Nigeria Seeks Increased Bilateral Cooperation With Hungary

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, says he looks forward to increased bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and Hungary, since both countries have a lot in common.

President Buhari made the statement on Friday at a meeting with the Vice Prime Minister of Hungary, Mr Zsolt Semjen, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He said that his administration would welcome the strengthening and expansion of cooperation between both countries in the areas of security and agricultural development.

“Hungary faces some immigration challenges today, just like other parts of Europe. We also have our challenges in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.

“Hungary is able to fully understand our problems, and we can work together,” President Buhari said.

“Not Islamic”

Vice Prime Minister Semjen congratulated Nigeria on its last general elections and told President Buhari that Hungary looked forward to signing agreements with Nigeria on more bilateral cooperation.

He said that terrorism was a global challenge and pledged that his country would support the Nigerian Armed Forces’ efforts to end the Boko Haram insurgency.

“The extremism of Boko Haram is not Islamic. It runs contrary to all human philosophies,” the Vice Prime Minister said.

He also promised that Hungary would deploy its expertise in the area of agriculture to assist Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Foreign Policy No Longer Practical – Analyst

A Foreign Affairs Analyst, Dapo Thomas, on Monday said that the current framework of the nation’s foreign policy exists only on paper and is not practical as the principles therein are outdated and irrelevant in contemporary times.

The International relations lecturer at the University of Lagos, while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, decried the continued inclusion of two outdated principles, decolonisation and non-alignment, in the framework.

“It’s unfortunate that the way we look at foreign policy or the way we manage our foreign policy in Nigeria, has been very lackadaisical, in terms of our response to challenges, dilemmas of the international system,” he said.

He averred that circumstances in the past necessitated the formulation of the five principles which form the framework of Nigeria’s foreign policy.

  • Respect for the sovereignty of other nations
  • Non-alignment
  • Multilateral diplomacy
  • Decolonization
  • Noninterference in the affairs of other nations

Hence, these fundamentals were adhered to when issues like decolonization was crucial in Africa, particularly in the liberation of South Africa from apartheid regime. The principle of non-alignment was as included a result of the cold war. “They had some meaning,” he added.

However, Mr Thomas argued that they are now irrelevant and the other three principles are germane contemporarily.

“I don’t know what we are still doing with those two, non-alignment and decolonization. When you are talking of non-alignment, you should know that whether you want to agree that what we have now is the dominance of the United States (the question is) what has been our reaction (response) to this development, the unipolar system?” he asked.

He opined that Nigeria’s reaction has been conservative. “Conservative to the point that we still believe in ‘process as usual’ meaning we relate with the US on the basis that we had a western-oriented or westerncentric foreign policy.”

He stressed in the need to ‘react’ to the ideological, present evolutionary system which is the unipolar system, adding that the reaction is not to the United States government as that relationship is at the level of bilateral relations.

He also faulted the current foreign policy which he said “is not system driven” but “personality driven” because foreign policy makers or political leaders in Nigeria (and not the official document) dictate the pace and direction of the foreign policy.

“If your policy is system driven, it reacts naturally to whatever changes occur in the international system.”

Asked if the nation truly has a foreign policy, Mr Thomas said that “the perception to people is that we don’t have foreign policy but academically (that’s theoretically) we have but practically, we don’t have because it’s at the dictate of who is at the helm of affairs.”

On claims that the framework is afrocentric, placing Africa at the centre of its foreign policies, Mr Thomas said it made sense in the 60s, 70s and 80s but not anymore as former President Olusegun Obasanjo ‘diluted the afrocentric perspective.’

According to Thomas, Obasanjo made the policy two-pronged in nature. Politically, the afrocentric perspective stands but economically, “we are now looking at the global order.”

Nigeria’s Foreign Operations Have Helped Nigerians Abroad – Osunyikanmi

The Director General, Technical Aid Corps for Africa, The Pacifics and Caribbean, Dr. Pius Osunyikanmi has defended Nigeria’s commitment of financial and human resources to foreign aids all over the world.

This is in reaction to questions being raised about the relevance of Nigeria’s outpouring of generosity to the outside world despite attacks being suffered by Nigerians living abroad.

Besides, the country’s years of commitment to peacekeeping operations in many countries, Nigeria has had a long standing commitment in terms of its Technical Aid Corps scheme to Africa, the Pacifics and the Caribbean since 1987.

In this interview with Network Africa, Dr. Osunyikanmi stated that Nigeria’s role in the decolonization of many African countries, especially in the 1970s puts it in a position of responsibility for the sustenance of their sovereignty, hence its physical presence in many of their crisis situations.

Osunyikanmi who is also the immediate past Special Adviser to the President on International Affairs, while defending the country’s foreign policy added that focus should also be on the factors leading to some of the reported attacks on Nigerians abroad.

“We need to emphasize the fact that there are indeed good Nigerians, they are in abundance, but the few Nigerians that will not  do the right things in the right ways often provoke a number of these responses.”

According to him “if there had not been this scheme, if Nigeria had not been well integrated into the culture or system of those countries, of course this factor of xenophobic attacks would have been much more than (you) identified.”

In view of changing trends in International Relations globally, he also added that “there is no aspect of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy that is as relevant as the Technical Aid Corps, considering the fact that it is also within the ambit of the South-South Corporation.”

Issues that were raised in the interview bothered on the principles of economic reciprocity towards Nigeria’s gesture at a time when there seems to be contempt against its nationals abroad. Also with the level of poverty within the country and the resources put into foreign operations, there are questions over the justification for these foreign support operations.

Raging insecurity is an impediment to Nigeria’s foreign policy-Anyaoku

Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council on International Relations, Chief Emeka Anyaoku has described insecurity in Nigeria as an impediment to the country’s foreign policy.

The former Secretary General of Commonwealth, made this observation after the presentation of a hand book on Nigeria’s Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy; Issues and Perspectives to President Goodluck Jonathan after a breakfast meeting in the Presidential Villa on Tuesday.

Chief Anyaoku, who observed that the country’s status abroad depends to a large extent on its domestic conditions, however believes that Jonathan’s administration is determined to address the issues of insecurity hoping that he will succeed.

President Jonathan said the books are a companion for not only him and the Vice-President but all ambassadors who want to be conversant with the country’s foreign policy.

He thanked the presidential advisory council on international relations for a job well done describing the books as very relevant.

The chairman of the advisory council did not divulge the contents of the policy but while answering a question, he observed that for the country’s foreign policy to stand firm, “the security of lives and property has to be settled at home.”

He further said “the country’s image externally improved with the advent of democracy in 1999. They share great optimism that Nigeria’s standing in the world will continue to improve in spite of the daunting challenges.