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Journal of International Studies (JIS) Vol. 14, 2018

States’ Attitude to International Boundaries and Africa’s Challenging Integration: CUES from Pre-1945 Europe

Ariyo Sunday Aboyade
Department of Political Science and International Studies
College of Social and Management Sciences
Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria

Abstract | Full Text

Since the 1960s, African states have sought ways to overcome the challenges of economic and political integration through the establishment and promotion of regional and subregional organizations across the continent. The different efforts have yielded very modest success altogether. However, it appears that Africans are the architect of the continent’s low level of integration. Africa’s nationalist approach to international boundaries coupled with the inclination and disposition towards economic nationalism with regards to neighbouring states has been identified as the major impediments to the process of integration in the continent. By adopting content analysis approach, this paper explores the nexus between the state’s attitude to international boundaries and regional integration. This paper analyses how European’s attitude to international boundaries and the resulting trans-boundary cooperation between and among the different groups of European states before 1945 was instrumental to the historic success of integration in post-1945 Europe. It further looks into the pre-1945 European experience with trans-boundary cooperation as a template for assessing trans-boundary cooperation among African states during the colonial and post-colonial periods. This paper concludes that modest achievements so far recorded in the process of regional integration in Africa is a function of the nationalistic attitude of states to international boundary. Subsequently, the study recommends that to achieve real integration in the continent, Africans and their leaders must change their attitude towards inherited colonial boundaries from their prevailing official postures as lines of divides to a more liberal disposition as corridors of cooperation.

Keywords: International boundaries, Trans-boundary cooperation, Regional integration, Africa, African borders, African Union Border Programme, Europe borders.

Secession Outside the Colonial Context: The Birth of Eritrea in Retrospect

1Olusesan A. Osunkoya & 2Adeniyi S. Basiru
1Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria
2University of Lagos, Akoka-Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria;

Abstract | Full Text

In light of the recent waves of secessionist struggle and conflict in Africa, a number of debates have spurred the possibility of secession outside the colonial context. Sourcing data from documentary materials coupled with the application of historical methods of data analysis, this article reflects on Eritrea’s secession from Ethiopia in 1993. The study discusses and argues that Eritrea’s feat in 1993 was made possible by certain domestic and external factors that did not present themselves to earlier secessionist movements. It concludes that without those factors that made Eritrea secession possible for its re-invention, furthermore, given that the forces that propelled the 1964 Cairo Agenda are still alive and formidable, secession outside the colonial context in Africa is likely to remain a difficult endeavor.

Keywords: Secession, Self-determination, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Colonialism, Resolution 16.

The Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo Recurring Conflict: Whose Conflict Transformation Responsibility?

1Sadiki Maeresera, 2Engelbert Abel Rugeje & 3Knocks Zengeni
1Institute of Strategic Research and Analysis, National Defence University’s Zimbabwe
2&3School of International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:

Abstract | Full Text

The recurring conflict in Eastern DRC has had devastating effects on civilians, mostly in Kivus. From the beginning of January 2002 till the end of May 2017, many conflict resolution efforts have been put together by regional and international communities. However, there has not been any sustainable mechanism to resolve the conflict. The situation regarding the security of Eastern Congo continues to be volatile. This paper seeks to identify the responsible party that would help mitigate the recurring conflict in Eastern Congo. Using the three distinct categories of actors in Conflict Transformation, the paper argues that the lack of coordination among these actors who constitutes the three Track levels have affected unity of purpose and the level of commitment as far as transforming the Eastern Congo Conflict. The divergent interests among the respective actors to outmaneuver one another when it comes to agenda setting regarding respective peace initiatives on conflict, could be the rationale behind the absence of a workable formula in transforming conflict in the Eastern DRC. The paper proffer strategic policy suggestions toward a workable Conflict Transformation mechanism that equitably addresses the root causes of the conflict and fairly incorporates the relevant stakeholders in an effort to find a sustainable solution.

Keywords: Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Recurring conflict, Conflict Transformation Responsibility.

