The domain of foreign policy in the Fourth Republic has not been as boisterous as would have been expected in a country reckoned with as a powerhouse in Africa. So far, there is still no Akinyemi Doctrine.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who inaugurated the Republic in 1999 and substantially personified the domain carries multiple foreign policy identity. While some saw and still see him as practitioner of moral warfare for debt cancellation, others see in him as practitioner in Afro-centricism and yet others as a patriot. Nobody contests his patriotism although not a few also see him as being too located in the West.
Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who succeeded him carries the contradictory image of the hero in Africa saying no to AFRICOM basing but also of being caught on camera to be too impressed with the White House. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has not got much that is memorable but he has argued persuasively that his fall from power followed his rejection of American or, is it Western, pressure on him to endorse same sex ideology. President Muhammadu Buhari has yet to articulate a grand narrative as far as foreign policy is concerned. It is either he prefers to keep whatever view of foreign policy he has to himself or he is a practitioner of case – by – case foreign policy. While case – by – case approach to foreign policy allows its practitioner room for manoeuver, it could be dangerous for a country such as Nigeria which is a dependent variable in the contemporary international order.
In apparent consideration of the above context, the Lagos based think tank, the Centre for Constitutionalism and Demilitarization, (CENCOD) is devoting its 2019 Annual Democracy Lecture to “Contemporary International System: Aligning Technology with Nigeria’s Foreign Policy.
A statement by Prof. Sylvester Odion Akhaine, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the centre indicates that the event comes up December 7th, 2019 at Rights House, 43 Adeniyi Jones in Ikeja area in Lagos. It will be featuring Dr. Ebere R. Adigbuo, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of History and International Relations at the Delta State University, Abraka in Delta State of Nigeria as the Guest Speaker. Adigbuo is a highly published Nigerian academic.
The title of the planned presentation could suggest that CENCOD is not just dealing with Nigerian foreign policy but interested in problematising it and shifting the debate to the role of materiality in foreign policy of a non-industrial economy. It might be the first time the materiality debate is rearing its head in Nigerian public sphere. The materiality debate is, of course, the big, on-going debate as to whether material entities, (weather, rocks, bodies of water, technology, etc) can be granted agency in social life. Do they have autonomy of actions or they are what human beings make of them in terms of usage?
.Academics and students, civil society activists and the foreign policy elite will be expected at the 16th version of the event which has featured notable eggheads from, amongst others, Prof Nzongola Ntalaja, Babatunde Zak-Williams, Remi Aiyede, Jonathan Seglow, Adebayo Williams, Rita Abrahamsen, David Simon, Sarah Bracking, Kelechi Kalu, Sat Obiyan and Bolaji Omitola.