The study examine sport diplomacy and Nigerian foreign policy in Nigeria between 2011 -2018.
Descriptive technique using quantitative analysis method was adopted and 100 workers at the Federal ministry of foreign affairs, Abuja was selected as respondents.
Findings revealed that the level of progress in sport diplomacy in Nigeria in the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan (2011-2015) and President Muhamadu Buhari (2015-2019).
The study concludes that the level of progress in sport diplomacy in Nigeria in the administration. Respondents agreed that sport diplomacy was used for strengthening international relations, boosting countries image and shape Nigeria’s foreign relations during the administration of the two presidents.
The following recommendations are made: Government should further embark on an active campaign for Nigeria to utilize sports diplomacy in the pursuit of national interest in Africa and globally; Nigeria should build more support for its athletes as this will build their profile and avoid switching of nationalities by athletes due to frustrations; Nigeria’s Ministry of sports should embark on the challenge of using sports in marginalized areas within Nigeria and also work with ministry of interior to use sports in other states with conflicts so as to achieve the Nigeria’s objective of promoting peace.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigerian Foreign policy practice has been in the making shortly before the country’s independence (Owusu, 2014). Although, it took an African centered dimension since independence, but has maintained good international relations with other nations and world powers through various unifying factors such as sport, education, culture, religion etc. according to Owusu (2014), Nigerian foreign policy has been characterised by a focus on Africa as a regional power and by attachment to several fundamental principles: African unity and independence; capability to exercise hegemonic influence in the region: peaceful settlement of disputes; non-alignment and non-intentional interference in the internal affairs of other nations; and regional economic cooperation and development. In carrying out these principles, Nigeria participates in the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Non-Aligned Movement, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the United Nations.
Specifically, sports has been a major tool that has shaped Nigerian foreign relation, this led to the curiosity of the researcher on the need to examine sport diplomacy and Nigerian foreign policy (Keech & Houlihan, 2009). Sports Diplomacy has emerged as an integral part of efforts to build ever-strengthening relations between nations (Keech & Houlihan, 2009). Sports diplomacy uses the universal passion for sports as a way to transcend linguistic and sociocultural differences and bring people together. Participation in sports teaches leadership, teamwork, and communication skills that help young people succeed in all areas of their lives (Dorsey, 2014). Sports diplomacy exchanges increase dialogue and cultural understanding between people around the world. The use of sports as a platform exposes international exchange participants to numerous culture while providing them with an opportunity to establish links with global sports professionals and peers (McClancy, 2016). In turn, people learn about other cultures and the challenges young people from other countries face today. Sports diplomacy exchanges have involved tens of thousands of people from more than 100 countries to do just this.
Notably, sports diplomacy describes the use of sport as a means to influence foreign policy, social, and political relations. Sports diplomacy may transcend cultural differences and bring people together (Keys, 2016). The use of sports diplomacy has had both positive and negative implications over history. Sports competitions or activities have had the intention to bring about change in certain cases (Keys, 2016). Nationalistic fervour is sometimes linked to victories or losses to some sport on sports fields. While the Olympics is often the biggest political example of using sports for diplomatic means, cricket and association football, as well as other sports in the global arena, have also been used in this regard. In the case of Apartheid, sport was used to isolate South Africa and bring about a major overhaul in the country's social structure (Laverty, 2010). While ethnicity and race can cause division, sports can also help blend differences. Additionally, numerous athletes have sought political office, some of them unsuccessfully, on either the national level or the sub-national level (Laverty, 2010).
Furthermore, diplomacy is the act, institution and practice of conducting relations between or among states and between states and other actors. A country practices its diplomacy in the process of implementing the objectives of foreign policy. The most infamous declaration of sport diplomacy was the Football War between El Salvador and Honduras (De-Bosscher, 2013). Though the build-up to the war had to do with more socio-economic issues like immigration and land reform, the impetus for war was an inflammation of tensions set off by rioters during the second North American qualifying round for the 1970 FIFA World Cup (De-Bosscher, 2013).
In Nigeria, sports have been a unifying factor among the ethnic and religious groups. As a matter of fact sports are the only thing that have strongly and unshakably unite the people of Nigeria amidst disputes and clashes. Notably, football has united the people of Nigeria several times even in the midst of intertribal or inter religious disputes. Moreover subsequent government in Nigeria has continued to contributed in one way or the other to development of sport as a veritable tool for better foreign relations, although there is visibly poor development of the sport sector in Nigeria, but this research is examining sport diplomacy and Nigerian foreign relation in the administration of Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhamadu Buhari between 2011 and 2018.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Considering the emergence of contemporary issues of foreign policy in 21st century, the complexity of global environment of advancing international relations requires indicators such as sports diplomacy. In particular sports can and has been a useful tool of diplomacy that if well utilized can contribute to national prestige and image building of states.