Boko Haram and the Geopolitics of Forced Migration in Nigeria

1Sadiq Mukhtar, 2Rosniza Aznie Che Rose, 3Lam Kuok Choy & 4Amina Ummulkhair Ibrahim Bibi-Farouk
1Faculty of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Bayero University Kano, State, Nigeria
1, 2, 3 Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
4National Commissions for Refugees, Migrants & Internally Displaced Persons, Nigeria
1Corresponding author:

Abstract | Full Text

Migration is currently perceived as an epitome of globalization and a measuring gauge of global geopolitical mobility. In recent years, Nigeria has been faced with a series of migratory crises such as insurgency and conflict, forcing large numbers of people to flee from their various residential origins to neighboring countries as refugees and asylum seekers or within their country as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). This study explores how geographical and political factors intersects to provide explanations on the types and causes of forced migration due to the Boko Haram insurgent activities in Nigeria. The research engages the use of content analysis to examine relevant secondary data on Boko Haram insurgent activities and the geopolitics of forced migration in Nigeria. It is reported that from the total number of 2.1 million forced migrants in Nigeria as of May 2017, 9.7% are refugees in neighboring countries while others are spatially distributed in different states around the country as internally displaced persons. Furthermore, it was revealed that more than 97% of the internally displaced persons migrated due to the Boko Haram insurgent activities from the northeastern part of the country. It concluded that the migratory crises in Nigeria is predominantly caused by the activities of the Boko Haram insurgent group that subsequently forced the people to flee their origin because of fear for their lives coupled with the risk of persecution and the destruction of properties.

Keywords: Boko Haram, Forced migration, Geopolitics, Migration, Nigeria.

Malaysia’s Leadership Role in Asean: An Assessment

1Siti Darwinda Mohamed Pero & Laila Suriya Ahmad Apandi
School of International Studies
Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:

Abstract | Full Text

There has been perpetual controversy regarding the leadership of ASEAN, that is complicated and hitherto been a cause for concern. The largest and most populated country in Southeast Asia is Indonesia, and has been regarded as the de facto leader in ASEAN for its influence to spur progress within the organization. However, this does not undermine the role of the other four founding members of ASEAN, specifically Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia. Singapore has been considered the leader of ASEAN in the economic realm, championing and pushing forward economic agendas of the organization and its member-states. Moreover, the Philippines have been a strong advocate in promoting and enhancing the socio-cultural development within the organization. Conversely, the role of Malaysia in ASEAN has been scholarly neglected. This study seeks to fill the gaps by analysing the role of Malaysia in ASEAN since 1967, and propose that Malaysia has had a significant degree of influence within the organisation. By incorporating document analysis, this study presents the findings on Malaysia’s pivotal role in ASEAN. The results conclude that Malaysia was and is still a key leader in the organization and the country should continue to exercise its prerogative for the benefit of its national interest, in addition to maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Keywords: Leadership, Malaysia, ASEAN, Foreign policy, Regional organisation, Southeast Asia.

An Overview of Push/Pull Factors of Political Participation in Nigeria

1Muhammad Fuad Othman, 2Nazariah Osman & 3Isah Shehu Mohammed
1 & 2School of International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
3General Studies Department, Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi – Nigeria
Corresponding author:
Abstract | Full Text
This article overviews the push/pull factors of citizens’ participation in Nigerian politics. Citizens’ participation in state politics is both integral and an indispensable part of every political system and development. However, it is determined by numerous factors which are universal, but relative in terms of contexts. Such a participation is affected by many factors in Nigeria. The study uses secondary sources to collect data and perform qualitative analysis. The study is timely and significant in view of the critical roles where participation plays in shaping and influencing Nigerian politics, especially at the current moment when it is being characterized by apathy and participation on two ends. It is concentrated on an atmosphere of push and pull forces, negative and positive issues and developments, this environment is manipulated by elites/politicians. This needs a change for the better, to inculcate hope, overcome despair, anxiety as well as increased ethno-religious and electoral tensions.

Keywords: Nigeria, Participation, Politics, Pull/Push Factors.

The Energy Sector and the Internet of Things – Sustainable Consumption and Enhanced Security through Industrial Revolution 4.0

Awang Dzul-Hashriq Dharfizi
School of International Studies
College of Law, Government and International Studies
Universiti Utara Malaysia
Corresponding author:

Abstract | Full Text

With integration between machine automation and data being the hallmark of industrial revolution 4.0, the resilience of energy infrastructure in modern economy has taken a new significance. The study aims at discussing the potential and examining the impacts of the Internet of Things (IoT), which are smart devices with embedded sensors and connectivity, enabling data exchange to the energy sector. This technology contributes towards enhancing industry’s sustainable practices through the industrial internet of things. With data from the “edge of the grid,” these sensors assist in efficient energy consumption, providing constant monitoring for the regulatory authority, particularly on pollutant emissions. IoT technology may complement the national electric smart-grid, enhancing its reliability by feeding these raw data into machine learning neural network for the optimal operation. All these technologies shall complement one another, as Malaysia transform from a net energy exporter into an energy importer. Practicing efficient energy consumption can reduce this external dependency, and enhance national energy security. This paper derives statistical data sourced from the Energy Commission and technical data from publications of other scholars. On smaller scale, IoT implementation in manufacturing plants may resulted in 15% operating cost reduction. The benefits on national level implementation however remains unknown.


