Nigeria: BRICS or West, Maybe West and BRICS Simultaneously?

Bamigboye Akinola Author and Columnist
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BRICS or West, Maybe West and BRICS Simultaneously?

In the global political and economic arena, nations often find themselves at crossroads, having to make choices that will shape their future for decades. One such choice facing Nigeria is whether it can simultaneously work with Western nations and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries. The question is not just about feasibility but also about the implications of such a decision. So, why can’t Nigeria walk this dual path? Is there a rulebook that forbids it? And what’s stopping Nigeria from joining the BRICS?

Historical Ties with the West

Nigeria, like many African nations, has deep-rooted historical ties with the West, primarily due to colonization. Post-independence, these ties transformed into economic, political, and military partnerships. Western nations, especially the UK and the US, have been significant trade partners, sources of foreign direct investment, and crucial allies in international diplomacy for Nigeria.

Emergence of the BRICS

On the other hand, the BRICS nations represent the rising powers of the 21st century. Their combined economic might and increasing influence in global affairs make them an attractive bloc for many countries seeking to diversify their international partnerships. Nigeria, with its vast resources and strategic position in West Africa, is naturally of interest to the BRICS.

Why Not Both?

In theory, there’s no rule that stops Nigeria from working with both the West and the BRICS. International relations are not a zero-sum game. Countries routinely engage in multiple partnerships, often with nations that might be rivals to each other. For Nigeria, working with both blocs could mean access to a broader market, more significant investment opportunities, and a more substantial voice in global affairs.

However, in practice, things might be a bit more complicated. The West and the BRICS, while not outright adversaries, have different worldviews, priorities, and interests. For instance, while Western nations might push for reforms in areas like human rights, governance, and environmental standards, the BRICS nations might prioritize economic cooperation without many strings attached. Aligning with both could put Nigeria in a position where it might have to make tough choices.

Joining the BRICS: A Bridge Too Far?

The idea of Nigeria joining the BRICS, turning it into BRICSN, is tantalizing. But there are challenges. First, the BRICS is not just an economic group but also a political alliance. Each member has a strong economy, a significant regional influence, and a global voice. While Nigeria is undoubtedly a powerhouse in West Africa, it would need to bolster its economic indicators to match the BRICS standards.

Secondly, the BRICS nations have longstanding relationships among themselves. Nigeria would need to navigate these intricate relationships, ensuring it doesn’t upset the existing balance.

Lastly, joining such a group would require Nigeria to make certain commitments and adjustments in its foreign policy, which might not always align with its national interests or its commitments to other international groups.


In conclusion, while there’s no written rule that stops Nigeria from working with both the West and the BRICS, practical challenges exist. It’s a tightrope walk, balancing the interests, expectations, and priorities of both sides. As for joining the BRICS, while the idea is attractive, Nigeria would need to weigh the benefits against the potential challenges and adjustments required.

However, in the ever-evolving landscape of international relations, one thing is clear: Nigeria, with its vast potential and strategic position, will play a crucial role in shaping the future of global affairs. Whether it chooses the West, the BRICS, or both, the decision will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on its destiny in the 21st century.