1.1 be accepted if it ensures peace in

1.1           
BACKGROUND
TO THE STUDY

The
study seeks to examine the contest between Nigeria and France for hegemony and
control in West Africa from 1999-2016. The hegemonic contest had started since
Nigeria’s independence, but the dimension it took within the period under study
makes it significant.

The
concept of hegemony has been in the front burners of discourse in international
politics over the years, particularly from the Cold War era to the collapse of
the Soviet Union up to the present times. It connotes the dominance of one
power or cluster of states in the international system (Kegley, 2006; Keohane,
1980; Kindleberger, 1973; Rourke, 2007 cited in Odigbo, Udaw and Igwe, 2014). However,
scholars have argued that despite the growing dangers of the hegemonic
influence of state actors over others, the concept can only be accepted if it
ensures peace in the world, which suggests that hegemonic structures of power,
dominated by a single country or group of states are most conducive to the
development of strong international regimes (Keohane, 1980:131-162). Hence, hegemony
is viewed as the “ability of one state to lead in world politics by promoting
its world view and ruling over arrangements governing international economics
and politics” (Mingst, 1999:34; Kegley, 2006:309), in order to endear global
peace.

From
the antecedents of Nigeria’s foreign policy making, there are some underpinning
principles that have shaped the nation’s image and its foreign policy
orientation. These principles include: the defence of Nigeria’s sovereignty,
territorial integrity and national independence; the creation of necessary
economic, political, social and cultural conditions to secure the independence
of Nigeria and other African countries; the promotion and protection of African
human rights from colonial domination; the promotion of African Unity; the
promotion of world peace built on freedom, mutual respect and equality; the
respect for the territorial integrity of all nations; as well as the non-alignment
in the East-West ideological rivalries of the past; and freedom of association
and action in the international system (Adeniji, 2000:7).

Until
1966, Nigeria’s policy of good neighbourliness was instrumental in the
protection of Francophone influence in West Africa, with the goal of creating an
avenue for mutual interdependence between Nigeria and her neighbours through
the integration and expansion of trade relations in West Africa (Olukoshi and
Obi, 1996; Akinterinwa, 2001). Hitherto, Nigeria established cordial relations
with her immediate neighbours in particular, and other West African states in
general, in order to foster cooperation in the development of utilized shared
resources (Nwachukwu and Uzoigwe, 2004:69). This event led to Nigeria’s
contribution in the creation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
in May 1975, amongst other institutions, which is viewed as the exemplification
of Nigeria’s development as an active West African power as well as the
foundation for oneness amongst Anglophone and Francophone countries (Bach, 1979).
However, the main change in Nigeria’s association with its neighbours was caused
by its conflicts with Ivory Coast amid the Nigerian Civil War (Bach, 1979).

Thus,
the study takes a deep insight into the influence of France on some West
African countries such as Ivory Coast, Benin, Niger, among others, before and
after independence; the impact of their colonial links on the sub-region; and
how the same has affected their relationships with neighbouring countries,
particularly Nigeria, where the quest for regional dominance comes face to face
with France’s hegemonic ambition in Francophone West Africa.

France’s
international power and position have shaped its foreign and security policy
towards Africa. For instance, France has been an important actor with its
political and economic power in European integration, which informs the reason
behind its engagement in the imperial expansion that has occurred overtime in
some West African countries (S?rada?,
2012). Francophone African
states include Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Guinea
(Conakry), Ivory Coast, Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Togo,
Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros and Madagascar (Iliffe, 2007:195). This
juxtaposes the influence of the policy options and objectives of France majorly
in West Africa, Africa and the world at large.

Subsequently,
the strategic location and the natural endowments that Nigeria possesses are
major driving forces for the establishment of Nigeria’s presence and influence
in Africa. Her continental engagements and efforts towards peace and stability
in Africa characterize her position as a pivotal state on the continent (Odigbo,
Udaw and Igwe, 2014). The research examines the leadership roles of Nigeria and
France in West Africa and how they struggle to be dominant in the subregion. It
critically evaluates the foreign policy adventures of Nigeria and France over
the years in a bid to establish their presence in West Africa.

The
contradiction in Nigeria’s quest for a leadership role and France’s policy of
active presence in West Africa constitute the scramble of both nations for the
subcontinent. For instance, France recognizes Africa as a strategic location
for harnessing natural resources present in the continent, a big outlet for
French exports and the introduction and establishment of French policies,
values and beliefs within Africa (Akinterinwa, 1999:47). Given all of the
reality of hegemonic influence in Africa, particularly the West African
subregion, what distinguishes the leadership position and national interests of
France from those of Nigeria?