Malaysia-Thailand Cross Border Trade and Cross Border Special Economic Zone Potential: A Case Study of Rantau Panjang­Sungai Kolok Cross Border Town

1Abdul Rahim Anuar & 2Azhar Harun
1School of International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
2School of Government, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia; >

Abstract | Full Text

Towns along the Malaysia-Thailand border have always been associated with backwardness and being low-income regions. This is mainly because policy development in these border regions is based more on defence and security rather than economic considerations. Economic structures and cross-border trade towns of Sg. Kolok (Narathiwat, Southern Thailand) and Rantau Panjang (Kelantan, Malaysia) were examined with the objective to measure cross-border economic activity and the feasibility of establishing a Cross Border Special Economic Zone. Both towns are a shopping haven among local and foreign tourists, and have the potential to become a leading cross-border tourism product of the Malaysia-Thailand border. The Malaysian government has also implemented the Eastern Corridor Economic Region to develop the East Coast region including Kelantan. Meanwhile, the Thailand Government has carried out the Southern Border Provinces Special Zone to develop its Southern region, including Narathiwat. With the security assurance in Southern Thailand coupled with both development plans being implemented, this may intensify economic activities in the towns of Rantau Panjang and Sg. Kolok. It was revealed that this has a spill-over effect in the border areas and the potential of creating a Cross Border Special Economic Zone at these border towns.

Keywords: Foreign relations, xenophobia, apartheid, South Africa, Nigeria.

Urgency of Political Decentralization and Regional Autonomy in Indonesia: Local Perspectives

1Andi Yakub, 2Ahmad Bashawir Abdul Ghani & 3Mohammad Syafi’i Anwar
1&2Hasanuddin University, Indonesia
2&3School of International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia
Corresponding author:

Abstract | Full Text

Indonesia is a country that is inhabited by hundreds of ethnic groups with different geographical condition, natural resources and social culture. Regional decentralization and autonomy that is carried out in Indonesia is an acknowledgment of ethnic diversity (pluralism) to create unity and harmony (BhinekaTunggal Ika), to form social harmony and equal development with the framework of protecting national stability. This article argues on the urgency of political decentralization and regional autonomy in Indonesia through local perspectives by using political decentralization/local democracy model approach with the centrifugal style of authority and government decentralization and structural efficiency model approach with centripetal style.

Keywords:Decentralization, Bhineka Tunggal Ika, Social harmony, National stability, Local value, Local wisdom, Sosial justice.

A Clog on the Right to Quality Education through OER: A Case of Japan and Malaysia

1Ratnaria Wahid, 2Khaliza Saidin & 3Nurhaizal Azam Arif
1School of International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
2School of Education and Modern Languages, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
3Faculty of International Studies, Hiroshima City University, Hiroshima, Japan


Abstract | Full Text

States and world institutions have globally recognized the right to quality education. One of the method to access quality education is via Open Educational Resources (OER) that operates under the concept of “openness” where knowledge should be freely shared and disseminated for all. Yet, copyright law appears to be an area of great concern hampering OER development. This paper begins by clarifying the fundamental right to education which can be supported by developing trends of using digital resources. It then describes some of the developments in achieving sustainable development goal towards quality education through OER. The paper then explains certain legal challenges hampering open education initiatives by highlighting relevant copyright laws at the international and domestic levels. This investigation takes the form of a qualitative case-study approach comparing Malaysia and Japan practices in respect of its OER initiatives within their higher education institutions. This study specifically examines related regulations extracted from relevant statutes, cases, reports and secondary sources available in both countries. There appears to be a growing tension between the desire to promote open access to quality education and the need to protect works even though OER may be useful and beneficial for society.
Keywords: right to education, access, copyright law, OER, Japan, Malaysia