In the 1960s, African leaders, irrespective of their ideological orientations, size of their nations and indeed, level of national development, did believe that the futures of their countries lie in collective self-reliance efforts. To achieve this lofty objective, various regionalist frameworks were designed and instrumentalized, albeit, to transform the continent but the material and spiritual conditions of the majority of the inhabitants have not improved. Whatever aspect one considers – security, foreign investment, trade, information technology and skilled labour force – the continent outlook gives little or no cause for celebration. What could be responsible for this state of affairs or put differently, what accounts for the crisis of regionalism in Africa? This paper sought answer(s) to these questions in the light of West and Central African experience under French colonialism. Drawing on secondary historical data and leaning on structural dependency platform spiced with colonialism thesis, it argued that la Francophonie, the assimilatory base of French imperialism, and its legacy, has to a reasonable extent, thwarted efforts at institutionalizing regional integration in the sub-region. The paper concluded that given the prevailing realities on ground, the structure may persist unless the forces that incubated it are confronted frontally.
While the Judiciary has continued to play a major role in Nigeria’s democratic journey, yet critical studies on the terrains of judicial independence remains scanty. It is against this background that this article, based on desk analysis, critically examines the health of the Judiciary in a democratizing Nigeria, through the prism of judicial independence. It notes that despite the institutional frameworks, embedded in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to provide a well-ventilated environment for its existence, the Judiciary, even though still breathing, is still gasping for breath. It argues that this is unconnected to the internal contradictions within the Judiciary and pervasive prebendal culture, which have all interacted to shape the content and terrains of judicial independence in a democratizing Nigeria. The article concludes that as long as the Judiciary in Nigeria continues to be mired in internal contradictions from within, its journey towards achieving institutional independence would remain tortuous.
President Yahya Jammeh’s volte face, following his earlier acceptance of the verdicts of the Gambians during the 1 December 2016 presidential poll, did not only jolt the international community but, if not for the intervention of external actors, would have set the Gambia on the path of implosion. This article, based on desk analysis, examines the mediatory role of ECOWAS in the resolution of the 2016 post-election crisis in the Gambia. It notes that unlike the previous similar case in Cote d’Ivoire, ECOWAS took the lead in resolving the political crisis and thus demonstrated that Pax Africana is at work in the sub-region. It argues and concludes that ECOWAS with or without the support from outsiders has the capacity to take charge of threats to democracy and peace in member states, by deploying mediatory diplomacy backed with threat of coercion.
Central to understanding the character of countries’ foreign policies are the personality traits of individuals who preside over the affairs of countries. This is even more so in Africa where institutions responsible for foreign policy making are not only weak, but are also overshadowed by the personality traits of powerful chief executives. It is against this background that this article, based on desk analysis, examines and compares the impact of leaders’ personality traits on Nigeria’s Afro-centric policy in the post-authoritarian era. Specifically, it attempts to lay bare why Nigeria’s Afro-centric policy, in post-Obasanjo era, has not enjoyed as much dynamism and vigour as it did during Obasanjo’s administration. Comparatively, it notes that President Obasanjo’s successors, Presidents Yar Adua and Jonathan, even though did not discountenance Nigeria’s age-long Afro-centric posture, but did not bring as much dynamism and aggressiveness to bear on it as did President Obasanjo. It argues that this may be unconnected majorly to these individuals’ different personality traits.