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Democratizing Nigeria’s Foreign Policy: SIRA holds second annual forum


SIRA 2nd Annual Forum Abuja 2012


(Fr. L-R (1)Professor Haruna Wakili - Commissioner: Education Jigawa State; (2) Chief Emeka Anyaoku - Former Secretary General of the Commonwealth; (3) Thomas Maettig - Resident Rep. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)

The Society for International Relations Awareness (SIRA) held its second annual forum and book launch on October 31, 2012 at Protea Hotel, Abuja. The event featured a lecture by His Excellency Dr. Sule Lamido, Executive Governor of Jigawa State and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the first administration of President Obasanjo (1999-2003). His reflections on “Challenges of Foreign Policy Making and Implementation in Nigeria: An Insider’s Perspective” outlined the difficulties the Obasanjo administration faced in bringing Nigeria back as an internationally accepted African leader state after years of pariah status under military dictatorship.

The governor laid out the key challenges for Nigeria’s foreign policy that remain relevant today: developing and diversifying the country’s economy; African disunity and inter-regional competition; insecurity; and the lacking strength of the international community to reform the UN system. You can read the speech HERE

The event was chaired by Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council on International Relations. While referring to remarks by the Chairman of SIRA, Professor Nuhu Yaqub, who reported on the stiff resistance with which SIRA’s position paper on the Bakassi issue (READ HERE) was met by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, Chief Anyaoku characterized Nigeria’s decision to go to the International Court of Justice on the Bakassi issue as a mistake the country would have to live with. According to him, the Nigeria should have let the people of Bakassi decide – just like it was done with Gibraltar or the Falkland islands.

The event also saw the launching of the book “Reflections on Nigeria’s Foreign Policy Vol II: Consensus and Non-State Actors”.

SIRA is a close partner of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Nigeria. FES supports SIRA, a network of foreign policy analysts, policy makers, media practitioners and civil society actors with an interest in foreign policy, to enhance the discussion on Nigeria’s foreign policy and to democratize this crucial policy area.

See some selected media reportage on the workshop below:

Newsdiaryonline