Gambari explains Buhari’s foreign policy mentality

After more than seven years in office, President Muhammadu Buhari’s mindset on foreign policy became clearer to Nigerians on Monday courtesy of his chief of staff, Ibrahim Gambari. According to Gambari, Buhari’s foreign policy mindset is to focus on Nigeria first, then its immediate neighbors before turning to other West African countries, then Africa and the rest of the world. Mr. Gambari’s explanation is arguably the clearest public explanation of how the Nigerian leader views the country’s foreign policy. He explained that it was the same mentality that the Nigerian leader had when he was military head of state (1983 to 1985). “In his (Buhari’s) previous incarnation, as Head of State,” Gambari said, “the defining feature of his policies was the concentric circle of Nigerian foreign policy. That our interests, our efforts, will be concentrated on promoting the interests of Nigeria in concentric circles at the epicenter; the defense of the integrity of Nigeria, the prosperity, the well-being of its people”. “But then there are neighboring countries, then West Africa, then Africa, and then the rest of the world. And he has shown the continuity of Nigeria’s foreign policy in this regard by the fact that the first countries he visited after taking office were the neighboring countries,” said the professor and former diplomat. Mr. Buhari’s mentality perhaps explains why the Nigerian leader has made sure his government carries out controversial projects that appear to favor the neighboring Republic of Niger, such as the Nigerian-funded railway line being built from Nigeria to Niger and the recent donation of vehicles worth more than one billion naira. to Niger amid Nigeria’s economic challenges. Mr Gambari’s explanation may also explain why the Nigerian leader close the country’s land borders for over a year to essentially punish its neighbors for allowing massive smuggling of goods into Nigeria. Despite criticism of the policy from affected countries, ECOWAS and many Nigerians, the Nigerian leader did not reserve his August 2019 decision until December 2020, when the borders were partially reopened. Gambari spoke about the foreign policy stance at a reception he hosted in honor of two senior officials of the Nigerian president recently honored by Nigerien President Mohammed Bazoum. The honored presidential aides, who received the highest honor in Niger, are the Chief of State Protocol (SCOP), Lawal Kazaure, and the Senior Special Assistant to the President for Home and Domestic Affairs, Sarkin Ada. PREMIUM TIMES reported how Messrs. Kazaure and Ada were among six Nigerians recently honored by the President of Niger. At the reception, Gambari also described the borders between Nigeria and its neighbors as artificial. According to Gambari, the countries that share borders with Nigeria, including Niger, Cameroon, the Republic of Benin and Chad, share the same interests and cultural affinities that bind them. ALSO READ: Nigerian foreign policy must define terms of engagement with other countries – Gbajabiamila “All of these limits are very artificial,” the chief of staff said. “The Europeans at the Berlin Congress simply took a piece of paper and drew lines where they had never been; they never pretended to be, separate people who should be together and united people, perhaps, who should be apart. “But Africa’s leaders have decided that it is wise to keep those artificial boundaries, as changing them in a way that is not peaceful will create even more problems than they can solve. But in any case, whether along those lines, whether artificial or not, Niger/Nigeria share common borders, common interests, common concerns with their families across borders.” The Permanent Secretary of the State House, Tijjani Umar, congratulated the winners. He said that the challenge of COVID-19climate change, and lately the war between Russia and Ukraine, have had a negative impact on the world’s population and as such it has become important that countries watch each other’s backs. He stressed that the honor conferred on the presidential aides has further strengthened the ties between Nigeria and the Republic of Niger. Mr. Kazaure, speaking on behalf of his fellow laureate, said that the award was a recognition of the enviable progress made by President Buhari. He thanked Mr. Gambari for organizing the reception in his honor. Read More Related News Here Let here it in the comment below if you do have an opinion on this; Gambari explains Buhari’s foreign policy mentality