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ABSTRACT It is usually argued that while Nigeria’s foreign policy under the administration of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was ‘aligned’, under the military administrations that succeeded it, it was non-aligned. The notion of non-alignment usually employed to sustain this conclusion is the equidistant: that Nigeria ought to have maintained equal distance between the Soviet Union and the United States. This notion is not only idealistic, the conclusion, particularly as it pertains to the Balewa administration, erected on it is far-fetched. The paper suggests the deployment of a historically informed perspective by which the conception of non-alignment adopted should be that projected by these administrations; in this case, non-alignment was a diplomatic strategy for the preservation and enhancement of Nigeria’s sovereignty in the face of the imperialism of the Cold War powers. However, even though there has been a continuity of official meaning for non-alignment, its actual manifestation between 1960 and 1979 has been dependent more on the personality of the particular head of state and the perception of rather than actual or objective factors as the strength of the economy. It thus appears valid to conclude that the level of assertiveness of Nigeria’s international behaviour corresponded to the degree of assertiveness of the personality of Nigeria’s heads of state. READ Ifidon- Non-Alignment2013
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