Politics without Commerce? Explaining the Discontinuity in Soviet-Nigerian Relations, 1971-1979

in African and Asian Studies
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The paper set out to explain the discontinuity in Soviet-Nigerian relations between the periods 1967-1970 and 1971-1979. The explanation usually given for the poor relations between Nigeria and the Soviet Union between 1960 and 1966 is the anti-communism of the Nigerian political elite; and ideological incompatibility for the non-vibrant relations between 1971 and 1979. These explanations appear idealistic and hypothetical. A major source of the problem of explanation is the consideration of Soviet-Nigerian relations only within the context of the Soviet-American Cold War struggle, from a trilateral perspective. What if the Cold War did not exist, what would have been the nature of Soviet-Nigerian relations? Adopting a bilateral framework, the paper argues that it was the inchoate state of trade relations, which would have provided the basis for continuity across administrations, that retarded Soviet-Nigerian political relations between 1971 and 1979.

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  • 1

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  • 2

    A.B. Akinyemi“Mohammed/Obasanjo Foreign Policy” in Nigerian Government and Politics under Military Rule 1966-1979ed. O. Oyediran (London: Macmillan1979) 151.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4

    A. Kirk-Greene“The Making of the Second Republic” in Nigeria since 1970: A Political and Economic Outlineeds. A. Kirk-Greene and D. Rimmer (London: Hodder & Stoughton1981) 48.

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  • 5

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    • Search Google Scholar
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  • 7

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  • 8

    CarrThe Twenty Years’ Crisis117.

  • 11

    Jeffry A. Frieden and David A. Lake“Introduction: International Politics and International Economics” in International Political Economy: Perspectives on Global Power and Wealth4th Ed. eds. Jeffry A. Frieden and David A. Lake (London: Routledge2000) 1.

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  • 12

    John DonaldsonInternational Economic Relations: A Treatise on World Economy and World Politics (New York: Longmans, Green1928) xi.

  • 13

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  • 14

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  • 15

    Ehimika A. Ifidon“The Rhetoric and Economics of Nigeria’s Diplomatic Reconstruction, 1970-1975”Benin Journal of Historical Studies 3 nos. 1&2 (2001): 14.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16

    Ehimika A. Ifidon“The Resource-Market Linkage and the Growth Problem in Soviet-Nigerian Trade Relations, 1960-1979”Nigerian Journal of the Humanities 18 (2012): 41.

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    • Export Citation
  • 17

    Ifidon“The Resource-Market Linkage”53.

  • 18

    Ifidon“The Resource-Market Linkage”56.

  • 21

    Suzanne CronjeThe World and Nigeria: The Diplomatic History of the Biafran War 1967-1970 (London: Sidgwick & Jackson1976) 53.

  • 23

    Stanley E. OrobatorDiplomacy and Conflict Resolution in International Relations: The Soviet Union and the Nigerian Crisis (Benin City: Uniben Press1997) 107-108.

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  • 24

    Christopher StevensThe Soviet Union and Black Africa (London: Macmillan1976) 169.

  • 25

    Efraim Karsh“Influence through Arms Supply: The Soviet Experience in the Middle East”Conflict Quarterly 6 no. 1 (1986): 45.

  • 26

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 27

    Philip G. Roeder“The Ties that Bind: Aid, Trade, and Political Compliance in Soviet-Third World Relations”International Studies Quarterly 29 no. 2 (1985): 192-193. Although Roeder only found “a significant positive relationship between Soviet arms transfers and export dependence in the 1960s”: 204.

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  • 28

    See StevensSoviet Union and Black Africa47-49; and Africa Diary: Weekly Record of Events in Africa (New Delhi: Africa Publications) 1965: 2313.

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  • 29

    Colin Legum ed.Africa Contemporary Record 1974-1975 (New York: Africana Publishing1975) 8799.

  • 31

    Olatunji J.B. Ojo“The Soviet Union and Nigeria: The Quest for Influence, 1967-1983”Africa Spectrum 20 no. 2 (1985): 172.

  • 34

    W. Quandt“Influence through Arms Supply: The U.S. Experience in the Middle East” in Arms transfers to the Third Worldeds. Ra’anan Pfaltgraff Jr. and Kemp 122.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 35

    John Sislin“Arms as Influence: The Determinants of Successful Influence”Journal of Conflict Resolution 38 no. 4 (1994): 667.

