10 Books About Nigeria’s History That Will Help You Understand Your Life Better

June 7, 2017

1. The Trouble With Nigeria by Chinua Achebe

Published in 1984, Chinua Achebe addressed the problems of Nigeria as a country and the challenges that are keeping the country from being as great as it can be. The book, though only 68 pages long, provides a clear analysis of why Nigeria is the shit show it is now. The following passage will explain better:

‘The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.’

That is all from page 1.

With the chapter titles, Achebe lists out all the other problems that he had identified: Corruption, Social Injustice, Tribalism, False Image, Indiscipline etc.

2. Soldiers of Fortune by Max Siolllun

Published in 2013, this book tells the story of Nigeria’s political journey between the 1st of January 1984 and the 27th of August 1993.

The book is an objective analysis of the major events of the Buhari and Babangida era, revealing the true stories behind controversies like the annulment of the June 12 elections, the assassination of Dele Giwa, the execution of Mamman Vatsa and the failed kidnapping of Umaru Dikko.

3. How To Be A Nigerian by Anthony Enahoro

Published in 1996, this book is described as a guide for both Nigerians and foreigners on the conduct, demeanor, carriage, actions and misbehavior of the average Nigerian adult male and female. The author does this by turning a funny eye on the people around him and makes the whole thing even more hilarious by adding anecdotes and cartoons.

4. Oil, Politics and Violence by Max Siolllun

Published in 2009, the author traces the details of hopes and ambition gone wrong in Nigeria. It tells the story of how the hopes of Nigeria becoming Africa’s super power were dashed after gaining it’s independence from Britain by a succession of military authoritarian governments and military coups which went on from 1966 to 1999. It also shows how the different factions of the military were able to hold on to power and resist international pressure by exploiting the country’s oil wealth and ethnic divisions to its advantage.

5. Sozaboy by Ken Saro Wiwa

Published in 1985, this book tells the story of a young and naive boy, Mene, who joins the military during the Civil War for every foolish reasons. He believes it will make him an adult, get him the girl of his dreams (Agnes) and also earn him the respect of everyone back home in his village.

Not long after he joins, he realizes that he couldn’t have been more wrong.

6. Why We Struck by Adewale Ademoyega

Published in 1986, this book tells the story of the first military intervention in Nigerian politics in the form of the coup that took place on the 15th of January 1966.

This book is a captivating account of the most historical events in Nigeria because it is was written by the the last surviving member of the trio that planned and executed the coup, Major Ademoyega.

7. Sunset In Biafra by Elechi Amadi

Published in 1973, the author, Elechi Amadi, tells the story of how he resigned from the Nigerian army before the civil war began because he opposed the Biafran cause but still ended up getting caught in the cross fire.

8. A History Of Nigeria by Toyin Falola and Matthew Heaton

Published in 2008, this book offers a unique portrayal of Nigerians as a resilient people living in a country with great but untapped potential. It explains Nigeria’s recent troubles by exploration of its colonial and pre-colonial past and also, its journey from Independence to statehood.

9. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Published in 1958, the book follows the life and times of Okonkwo, an Igbo leader and local wrestling champion in the fictional Nigerian village of Umuofia. It also chronicles the effects of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on the Igbo community.

10. Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta

Published in 1983, this novel tells the story Adah, a strong independent woman who struggles to overcome the strict tribal domination of women at the time and moves her family to London. Seeking a new and easy life for herself and her children, she encounters brutal racism and the harsh truths that come with being a new citizen in a foreign country.

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