligence and National Security Adviser. A widely expected and long overdue decision. The new individuals are:
National Security Adviser (NSA):Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd.). He is from Borno state. He was the Commandant, Nigerian Army Training and Doctrine Command, before his retirement from active service in September 2013. Major General Monguno (rtd.) replaces Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd.).
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS):Major General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin. He is from Ekiti state. Until this appointment he headed the Nigerian Army Training and Doctrine Command. Major General Olonishakin replaces Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.

Chief of Army Staff (CoAS):Major General Tukur Y. Buratai. He is from Borno state. Until this appointment he had recently been appointed to head the soon to be established Multi National Joint Task Force; the five-nation anti-Boko Haram regional coalition. Major General Buratai rep…

What President Buhari can Learn from Prime Minister Modi’s Foreign Policy

Prime Minister Modi’s first year in office has witnessed a remarkable reinvigoration of India’s foreign policy, with several bold initiatives taking observers by surprise. What can President Buhari learn from Prime Minister Modi's diplomatic outreach in his first year as he draws up his own foreign policy agenda?

Prime Minister Modi completed his first term on May 26, three days before President Buhari’s inauguration on May 29. While on the domestic front his one year in office is generally said to have achieved mixed results, his bold forays on the international front however “surprised just about everyone” and has been widely praised. He has reoriented India’s foreign policy, reinvigorated its regional diplomacy, and revitalised key partnerships – notably the Indo-US and Sino-Indian relationships. 
Let’s take a look at one of Prime Minister Modi’s key diplomatic initiatives, and see how it can work for Nigeria.
Neighbourhood First Policy: Reprioritising India’s Immediate and Extend…