  • 36

    Hugh Hanning“Lessons from the Arms Race”Africa Report 13 no. 2: (1968): 42.

  • 38

    StevensSoviet Union and Black Africa152-153.

  • 40

    O. Aluko“Nigerian Foreign Policy” in The Foreign Policies of African Statesed. O. Aluko (London: Hodder & Stoughton1971) 173-174.

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  • 41

    StevensSoviet Union and Black Africa153.

  • 42

    CronjeThe World and Nigeria272.

  • 43

    OrobatorThe Soviet Union and the Nigerian Crisis205.

  • 44

    Ben Lawrence“We Need a Foreign Policy Shake-up”Daily TimesSeptember 14 1975.

  • 46

    OrobatorThe Soviet Union and the Nigerian Crisis206.

  • 49

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  • 50

    Joe GarbaDiplomatic Soldiering: Nigerian Foreign Policy 1975-1979 (Ibadan: Spectrum Books1987) 163.

  • 55

    See Orobator“Sovietbloc and Nigeria” p. 397. It was similarly described as “a landmark in Soviet-Nigerian relations”: David Morison “The Soviet Union’s Year in Africa” in Africa Contemporary Record: Annual Survey and Documents 1974-75 ed. C. Legum (London: Africana Publishing 1975) A82.

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  • 57

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  • 59

    Federal Office of StatisticsReview of External Trade (Lagos: Federal Office of Statistics1974) Table 14.

  • 60

    E.B. Uti“Socialist Programme by October 1?”Times InternationalSeptember 22 1975.

  • 61

    Martin J. Dent“Corrective Government: Military Rule in Perspective” in Soldiers and Oil: The Political Transformation of Nigeriaed. S.K. Panter-Brick (London: Frank Cass1978) 128.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 65

    See Brian Crozier ed.Annual of Power and Conflict 1978-79: A Survey of Political Violence and International Influence (London: Institute for the Study of Conflict1978) 288.

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    • Export Citation
  • 66

    See Brian Crozier ed.Annual of Power and Conflict 1979-80: A Survey of Political Violence and International Influence (London: Institute for the Study of Conflict1980) 179.

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    • Export Citation
  • 67

    Oye Ogunbadejo“Nigeria’s Foreign Policy under Military Rule, 1966-79”International Journal 35 no. 4 (1980): 755.

  • 68

    Oye Ogunbadejo“Nigeria and the Great Powers: The Impact of the Civil War on Nigerian Foreign Relations”African Affairs 75 no. 298 (1976): 25.

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    • Export Citation
  • 69

    Ogunbadejo“Impact of the Civil War”26.

  • 70

    Akinyemi“Mohammed/Obasanjo Foreign Policy”151.

  • 71

    Angela Stent“The Soviet Union and the Nigerian Civil War: A Triumph of Realism”Issue: A Journal of Opinion 3 no. 2 (1973): 46.

  • 72

    Ojo“The Soviet Union and Nigeria: The Quest for Influence”188.

  • 73

    Oye Ogunbadejo“Soviet Policies in Africa”African Affairs 79 nos. 316: (1980): 315.

  • 74

    Maxim Matusevich“Revisiting the Soviet Moment in Sub-Saharan Africa”History Compass 7 no. 5 (2009): 1263.

  • 79

    Arthur J. KlinghofferThe Soviet Union and International Oil Politics (New York: Columbia University Press1977) 238-239.

  • 84

    OrobatorThe Soviet Union and the Nigerian Crisis115.

  • 85

    A.J. Klinghoffer“Why the Soviets chose Sides”Africa Report xiii no. 2 (1968): 49. Also see Maxim Matusevich No Easy Row for a Russian Hoe: Ideology and Pragmatism in Nigerian-Soviet Relations 1960-1991 (Trenton nj: Africa World Press 2003) 107.

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  • 86

    Maxim Matusevich“An Elusive Friendship: Nigerian-Soviet/Russian Relations, 1960-2000” in Focus on Politics and Economics of Russia and Eastern Europeed. Ulric R. Nichol (New York: Nova Science Publishers2007) 193.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 88

    GarbaDiplomatic Soldiering150.

  • 89

    GarbaDiplomatic Soldiering157.

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