The issue of Nigeria’s joining the New Paradigm has once again been raised, through the question of its membership in the world’s fastest-growing multilateral organization, the BRICS. Under the headline, “Nigeria Wants to Be Part of BRICS Bloc in Two Years, Join G20,” Bloomberg News runs comments by Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Yusuf Tuggar, who “stated that the country will join every group that is open if the intentions are good, well-meaning, and clearly defined,” according to the financial watchdog.
Tuggar’s optimistic comments were that, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be, being multiple aligned [sic] is in our best interest. We need to belong to groups like BRICS, like the G20 and all these other ones, because if there’s a certain criterion, say the largest countries in terms of population and economy should belong, then why isn’t Nigeria part of it?” Nigeria is expected to become the world’s fourth most-populous country by 2050.
If true, this would be a tremendous victory for Africa and a long overdue “eating of crow” for the very Anglophile Tinubu administration (and might also explain what prompted Bloomberg’s panicked holiday phone call). Tinubu did not even attend the August BRICS summit in South Africa, opting to send his Vice President Kashim Shettima in his stead. At the time, there was a public disagreement as to whether Nigeria had actually applied for membership, with Nigeria appearing on at least one published list of “applicants” for the August meeting. Not only was Shettima forced to deny this in August, but the internal conflict endured even into September, when the administration was finally compelled to issue a public statement confirming, “We have not applied to BRICS contrary to speculations out there. We have made no application to BRICs or the G20 as of today.”
Also notable is that the statements made today were made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and not the Minister of Finance. While they cannot be considered official Nigerian policy, there is reason to be optimistic that the continent’s most-populous nation is further pulling away from the London-centered tack which it has been on since Tinubu’s May 2023 inauguration.