Nigeria’s Policy of Non-Alignment and Voting in the United Nations General Assembly, 1960-1965

  • EA Ifidon


Two traditions of analysis exist with regard to the nature and expression of non-alignment in Nigeria’s foreign policy between 1960 and 1965. The tradition that dates from the early 1960s concludes that Nigeria’s foreign policy towards the Cold War was independent and non-aligned, and the post-war tradition is that Nigeria was ‘aligned’. Both traditions adduce as evidence for their opposing verdicts Nigeria’s voting pattern in the United Nations General Assembly between 1960 and 1965. Yet no thoroughgoing quantitative analysis of Nigeria’s pattern of voting in the General Assembly,both in individual and relative terms, has been undertaken. But  can the same piece of evidence at the same time support such opposing conclusions? This paper responds to this problematic by first reviewing Nigeria’s policy toward the United Nations, and analysing the pattern of Nigeria’s voting on Cold War issues in the General Assembly. It employed the Lijphart method of computing Indices of Agreement of roll-call votes, taking account of abstentions, and arranged these indices in matrices anchored on groups of possibly caucusing states. The result is that the coincidence of Nigeria’s pattern of voting was minimal with those of the superpowers, but highly related to the voting patterns of the ‘radical’ African states and putative non-aligned states. This strengthens the conclusion that Nigeria acted as the administration said it would: independent and not routinely identifying with either of the superpowers.

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eISSN: 1597-3778
print ISSN: 1597-3778