How and Why the President of Nigeria Has Recently Aligned with Western Powers

Why the west engages with Nigeria

The activities associated with Boko Haram, a terrorist group, began escalating in 2009 and have continued to get worse to date. The United States believes that this terror group wants to expand. They believe that it is working with international terror organisations such as Al-Qaida or Al-Shabaab. Owing to the diffuse nature of their attacks, it is still not possible to validate these claims. Now Boko Haram is classified by Washington as a foreign terrorist group (Walker, 2012).

The Nigerian President has responded to this terror threat through the declaration of a state of emergency that ended in 14th May 2014. Debates are continuing on whether to extend this status again. The head of state has thus been relying on force to quell the insurgence. This strategy appears not to be working because Boko Haram has acquired better weapons and has even greater numbers. Goodluck Jonathan is thus engaging with the West in order to get external reinforcement to fight this terror group (Campbell, 2012).

One should note that the history of President Goodluck’s election is one that illustrates a strong association with the West. Diplomatic relations between the US and Nigeria have largely focused on the Christian South. Furthermore, during the election of the West African President, some campaign advertisements showed the candidate standing alongside Barack Obama above the slogan “Yes we can sir”. Many therefore think of Goodluck as a western pawn. He appears to have been courted by Washington; to further augment this perception, Goodluck has visited the United States twice and was received by President Obama. The US’s support for the 2011 elections also shows that Goodluck and the West have been in good terms. Despite the controversy surrounding those elections, the US still insists on calling them legitimate (Campbell, 2013).

The West has a stake in keeping Nigeria together because a schism in the nation could lead to a humanitarian disaster. A split would also destabilise other countries in the region because many of them are weak and dependant on Nigeria. The West therefore has a lot to lose if Nigeria continues on a downward spiral (Bush and Saine, 2014).

This link between Nigeria and the US is tied to its resources. The country is the fifth largest supplier of oil to the latter nation. Unlike other suppliers, Nigerian oil gets to the US directly without passing through the complicated Gulf region. Even production limits set by OPEC have not influenced Nigeria’s production capacity. This has insulated the US from oil shocks that emanate from political volatility in the Gulf region. Further still, the quality of its product is worth mentioning. Most Nigerian oil is not laden with impurities, so minimal refining is necessary. For these strategic reasons, when the Nigerian President called attention to the political instability and security challenges in his country, the US had no choice but to engage with him in order to secure their oil supplies (Sergie and Johnson, 2014).

How negotiations take place

Whenever President Good luck Jonathan engages with the West, he often approaches it using a systematic approach. This implies that he rarely does any negotiation under duress, and most times, the process is slow, conscious and reasoned. For instance, on 23rd September 2013, he visited the United States to meet with President Obama. In the visit, he planned to have three bilateral meetings in the city of New York. His main agenda was to talk about politics and terrorism in his country. After meeting with the Obama administration three times, the final meeting culminated in a speech made to the public. This implies that he often does not hurry through the negotiation and focuses on one or two primary agendas. The different schedules placed in the schedule were designed to tackle different topics such that there would be no duress………