119 and significantly address the enormous

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119 and significantly address the enormous developmental challenges facing the sub-region. Nigeria, as its principal financier, must guide it rightly to realize this cardinal objective. ConclusionThis chapter has examined the role of Nigeria in the formation of ECOWAS as well as its engagement with the regional organization over the last three decades. Nigeria’s efforts at establishing this veritable organization and the sacrifices it has made to fund and sustain its activities demonstrate not only its status as a regional power but also its commitment to promoting mutual self-reliance and socio-economic development in the sub-region. ECOWAS has recorded many outstanding achievements including freedom of movement of persons, residence and establishment; innovative Peace-keeping initiatives as well as institution-building. Nigeria’s leadership andits commitment to the sub-regional organization made these achievements possible. But ECOWAS is also being confronted with gargantuan problems in the areas of trade liberalization, monetary union, infrastructural as well as human development. These are equally Nigeria’s problems. In the face of rising, regional and developmental challenges, Nigeria must get play its destined role in leading ECOWAS. The promotion of regional integration has remained a cardinal principle of Nigeria’s foreign policy since independence, giving rise to one of the major achievements of Nigeria’s global engagement the formation of ECOWAS. The fact that ECOWAS itself was formed during the terminal year of General Gowon’s military regime and that key achievements including the formation of ECOMOG and attempts to restore democracy in Liberia and Sierra Leone were recorded under the military leadership of General Babangida and General Abacha, indicate that despite the enormity of its socio-economic and political problems, Nigeria has endeavoured to play a crucial role in promoting regional development in West Africa. The country’s strategic leadership role will however depend on a number of factors. First, Nigeria will need to have a well-articulated West African agenda, with clear goals and objectives that will safeguard the development of the nation and the socio-economic wellbeing of the entire sub-region. Second, for Nigeria to exercise true leadership in the sub-region, it must begin to shore up its moral capital in the sub-region by developing a dynamic democratic culture and safeguarding the integrity of its governance and socio-economic institutions. Third, Nigeria must realize that the exercise of leadership requires effective engagement with other countries of the sub-region and develop effective partnerships to re-engineer and refocus the activities of ECOWAS on infrastructural and human development in order to garner a respectable place for the nation and indeed for the generality of Nigerians: a pride of place in the affairs of the sub-region.
120 ReferencesAdedeji, Adebayo 1984, “Collective Self

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