The study therefore argues that with the several
contributions and interventions of Nigeria in West Africa, Nigeria remains an
important regional player in the sub-region, as well as in Africa, thereby
justifying the country’s acclaimed position as the ‘Giant of Africa’. Hence,
the study takes into consideration, several factors that may be held
accountable for the struggle for regional hegemony. These factors may include,
but are not limited to: colonial heritage or links; leadership implications;
economic and financial capacities and capabilities; security interventions in
war zones; homogeneous cultures; and struggle for maritime areas in the
sub-region.

1.2           
STATEMENT
OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM

The
struggle for regional hegemony in Africa has been a major concern amongst
several powerful states in their bid to express complete dominance in and over
the continent. By way of situating the subject matter in West Africa however,
the struggle is one that can be categorized as relatively new as it has only
been consistent between Nigeria and France since 1966, following the end of the
Nigerian Civil War (Bach, 1979; Zakaria, 2011).

Akinterinwa
(1999:296) posits that the relationship between Nigeria and France after the
independence of African states might be viewed as troublesome and intriguing,
amicable and threatening, vertical in nature and described by vows to establish
more grounded frameworks for a superior understanding between the two nations. Hence,
the relationship between France and Nigeria in West Africa may be characterized
based on the premise of cultural influence, economic and financial
implications, leadership roles, colonial heritage as well as peacekeeping and
security interventions.

For
instance, Nigeria as a dominant power in West Africa has since its political independence
in 1960 been playing a lot of supportive roles in assistance towards other West
African countries such as the intervention in Liberia and Sierra Leone under
the auspices of the ECOWAS monitoring group (ECOMOG). These roles vary from
military, political to financial and economic (Bach, 2010).  The same applies to France, which has played
the role of a protector of its colonial territories majorly because of its
security policy towards peacekeeping operations in West Africa. The
aforementioned and much more, sum up the reasons for each country’s dedication
in being a dominant force to be reckoned with in the same region (Benneyworth,
2011).

Owing
to the fact that Nigeria is surrounded by French-speaking countries such as
Niger, Benin, Togo, Chad and Cameroon, their friendliness with Nigeria could
not be totally guaranteed due to language barrier, thereby making them to be
more bounded with each other rather than with Nigeria, an English-speaking
country (Omede, 2006). Thus, this friction gave easy access to Francophone
influence in West Africa, particularly those that were colonized by the French.
Also, the increasing concern of ethnic conflicts, instability, centralization
of power, arbitrary use of power, border disputes, the struggle for ownership
of resources as well as terror attacks, stand as reasons for the interference
and influence of the select countries in West Africa (Zakaria, 2011).

It
is this concern that necessitates the study which is to examine the struggle
for hegemonic influence between the selected countries in their aim to pursue
national interests and enhance national security within the West African subregion.

 

1.3           
RESEARCH
QUESTIONS

In
the course of this study, research questions would be stated in interrogative
forms in order to proffer possible solutions to the problems facing hegemonic
influence in West Africa. These questions include:

1.      What
is the nature of the leadership position of, and the relationship between Nigeria
and France in West Africa?

2.      To
what extent have the policy options and choices of the rival regional hegemons
impacted on the subregion?

3.      What
are the underlying factors responsible for the increasing influence of the
regional hegemons in West Africa?

1.4           
RESEARCH
OBJECTIVES

The
research intends to achieve the following objectives:

1.      Ascertain
the leadership positions of, and the relationship between Nigeria and France in
West Africa.

2.      Examine
the impact of policy options and choices of states as it pertains to the
struggle for regional hegemony by the two countries in West Africa.

3.      Identify
and discuss the factors responsible for the increase in the regional hegemonic
influence in West Africa.

1.5           
RESEARCH
PROPOSITIONS

The
research is predicated on the following propositions:

1.      Nigeria
and France are not recognized as important actors in the political and economic
affairs of West Africa.

2.      Nigeria
and France do not have clearly defined policies that identify them as hegemons
in West Africa.

3.      There
is no significant relationship between stability of power and the increasing
influence of regional hegemony in West Africa.

1.6           
SIGNIFICANCE
OF THE STUDY

The
subject of study being researched is significant in advancing knowledge on the presence
of regional hegemons in West Africa. The study seeks to contribute to the
existing and growing body of knowledge on the causes and effects of the foreign
policy options of countries and how those policies influence others in the
international system.

This
study attempts to pinpoint the benefit and relevance of the research to
researchers, scholars, African leaders, future policy makers and the society at
large and to understand the impact of the struggle for regional hegemony
amongst nations of the world, especially in West Africa.

Finally,
the study sheds more light on the past and present policy objectives of Nigeria
and France in their quest for regional power in the political, economic, social
and cultural affairs of West Africa, thereby recommending changes that can be
made to prevent the re-occurrence of hegemonic influence in the same region.
Also, this study could serve as a basis for further study on the operations of
hegemons and their influence in the world.

