Nigerians are expert storytellers, no doubt about it. This fact is evident in our largely oral history. But over the decades, our oral history began being recorded into stories that are as timeless and relevant – if not more than sef – as all the Shakespeare and Grimm Brothers’ fairytales.Here are 16 timeless Nigerian books that the rest of the world ought to gather, sit down and read in much the same fashion as we used to read all their tea-sippin’, cookie-lovin’ stories:
1. God’s Big Toe by Obii Nwachukwu-AgbadaThis story is about how one spoiled rich boy, Onwubiko’s life changes when his father dies. An important universal tale for all those privileged kids that forget to wake up grateful every morning.
2. Without a silver spoon by Eddie IrohFrom a book about a boy who had it all, to a book about a boy who did not really have anything to begin with. Without a silver spoon teaches that honesty is indeed the best policy; a universal lesson for everyone.
3. The Second Chance by Nyengi KoinThis is a story of how love conquers all. Move over Romeo and Juliet, come see how real romance plays out.
4. The Passport of Mallam Ilia by Cyprian EkwensiIt is a story of betrayal and revenge told in such a way that keeps you captivated to the end. It also shows a glimpse of the Northern Nigerian culture and history.
5. The Drummer Boy by Cyprian EkwensiThis is a very touching story of Akin, the blind drummer boy, and all the many people he meets on his rigmarole sojourn in the world. It’s a touching tale of what blind trust looks like – both figuratively and literally.
6. Dizzy Angel by Grace Nma OsifoWhat’s it like being an ogbanje? I will never forget that scene where she describes making herself faint. This one is just a beautiful story of how in spite of tradition and superstitious beliefs, Ogbanje was still able to choose her own destiny. It has everything you will love in a good story, action, drama and yes, what is a good African tale without a bit of magic?
7. The Bottled Leopard by Chukwuemeka IkeThis epic novel will open your mind to the mystical realities in such a way that you have never experienced it. You will wake up in the middle of the night and wonder if you are really alone in the world. The spirit world will join with the real world. You will learn that before there were aliens, there were spirits.
8. The Incorruptible Judge by D. Olu Olagoke
Just like it’s title, this book is about a judge that simply refused to take bribe. Not quite like some real life judges today. But it just goes to show that there is no “fantastically corrupt” nation, only people. And also that corruption can exist in the most seemingly insignificant and subtle of places.