Nigeria is Africa's most populous country and the world's eighth largest oil producer, but its success has been undermined in recent decades by ethnic and religious conflict, political instability, rampant official corruption and an ailing economy. Toyin Falola, a leading historian intimately acquainted with the region, and Matthew Heaton, who has worked extensively on African science and culture, combine their expertise to explain the context to Nigeria's recent troubles through an exploration of its pre-colonial and colonial past, and its journey from independence to statehood. By examining key themes such as colonialism, religion, slavery, nationalism and the economy, the authors show how Nigeria's history has been swayed by the vicissitudes of the world around it, and how Nigerians have adapted to meet these challenges. This book offers a unique portrayal of a resilient people living in a country with immense, but unrealized, potential.
Nigeria and Nigerians have acquired a notorious reputation for involvement in drug-trafficking, fraud, cyber-crime and other types of serious crime. Successful Nigerian criminal networks have a global reach, interacting with their Italian, Latin American and Russian counterparts. Yet in 1944, a British colonial official wrote that 'the number of persistent and professional criminals is not great' in Nigeria and that 'crime as a career has so far made little appeal to the young Nigerian'. This book traces the origins of Nigerian organised crime to the last years of colonial rule, when nationalist politicians acquired power at a regional level. In need of funds for campaigning, they offered government contracts to foreign businesses in return for kickbacks, in a pattern that recurs to this day. Political corruption encouraged a wider disrespect for the law that spread throughout Nigerian society. When the country's oil boom came to an end in the early 1980s, young Nigerian college graduates headed abroad, eager to make money by any means. Nigerian crime went global at the very moment new criminal markets were emerging all over the world.
‘This book is the story of Nigeria’s political journey between December 31, 1983 and August 27, 1993. This is the story of how things fell apart.’ The years between 1983 and 1993 were momentous for Nigeria. Military rule was a time of increased violence, rampant corruption, coups, coup plotting and coup baiting. It moulded the conditions and character of Nigeria today, forcing seismic changes on the political, economic and religious landscape that nearly tore the country apart on several occasions. Soldiers of Fortune is a fast-paced and thrilling narrative of the major events of the Buhari and Babangida era. The book draws on previously uncovered observations from interviews conducted with insiders (including a former member of the Brigade of Guards and Nigerian Airways personnel who witnessed the attempted kidnap of Umaru Dikko), to compile step-by-step dramatic reconstructions of disputed events and intrigues. Siollun’s fresh perspective challenges preconceived views to reveal the true story behind controversies of the period: the annulment of the June 12 election, the dubious execution of Mamman Vatsa, the foiled kidnapping of Umaru Dikko, the Orkar coup and the inconclusive case of the assassination of Dele Giwa. Historian Max Siollun gives an intimate, fly-on-the-wall portrait of the major events and dramatis personae of the period. He paints a vivid picture of leaders such as Ibrahim Babangida, whose ‘amiable personality, effusive charm and warm bonhomie’ distracted from his determined grip on power, political cunning and retention of detested laws. Siollun also relates anecdotes from how ‘pillow talk’ had a role in the 1983 coup, to the troubled final hours of the condemned Mamman Vatsa, childhood friend of Babangida. We are reminded of the important role played by civilians in supporting and sponsoring successive coups, and as such, we are forced to reassess apparent heroes such as the business tycoon, M.K.O Abiola. Alongside its close-up, dramatised narrative, Soldiers of Fortune also provides clear and detailed analysis of the period, revealing Nigerians’ complicity in the corruption of everyday life. It makes use of charts, lists and neatly delineated sections to pick apart the complex and often murky details of military rule, effectively demonstrating how the key events and protagonists of the period had a long-lasting impact which still resonates throughout Nigeria today. Both gripping and informative, Soldiers of Fortune is a must-read for all Nigerians and Nigeria-watchers. Its dramatic narrative style and clear attention to detail will engage casual, journalistic and academic readers alike.
