Africa’s key relationship – S Africa’s and Nigeria’s history of rivalry

Africa Sustainable Conservation News

South African Institute of International Affairs

By  Oladiran Bello and Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari        

               
Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Olugbenga Ashiru welcomes President Jacob Zuma to Nigeria during his state visit in April 2013            Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Olugbenga Ashiru welcomes President Jacob Zuma to Nigeria during his state visit in April 2013    © GCIS

Since the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994, Pretoria’s relationship with Nigeria has been a mix of rivalry, tension and cooperation. The pattern of interaction has oscillated from President Mandela’s principled stance against General Sani Abacha’s dictatorship in the late 1990s, to close and effective engagement between Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo during the last decade. Under Presidents Jacob Zuma and Goodluck Jonathan, relations reached a low-point with the two continental powers unable to reach agreement on the chairmanship of the African Union Commission in 2012.

President Zuma’s working visit to Nigeria in April this year, followed by President Jonathan’s state visit to South…

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