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This study examines the interface between the Commonwealth integration and
Nigerian foreign policy. The thrust of the study however is to ascertain whether
the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria has significantly impacted on Nigeria’s
Common-wealth economic relations. The study also investigates the extent to
which the frameworks of democracy have enabled the Commonwealth impact on
social welfare in Nigeria. Relying on Dependency theory derived from the
political economy paradigm which focuses on the socio-economic dynamics of
metropolitan and peripheral countries the study argues that the developing
countries are still tied to the apron string of their former imperial master in a more
subtle manner than was the case during the period of naked and direct colonialism,
and as such, the benefits of international economic relations between the two sets
of countries are distributed asymmetrically in favour of the metropolitan countries.
This continued asymmetry in the distribution of benefits, the study maintains,
forms a basically exploitative relationship between the dominant and dependent
states. Adopting observational technique and depending on secondary sources,
relevant data were generated and analyzed. On the basis of this, the study unveiled
that though the frameworks of democracy have positively improved the
Commonwealth – Nigeria relations, such have neither enhanced significantly the
economic relations with Nigeria nor contributed in improving social welfare of the
citizenry. Therefore, granting that the Commonwealth of Nations comprise
sovereign countries that use the framework of the organization to pursue their
national interest unmindful of the interest of other members, the study maintains
that the developing member countries of the Commonwealth should synchronize
their interests and as such foster and enhance relations among them also.


1.1 Introduction
Historically, the Commonwealth was an evolutionary outgrowth of the British
Empire. However, though the evolution of the organization started in 1867 when
Canada attained dominion status, it was rather in 1931 when the statute of
Westminster was passed that the organization was known as the British
Commonwealth of Nations (Osuntokun, 2001: 56).
The Commonwealth of Nations is a free association of sovereign states
comprising Great Britain and a number of its former dependencies who had chosen to
maintain ties of friendship and practical cooperation and who acknowledged the
British Monarch as the symbolic head of their association. Thus, the ties that bind the
Commonwealth are highly diverse. Blood ties provide sentimental attachments to
Britain while common judicial and educational systems as well as the use of the
English Language as official language provide strong ties for others. These ties were
further cemented and strengthened by trade and investment, currency agreements,

population, migrations and sports. The informal links between the countries of the
Commonwealth were further consolidated when in 1965 a Commonwealth Secretariat
was established in London and a lean bureaucracy was developed to assist the
Secretary-General of the Commonwealth in responding to questions of peace,
democracy and development, particularly in the developing member countries in
Asia, Pacific, Africa and the Caribbean. Therefore, what began as Great Britain and
the white dominions has gradually metamorphosed into a multiracial Commonwealth
of fifty-four nations and territories.
Nigeria, upon attaining political independence in 1960, automatically and
almost naturally acceded to the Commonwealth of Nations, and in 1963 became a
republic within the Commonwealth of Nations also. Since then, the Commonwealth
of Nations has played significant roles particularly in helping Nigeria to preserve her
territorial integrity. Nigeria, due to her Commonwealth ties generously received
technical support from Canada and the United Kingdom. The Commonwealth
Development Corporation also has substantial investment in Nigeria. On the other
hand, Nigeria, as a result of vast financial resources coming from petroleum also
began to extend financial support to some indigent Commonwealth countries in the
Caribbean. The country, within the same period, also increased the number of
scholarships available to Commonwealth students in her universities (Ogwu,

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