However, the problem of concern bothers on the fact that Nigeria has made its foreign policy to solely cater for African issues and this position the nation has maintained since 1960 with nothing to gain in return. It is also obvious that despite numerous spending on the sport sectors in Nigeria, developing is still far from it comparatively with other nations. Factors such as sport have improved Nigeria’s diplomatic relations with non-African countries but the policy framework is still African-centered. Hence, the researcher is curious of ascertaining the relationship between sport diplomacy and Nigerian foreign policy between 2011 and 2018.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to analyze sport diplomacy and Nigerian foreign policy in the administration of Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhamadu Buhari between 2011 and 2018 while the following are the specific objectives:
- To investigate the level of progress in sport diplomacy in Nigeria in the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan (2011-2015)
- To examine the level of progress in sport diplomacy in Nigeria in the administration of President Muhamadu Buhari (2015-2018)
- To analyze the relationship between sport diplomacy and Nigerian foreign policy between 2011 and 2018
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the level of progress in sport diplomacy in Nigeria in the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan (2011-2015)?
- What is the level of progress in sport diplomacy in Nigeria in the administration of President Muhamadu Buhari (2015-2018)?
- What is the relationship between sport diplomacy and Nigerian foreign policy between 2011 and 2018?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
Findings from this study will be very useful to the government of Nigeria, policy makers, political stakeholders, sport managers and administrators, stakeholders in sport sectors and the general public on how the sport sector that be repositioned for connecting with and building better ties with other advanced nation of the world. It will also educate on the progress made by the administration of Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhamadu Buhari differently between 2011 and 2018.
This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of sport diplomacy and Nigerian foreign policy in the administration of Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhamadu Buhari between 2011 and 2018, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area
Methodology is part of the research that shows the ways and approaches of collecting the data (Oliver, 2004). This research is primarily qualitative as it is based on the sport diplomacy and Nigerian foreign policy in the administration of Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhamadu Buhari between 2011 and 2018. The reason for choosing the qualitative analysis strategy is the exploratory and the qualitative nature of study. According to Robson (1993), flexibility is always the main strength of the case study strategy in terms of interpretation and getting access to the specified places. The research is a based on secondary data. We used document analysis/content analysis as main method of data collection. Document analysis/content analysis also called “textual analysis” (Travers, 2001) in the study will include all kinds of academic articles, textual and multi-media products, ranging from television programmes to web sites on the internet
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will cover sport diplomacy and Nigerian foreign policy in the administration of Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhamadu Buhari between 2011 and 2018. It will also cover the relationship between sport diplomacy and foreign policy in Nigeria. This two administrations is considered crucial to this research because they are the most recent regime in Nigeria that can offer latest information about the sport sector.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Sport diplomacy: this is the use of sporting activities as a tool in building better foreign relation between the nations of the world
Foreign policy: a government's strategy in dealing with other nations
This research is organized into five different chapters. The first chapter, which is the general introduction, forms the preliminary aspect of the work. It familiarizes potential readers with the whole work and constitutes a foundational framework upon which the entire work is built. The chapter contains background of the study, the research problem, objectives of the study, research question(s), significance(s) of the study, methodology and the scope of the study.
Chapter two of this project presents the literature review. This is where past studies that are related, relevant and applicable to the present study are appraised. It contains the introduction, theoretical framework and empirical review.
The third chapter presents the Overview of Sport Diplomacy and Nigerian Foreign Policy. It reviewed the Sport Diplomacy concept, Nigerian Foreign Policy, Sport Diplomacy and Foreign policy and Sport diplomacy in Africa.
Chapter of this work contains the analysis of Sport Diplomacy and Nigerian Foreign Policy (2011-2018). It reveals the details on Sport Diplomacy and Nigerian Foreign Policy (2011-2015), Sport Diplomacy and Nigerian Foreign Policy (2011-2015), Factors limiting sport diplomacy in Nigeria and Consequences of sport diplomacy in Nigeria.
The last chapter of this project which is chapter five represents the concluding chapter. It contains the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations.