SOURCE: Bradford Associates

March 20, 2015 22:35 ET

Bradford Associates: President Goodluck Jonathan Secures Nigeria's Place in the Modern World

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Mar 20, 2015) - The leading economy on any continent is typically also a political and foreign policy powerhouse with a responsibility for demonstrating leadership and becoming engaged with challenges from outside their borders to protect their own citizens and to make the region in which they are situated a better and more just place.

Nigeria under President Goodluck Jonathan's stewardship is just such a power and as a consequence has faced a multiplicity of challenges ranging from sabotage of oil and energy related infrastructure, kidnapping and ransom (K&R) activity in the Niger Delta to extremist terror group Boko Haram operating in the North-East of the country, seeking to prop up their profile by declaring loyalty to middle eastern movement known as ISIS.

President Goodluck Jonathan on taking office moved swiftly to take control of the situation. By offering amnesty to militants in the river delta combined with re-education and training opportunities to constructively enter society the worst excesses of the violence was curbed1 Repeated sabotage on pipelines run by Italy's ENI and Shell were analysed as having an economic cost of some $243 million in 2013 alone2.

Much of the domestic turmoil led to a decision to postpone the original date for the 2015 Presidential election to March 28th, 2015 due to security risks. Opposition leader Buhari, a former military officer and part of a 1980s government known for political arrests and other activities is also being investigated in Europe for his potential role in catalysing political violence after the 2011 election where he lost to the sitting President Goodluck Jonathan3.

The terror group Boko Haram came to international prominence after their kidnap of over 200 female schoolchildren in April 2014 from a school in Borno state4. After some offers of international assistance and widespread condemnation the issue outside of Nigeria disappeared from the world's attention. The President and his administration realized early on the importance of working with neighboring countries in a unified manner to deal with an issue affecting them collectively leading to the President indicating in the past few days that, "I believe that the story of the Chibok girls will be better, now that we are working with Niger, Cameroon and Chad."5

Underpinning these successes have been the investments in improving the capabilities of the Nigerian armed forces as an important regional peace and security player. From participation in the peacekeeping force known as ECOWAS to modernizing the Navy the policy moves are improving security and enabling defence diplomacy at a high level to occur(6). To conclude although international headlines emphasize current concerns with extremist groups the steady and consistent work of President Goodluck Jonathan's administration is delivering greater security through a combination of diplomacy and enhancement of military capability to protect the economic and political strength of the Nigerian nation.

1 Council on Foreign Relations, Nigeria's battle for stability (March 2012)
2 The Guardian, Nigeria Loses U.S.$243 Million to Oil Theft, Pipeline Sabotage (Aug 27th 2014)
3 Foreign Policy (Feb 26th, 2015) "Beware Former Dictators Calling Themselves 'Converted Democrats'"
5 CBS News, (Mar 18th, 2015) Nigeria military: Fate of 219 kidnapped schoolgirls still a mystery
6 CIMSEC (Oct 10, 2013) Nigeria's Navy: Setting sail in stormy seas

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