Department of History and International Studies
University of Uyo, Uyo, Nigeria
Oil is a strategic mineral that all nations in the international system depend for economic growth and development. But oil is not evenly endowed and this implies that not all nations possess it. The few nations that have oil are supposed to be powerful and influential because majority of nations depend on them. Power that is derived from oil should convey on oil states a situation of robust state capacity which is ability of states to achieve their domestic and international goals. State capacity is without doubt the pillar upon which rests international leadership of nations. Nigeria is one of the countries that have oil in excellent quality and quantity; in fact, it is the largest producer of oil in Africa and the sixth largest in the world. This should make the country a regional leader in Africa and indeed in the Southern Hemisphere. In the twentieth century, Nigeria exhibited regional leadership quality on account of oil; especially in Africa. But since the twenty-first century, observable decline is experienced in its leadership aspirations. This paper examines the intricate relationship between oil, state capacity and Nigeria’s quest for sustained regional leadership. The thesis of the paper is that a monocultural economy based on oil weakens state capacity and has the propensity to trigger hegemonic decline for Nigeria in its international leadership position.