• Idowu JOHNSON


Nigeria, Hegemony, Leadership, ECOWAS, Peace


Nigeria’s hegemonic role in ECOWAS has been influenced by her territorial size, abundant resources, thriving economy and military capability.  Hegemony as a concept within the context of international relations is an indirect form of state dominance in a geopolitical environment.  In line with her Afrocentric foreign policy initiative, Nigeria wants to be a leader, not only in West Africa, but also in Africa and of the black race worldwide.  The oil factor has greatly influenced the political economy of Nigeria in a way that has empowered her to play a leadership and dynamic role in ECOWAS.  The paper argued that Nigeria’s engagements at the sub-regional level in maintaining political stability has greatly strengthened her hegemonic power in West Africa. It is evident that, Nigeria, through her hegemonic role, imposed order in the sub-region as was done in the 20th century in Liberia and Sierra Leone.  However, the quality of leadership role in ECOWAS seems to be declining in comparison with the 1990s when Nigeria played active role in restoring peace in West Africa.  In this Fourth Republic, Nigeria has wrestled with internal instability, corruption and political economy of violence.  This has been compounded with challenges of terrorism in West Africa. The future of ECOWAS depends on sustainability of Nigeria as a sub-regional hegemon. The paper concludes that the success of Nigeria in maintaining her hegemonic status in ECOWAS must be measured in her capacity to solve her domestic problems, integrate the region economically and to sustain peace in West Africa.   


Adamu, M. (1992). An Analysis of Nigeria’s Commitment to Integration in the Economic Community of West African States. Unpublished M.Sc Thesis, Bayero University, Kano.

Adebayo, A. (2010). “Pax Nigeriana: Nigeria’s Claim to Play a Leadership Role in Global R2Pâ€, Responsibility to Protect, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 414-435.

Alli, W.O. (2010). “The Changing Environment of Nigeria’s Foreign Policyâ€, in O.C. Eze (Ed.), Beyond 50 Years of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy: Issues, Challenges and Prospects. Lagos: Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.

Alli, W.O. (2012). The Role of Nigeria in Regional Security Policy. Abuja: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

Amuwo, K. (2014). Nigeria’s Continental Diplomatic Thrusts: The Limits of Africa’s Nominally Biggest Economy. South Africa Institute of International Affairs Policy Briefing III.

Bamali, N. (2009). “Redefining Nigeria’s Interest and Commitments in Peace Support Operationsâ€, in B. Akinferinwa (Ed.), Nigeria’s National Interests in a Globalizing World: Further Reflections on Constructive and Beneficial Concentricism (Volume Three: Nigeria’s National Interests Beyond Nigeria. Ibadan: Bolytag International Publishers.

Bassey, C. and Nyong, M. (2012). “Nigeria and ECOWAS in the 21st Century: Challenges and Prospects of Meaningful Sub-Regional Integrationâ€, in T.A. Imobighe and W.O. Alli (Eds.), Perspectives on Nigeria’s National and External Relations: Essays in Honour of Professor A. Bolaji Akinyemi. Ibadan: University Press.

Bassey, C.O. (2011). “The Challenge of Military Statecraft in Nigeriaâ€, in C.O. Bassey and O.O. Dokubo (Eds.), Defence Policy of Nigeria: Capability and Context, A Reader. Bloomington: Author House.

Bossuyt, J. (2016). Political Economy of Regional Integration in Africa: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Report. http://ecdpm/peria/ecwas.

Cilliers, J. et al (2015). Power and Influence in Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa. Netherland: Institute of Social Studies.

Danjuma, I.A. (2014). “National Security and the Challenges of Terrorism in Nigeriaâ€, in C.N. Nwoke and O. Oche (Eds.), Contemporary Challenges in Nigeria, Africa and the World. Lagos: NIIA.

Destradi, S. (2010). “Regional Powers and their Strategies: Empire, Hegemony, and Leadershipâ€, Review of International Studies, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 903-930.

Hartmann, A. (2017). “ECOWAS and the Restoration of Democracy in Gambiaâ€, Africa Spectrum, Vol. 52, No 1, pp. 85-99.

Hulse, M. (2016). Regional Powers and Leadership in Regional Institutions: Nigeria in ECOWAS and South Africa in SADC. KFG Working Paper, No. 76. Freie Universtat Berlin.

Ibn Chambas, M. (2005). The ECOWAS Agenda: Promoting Good Governance, Peace, Stability and Sustainable Development. Lagos: NIIA,

Ikenberry, G.J. (2011). Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Keohane, R.O. (1980). “The Theory of Hegemonic Stability and Changes in International Economic Regimes, 1967-1977â€, in O.R. Holsti et al (Eds.), Change in the International System. Boulder: Westview Press.

Keohane, R.O. (1984). After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Kindleberger, C.P. (1973). The World in Depression: 1929-1939. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.

Layne, C. (2006). The Peace of Illusions: American Grand Strategy from 1940 to the Present. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) (2011). Submission to the Conference on the Review of Nigerian Foreign Policy, Organized by the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) in Collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Conference Hall, MFA, Abuja.

Nolte, D. (2007). How to Compare Regional Powers: Analytical Concepts and Research Topics. Hamburg: German Institute of Global and Area Studies.

Nolte, D. (2010). “How to Compare Regional Powers: Analytical Concepts and Research Topicsâ€, Review of International Studies, Vol. 28, No. 4, pp. 677 – 696.

Oche, O. (2010). Prospects for Enhanced Regional Integration in the ECOWAS, in O.C. Eze (Ed.), Beyond 50 Years of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy: Issues, Challenges and Prospects. Lagos: Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.

Ogunnubi, O. and Uzodike, O. (2015). “South Africa’s Foreign Policy and the Strategy of Soft Powerâ€, South African Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 22, No 1, pp. 23-41.

Ogunsanwo, A. (2015). Selected Essays on Politics and International Relations. Lagos: Concept Publications Ltd.

Ojekwe, A.A. (2010). Peacekeeping in West Africa: An Analysis of Nigeria’s Roles, 1990-2005. ETD Collection for Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library.

Omede, A.J. (2006). “Nigeria’s Relations with Her Neighboursâ€, Stud. Tribes Tribals, Vol. 4. No. 1.

Omo-Oghebor, D.O. (2017). “Nigerian Foreign Policy Approach Towards ECOWASâ€, International Journal of Human Sciences, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 4015-4022.

Osondu, M.O. (2015). “Membership in the Multilateral Economic Organizations: An Evaluation of Nigeria’s Participation in ECOWAS (1985-2014)â€, International Journal of Development and Management Review, Vol. 10.

Osuntokun, J. (2013). “A Hegemon in a Peripheral Region: The Future of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy – 2â€, The Nation. Lagos, April 11.

Rourke, J.T. (2005). International Politics on the World Stage: New York: McGraw-Hill.

Sabadi, I.S. and F.C. Onuoha (2012). “Nigeria and South Africa: Competition or Cooperationâ€, in T.A. Imobighe and W.O. Alli (Eds.), Perspectives on Nigeria’s National and External Relations: Essays in Honour of Professor A. Bolaji Akinyemi. Ibadan: University Press.

Schmidt, B.C. (2018). Hegemony: A Conceptual and Theoretical Analysis. Berlin: Dialogue of Civilization Research Institute.