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The reforms at home and aspiration to or actual leadership of the continent are two
factors that shape the current phase of NigeriaSouth Africa political and diplomatic
relations. The character of Nigeria-South Africa relations changed with the
commencement of multiracial democracy based on universal adult suffrage in South
Africa and the return to civilian rule in Nigeria. Consequently, the moralistic-idealistic
fight against racism and military rule which tended to guide Nigeria’s relations with
South Africa during the apartheid regimes in South Africa, and military rules in Nigeria
have been relegated and there is now an increasing harmony of interest conditioned by
political, economic, and social forces. However, consolidating the new democracies
require a certain demonstration of commitment to the values that drive it not only at the
level of internal politics of the transitional states and their bilateral relations but also in
their multilateral diplomacy. In that regard, multilateral framework and institutions such
as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the African Union (AU),
and the United Nations Organization (UNO) offer platforms for the transitional states in
Africa to demonstrate this commitment. It is the context presented by these institutions
that Nigeria and South Africa explore at any given conjuncture in their competition and
cooperation for the advancement of their national interests. Thus, the promotion of
common interest in multilateral context creates need for cooperation on one hand, while
the drive to offer continental leadership on the other hand create competitive relations
between Nigeria and South Africa. Premised on these assertions therefore, this study set
out to investigate the dynamics of national interest on the contemporary phase of Nigeria South Africa relations. As an analytical tool, the study employs the Political Economy
approach which highlights the primacy of material condition. Hence, the study further
interrogates the link between economic factor and ethnic conflicts in Nigeria and South
Africa. Based on this, we discover that competition for scarce resources is a common
factor in Nigeria and South Africa. In both countries, ethnic communities violently
compete for properties, jobs, education, healthcare facilities, and right. It therefore
follows that Nigeria and South Africa are experiencing distributional conflicts. Though
the South African economy is not very healthy; they still have a highly developed
financial system, fairly efficient telecommunication infrastructure, power supply, good
road network and a system of public administration, which is afflicted by patronage and
corruption but still delivers to the population. In Nigeria, majority of the population are
yet to feel the impact of the oil revenue because of corruption, discrimination, and
economic mismanagement. Additionally, ethnicity, lack of good road network, unstable
power and water supply overshadows life in the Africa’s most populous country.
We have no claim that much of the material in this work represents new or original
thinking on our part .The material was developed from various sources and well-known
authorities on the subject. While preparing the work, references were taken from wellknown literatures, books, journals, and websites as our secondary sources of information.

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