‘If you want to understand Nigeria’s history in one succinct go, this is a very good choice.’ Noo Saro-Wiwa Known as the African Giant, Nigeria's story is complex and often contradictory. How, despite the ravages of colonialism, civil war, ongoing economic disappointment and most recently the Boko Haram insurgency, has the country managed to stay together for a hundred years? Why, despite an abundance of oil, mineral and agricultural wealth, have so many of its people remained in poverty? These are the key questions explored by Richard Bourne in this remarkable and wide-ranging account of Nigeria's history, from its creation in 1914 to the historic 2015 elections and beyond. Featuring a wealth of original research and interviews, this is an essential insight into the shaping of a country where, despite the seemingly dashed optimism that was raised at independence, there still remains hope 'the Nigeria project' may still succeed.
This work analyzes the history of the application of Islamic law (Shari`ah) in Nigeria. It analyzes how Islamic law emerged in Nigeria toward the beginning of the 19th century and remained applicable until the arrival of the British Colonial regime in Northern Nigeria in 1903. It sheds light on how the law survived colonial rule and continues until today. Dr. Yushau Sodiq analyzes progressive elements in Islamic law over the past two centuries. He goes on to discuss many objections raised by the Nigerian Christians against the application of Islamic law, as well as how Muslims respond to such criticism. In a world that is often saturated with Islamophobia and ignorant misconceptions about Islam, this book aims to clarify and respond to many important concepts and ideas within Islamic religious tradition.
Colonialism and Violence in Nigeria looks closely at the conditions that created a legacy of violence in Nigeria. Toyin Falola examines violence as a tool of domination and resistance, however unequally applied, to get to the heart of why Nigeria has not built a successful democracy. Falola's analysis centers on two phases of Nigerian history: the last quarter of the 19th century, when linkages between violence and domination were part of the British conquest; and the first half of the 20th century, which was characterized by violent rebellion and the development of a national political consciousness. This important book emphasizes the patterns that have been formed and focuses on how violence and instability have influenced Nigeria today.
This massive work took seventeen years to complete, and must stand as a seminal work of meticuluous history. More than a history, it is an analysis of the railways and their role in the history of Nigeria as a country. It was the railways that carried agricultural products to the ports; that moved people at relatively little cost over long distance for trade and occupational pursuits; that gave support and strength to military operations and the movement of heavy duty equipment and materials needed for industrial works and development. The railways were the life-line of national economic development, and the pioneers in the opening up of the country to development and contact with the outside world. The three volumes explore the systems from their beginnings in the 1890s to the closing decades of the twentieth century. Over 300 illustrations illuminate the volumes. There is introductory material on exploration, geography and demography, the basics of the railway system, and a description of the assets, fuel examination and water supply exploration. The economic and political history of each of the nine railway and tramway systems is given. Operational facilities and commercial practice are each described within historical perspective. The whole is summed up under organisations, accounts and statistics, staff and industrial relations, and short biographies of departmental heads. The author spent forty-seven years in Nigeria, including twenty-seven serving to Nigeria's history.
The book traces the history of writing about Nigeria since the nineteenth century, with an emphasis on the rise of nationalist historiography and the leading themes.
His nineteenth-century cousin, paddled ashore by slaves, twisted the arms of tribal chiefs to sign away their territorial rights in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Sixty years later, his grandfather helped craft Nigeria's constitution and negotiate its independence, the first of its kind in Africa. Four decades later, Peter Cunliffe-Jones arrived as a journalist in the capital, Lagos, just as military rule ended, to face the country his family had a hand in shaping.Part family memoir, part history, My Nigeria is a piercing look at the colonial legacy of an emerging power in Africa. Marshalling his deep knowledge of the nation's economic, political, and historic forces, Cunliffe-Jones surveys its colonial past and explains why British rule led to collapse at independence. He also takes an unflinching look at the complicated country today, from email hoaxes and political corruption to the vast natural resources that make it one of the most powerful African nations; from life in Lagos's virtually unknown and exclusive neighborhoods to the violent conflicts between the numerous tribes that make up this populous African nation. As Nigeria celebrates five decades of independence, this is a timely and personal look at a captivating country that has yet to achieve its great potential.
