Fayemi: Despite challenges, Nigeria has a duty to rescue neighbouring countries that need help

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Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti, says despite the challenges confronting Nigeria, the country has a duty to “rescue” neighbouring countries when such support is required.

Speaking on Thursday at an event organised by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in Lagos, Fayemi said the African continent is yearning for Nigeria’s leadership.

“I believe that the continent is yearning for the same type of leadership and visionary thinking that Nigeria and a few others had provided in previous moments of uncertainty and gloom,” he said.“Nigeria should not be so bogged down by its own internal challenges to the extent that it is therefore unable to rescue its less-privileged neighbours who always look up to her for help.

Let me be categorical in saying that despite our domestic challenges, we must not shirk our responsibilities towards our neighbours for it is when there is peace around us that we can truly enjoy peace and prosperity within our territory.”He also said Nigeria’s foreign policy is “reticent” because of the country’s inherent domestic problems.“Over recent years, in the face of acute and stubborn domestic challenges, Nigeria has adopted a less visible and activist presence on the African and global stages,” he said.

To be clear, this shift from a foreign policy activism to a foreign policy reticence is not, in my view, a result of a shift in core principles or the outcome of a change in doctrine.“The natural leadership position that various factors confer on the country remain relevant just as its prioritisation of Africa as a centerpiece of foreign policy continues to apply.

”According to Fayemi, Nigeria’s “activist” foreign policy saw it play “crucial roles” that led to the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) — now African Union (AU) — and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).“Foreign policy activism anchored on a sense of national purpose and a leadership preparedness to leverage the various natural endowments of the country saw Nigeria play crucial roles in the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity – OAU and the formation of what has become the foremost regional bloc – ECOWAS even before then,” the governor said.

“It was also foreign policy activism that saw Nigeria championing a role for itself and other medium powers in the quest for a more stable and equitable global order.”

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