This paper assesses mainstream IR theory’s utility outside the realm of Great Power politics by examining the international activities of one developing middle power: Nigeria. Admittedly, this West African state is not a global hegemon. And it suffers from many structural weaknesses associated with less developed countries, including internal political divisions and a highly primary commodity dependent economy. Yet, Nigeria also exercises considerable influence in a sub-region that, due to its oil resources, is becoming increasingly important to advanced industrialized, Great Power states. Thus, the paper analyzes the applicability of International Relations theories to the Nigerian situation by highlighting the increasing importance of local hegemons in international politics.