Nigeria, the United States’ most important strategic partner in West Africa, is in grave trouble. While Nigerians often claim they are masters of dancing on the brink without falling off, the disastrous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, the radical Islamic insurrection Boko Haram, and escalating violence in the delta and the north may finally provide the impetus that pushes it into the abyss of state failure. In this thoroughly updated edition, John Campbell explores Nigeria’s post-colonial history and presents a nuanced explanation of the events and conditions that have carried this complex, dynamic, and very troubled giant to the edge. Central to his analysis are the oil wealth, endemic corruption, and elite competition that have undermined Nigeria’s nascent democratic institutions and alienated an increasingly impoverished population. However, state failure is not inevitable, nor is it in the interest of the United States. Campbell provides concrete new policy options that would not only allow the United States to help Nigeria avoid state failure but also to play a positive role in Nigeria’s political, social, and economic development.
From the legendary author of Things Fall Apart—a long-awaited memoir of coming of age in a fragile new nation, and its destruction in a tragic civil war For more than forty years, Chinua Achebe maintained a considered silence on the events of the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967–1970, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Decades in the making, There Was a Country is a towering account of one of modern Africa’s most disastrous events, from a writer whose words and courage left an enduring stamp on world literature. A marriage of history and memoir, vivid firsthand observation and decades of research and reflection, There Was a Country is a work whose wisdom and compassion remind us of Chinua Achebe’s place as one of the great literary and moral voices of our age.
Eight Nigerian academics, including the distinguished historian of Africa, J.F. Ade Ajayi, here present a history of the slave trade. Their perspective is that the focus has hitherto been primarily on the external trade, particularly the trans-Atlantic trade to Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean, and less so on the equally important and much older trans-Saharan and trans-Indian Ocean trades, the launch pad for the external trade. The profusion of documents and records on the European and American aspects, and the absence of African voices in these records, has given rise to this. However, new methods and approaches resulting from the revolution in historiography where non-written sources, especially the use of oral history and oral traditions, are increasingly enabling the capture not only of the African voices, but also the indigenous memories concerning the institutions. The expanding interest in African diaspora studies and the intervention of UNESCO through their Slave Route Project since 1993, have given increased attention to the indigenous slave trade and slavery in Africa. Structured to address important themes in slavery and slave trade studies in the Nigeria region, there are fourteen major themes, presented in nine chapters. An important strength of the book is that each contributor is from the area of focus and thus a speaker of one or more of the indigenous languages, and able to collect the oral traditions, histories and memories of the groups.
A comprehensive history of one of the world's deadliest jihadist groups Boko Haram is one of the world’s deadliest jihadist groups. It has killed more than twenty thousand people and displaced more than two million in a campaign of terror that began in Nigeria but has since spread to Chad, Niger, and Cameroon as well. This is the first book to tell the full story of this West African affiliate of the Islamic State, from its beginnings in the early 2000s to its most infamous violence, including the 2014 kidnapping of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls. Drawing on sources in Arabic and Hausa, rare documents, propaganda videos, press reports, and interviews with experts in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Niger, Alexander Thurston sheds new light on Boko Haram’s development. He shows that the group, far from being a simple or static terrorist organization, has evolved in its worldview and ideology in reaction to events. Chief among these has been Boko Haram’s escalating war with the Nigerian state and civilian vigilantes. The book closely examines both the behavior and beliefs that are the keys to understanding Boko Haram. Putting the group’s violence in the context of the complex religious and political environment of Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, the book examines how Boko Haram relates to states, politicians, Salafis, Sufis, Muslim civilians, and Christians. It also probes Boko Haram’s international connections, including its loose former ties to al-Qaida and its 2015 pledge of allegiance to ISIS. An in-depth account of a group that is menacing Africa’s most populous and richest country, the book also illuminates the dynamics of civil war in Africa and jihadist movements in other parts of the world.

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