Nigeria and the Liberation of Africa
Upon gaining independence in 1960, Nigeria quickly committed itself to improving the lives of the people of the country and harnessing the resources that remain vital to the economy of the country and her neighbours. By observing at what benefits and appropriate for the country, Nigeria became one of the founding members of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), which later became the African Union. The Organisation for African Unity checks political stability of any African countries and encourages them to be holding regional meetings for the union.
Nigeria backed the African National Congress (ANC) by taking a committed tough line with regard to the South African government and their military actions in southern Africa. Nigeria and Organisation for African Unity (OAU, now the African Union), has tremendous influence in West Africa nations and Africa on the whole. Nigeria has additionally founded regional cooperative efforts in West Africa, functioning as standard-bearer for ECOWAS and ECOMOG, economic and military organisations, respectively.
Similarly, when civil war broke out in Angola after the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975, Nigeria mobilised its diplomatic influence in Africa in support of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). That support helped tip the balance in their favour, which led to OAU recognition of the MPLA over the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola.
Nigeria extended diplomatic support to another cause, Sam Nujoma’s Southwest Africa People’s Organization in Namibia, to stall the apartheid South African-installed government there. In 1977, the new General Olusegun Obasanjo’s military regime donated $20 million to the Zimbabwean movement against the apartheid government of Rhodesia.
Nigeria also sent military equipment to Mozambique to help the newly independent country suppress the South African-backed Mozambican National Resistance guerrillas. Nigeria also provided some military training at the Kaduna first mechanised army division and other material support to Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe’s guerrilla forces during the Zimbabwe War in 1979 against the white minority rule of Prime Minister Ian Douglas Smith, which was backed by the apartheid -government of South Africa.
Due to mismanagement of its economy and technology, Nigeria announced that it was launching a nuclear programme of “unlimited scope” of its own but failed. After the Nigerian Independence in 1960, Nigeria demonstrated its seriousness in improving the economy for the people and embarked on nationalizing some multi-national companies that traded with and broke the economic/trade embargo of the apartheid South African regime, the local operations of Barclays Bank was nationalised after that bank ignored the strong protests by the Nigeria populace.
Nigeria also nationalised the British Petroleum (BP) for supplying oil to South Africa. In 1982, the Alhaji Shehu Shagari government urged the visiting Pontiff Pope John Paul II to grant audience to the leaders of Southern Africa guerrilla organisations Oliver Tambo of the ANC and Sam Nujoma of SWAPO. In December 1983, the new Major General Muhammadu Buhari regime announced that Nigeria could no longer afford an apartheid government in Africa.