1.7           
SCOPE
OF THE STUDY

The
research covers the relations between Nigeria and France within the West
African sub-region, in their struggle for regional hegemony. It spans through a
period of 1999-2016, which marks the restoration of democratic dispensation in
West Africa, particularly in Nigeria, as well as the evolving of current trends
in foreign policy discourse.

1.8           
LIMITATION
OF THE STUDY

The
study may be limited in part to the information available from books, journals
and internet sources as well as information that may be withheld by individuals
to be interviewed due to the sensitive positions they hold in public affairs. It
may also be limited by the inability of the researcher to access direct data
from France due to the classification of such materials and financial
constraint. However, efforts would be made especially through the conduct of a
substantial research, in order to ensure that these do not negatively impact on
the research quality.

1.9           
METHODOLOGY
OF THE STUDY

The
purpose of this section is to discuss the methods that would be used for the
research. The research methodology contains detailed procedures of the subject
of study. It adopts a historical and an
analytical approach to explain the presence of regional hegemonies such as
Nigeria and France in West Africa. Qualitative methods will be used to collate
and analyze data.

1.9.1       
Sources of Data

Data
required for the research are both descriptive and qualitative. The research
involves the use of two different sources of data which include the primary and
secondary sources. Both function effectively to boost the research work. . Interviews
would be conducted with some personalities and public figures considered as
experts in the field of study. Secondary data on relevant material will be
obtained from books, journals, newspapers, archival documents, published and
unpublished works such as bulletin, government gazettes, term papers and other
electronic media as related to this research topic

1.9.2       
Population of the Study

The
population of the study comprises experts and stakeholders in the Nigeria-France
diplomatic relations. They include: Academics, Politicians, Ambassadors (Past
and Present) and Other Experts in the field of study. These set of people would
be selected for the research work particularly for the level of knowledge,
influence and position that they hold in public affairs.

1.9.3       
Sample and Sampling Techniques

The
study area is Regional Hegemony in West Africa. The choice of countries under
review is due to the differences in the system of government they operate, the
circumstances surrounding each of their policy options, their colonial
heritages and the nature of their foreign policies. The sample size will be a
total of 5 respondents including Academics, Politicians, and Past and Present
Ambassadors. The sampling technique used in this project is the simple random
sampling technique. This is being chosen because each of the population will
have the chance of being selected in order to administer their views.

1.9.4       
Methods of Data Collection

The
study adopts a qualitative approach for data collection. Data for study is
gotten through the use of primary data in form of the conduct of oral interviews
and secondary data collected from library research, review of books, seminar
papers, articles, publications, conference papers, dissertations and theses
among others. Some of the resources consulted in the course of the research
were gotten from the University of Nigeria Virtual Library, Covenant University
Repository, The NUC Virtual Library, Jstor, Ebsco, E-International Relations
website, among others. These instruments were chosen for detailed collection of
data concerning the operations of Nigeria and France in their struggle for
regional hegemony in West Africa.

1.9.5       
Techniques of Data Analysis

The
techniques for analyzing data include thematic or textual analysis and the
descriptive-historical analysis methods. A descriptive method would be used to
analyze the qualitative data generated through field surveys in this study. The
method of analysis employed in the course of this study was a qualitative one
based on each theme of the propositions.

1.10       
ORGANIZATION
OF THE STUDY

The
research is organized into five chapters;

Chapter
One gives a brief introduction of the entire study. It is
subdivided into segments which include the background of the study, statement
of the problem, research questions, objectives of the study, research
propositions, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study and
the methods of research.

Chapter
Two consists of the literature review and the theoretical framework. Here,
information is gathered from different sources majorly from already published
works such as books, journal articles and internet sources. The theory applied
to this work of study is the Classical Realist Theory.

Chapter
Three identifies the historical background of the study. It takes a look at the
history of the France-Nigeria relations; the interplay of power
tussles between France and Nigeria and how both countries have influenced West
Africa within the purview of the selected years; the extent of their
similarities and differences; and the effect of their foreign policy options on
West Africa.

Chapter Four is the
core part of the dissertation which focuses on the presentation and analysis of
research data. Data gotten from field through interviews will be analyzed using
thematic analysis. The research instrument employed was one on one in-depth
interview which explains the past and present policy objectives of both
countries in their quest for regional power in West Africa. Also, the positive
and negative impacts of such policies are brought into limelight in order to
bring up better plans that will help preserve the interest of West African
countries and create a balance of power between France and Nigeria.

Chapter
Five gives a summary of the study, offers recommendations and draws conclusions
on the research work. The researcher is able to cite authors
and state references, in order to avoid plagiarism and give credibility where the
data/information (either primary or secondary) must have been retrieved.