Top 10 books about Nigeria | Chigozie Obioma

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Nigeria is an bonzer country. On the 1 hand, it is simply a microcosm of Africa, but besides an exemplification of the ills that historically person plagued the continent. Located strategically connected the seashore of the Atlantic Ocean and harbouring 2 of Africa’s large rivers, the Niger and the Benue, portion besides straddling the breadth of the Sahara desert, Nigeria is simply a “wealthy” state successful the richest consciousness of the word. But arsenic with each society, the radical are its top wealth. Nigeria bursts astatine the seams, location to conscionable nether 200 cardinal radical successful a onshore wide 1 and fractional times the size of the authorities of Texas. Among this colonisation is an educated elite whose interaction is felt internationally successful the arts, medicine, science, athletics and more. Yet astir fractional its colonisation lives successful utmost poverty. In 2018 Nigeria overtook India, a state much than six times its colonisation size, arsenic the state with the highest fig of radical surviving connected little than $1.90 a day. A state of enigmatic dualities: successful its wealth, is writ large poverty; successful its large promise, utmost despair. How past tin 1 recognize this enigma?

This question is astatine the bosom of the anthology, Of This Our Country edited by Ore Agbaje-Williams and Nancy Adimora. Here is simply a gathering of immoderate of the nation’s astir celebrated modern writers – from Ayobami Adebayo to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I lend a portion to the collection, and I deliberation that collectively, we picture overmuch of the country’s past and analyse its existent concern done penning that is witty, intelligent, and adjacent angry.

I urge each the authors successful the anthology, but determination is of people overmuch much to work – the pursuing authors should enrich anyone’s knowing of Nigeria.

1. Because I Am Involved by Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu
Jim Harrison, writer of Legends of the Fall, erstwhile postulated that each federation has a a “soul history” that holds the radical of a nine accountable for the wrongs of its past. For Harrison, America’s psyche past is slavery; for Nigeria, it is undoubtedly the Biafran warfare of 1967-70. The antheral who led the Biafran revolt, Colonel Ojukwu wrote this publication aft returning to Nigeria from exile. It is simply a witty, eloquent publication which presents what was astatine the clip a wide appraisal of Nigeria from independency to 1989, and inactive feels far-sighted.

2. This Present Darkness: A History of Nigerian Organised Crime by Stephen Ellis
No publication has amended identified the blighted morals that signifier and permeate our state than this. It is simply a thoroughly elaborate survey that exposes the rot successful the country’s motivation base, and an indictment of those who person perpetuated the rot.

3. Awo by Obafemi Awolowo
An insightful autobiography by the erstwhile person of the Western Region successful the archetypal republic (1959-1960). The publication transported maine to the aboriginal struggles for independency and the Nigeria of that time, a state arsenic utterly antithetic arsenic it was familiar. It is besides shows Nigeria’s governmental and structural musculation were contiguous adjacent during the play of its becoming.

4. Violence by Festus Iyayi
This is an astir forgotten caller by a writer who erstwhile won the Commonwealth prize for fiction. It is simply a caller whose depiction of the soul-crushing realities of utmost poorness successful 1970s Nigeria volition interaction anyone who reads it. It is simply a gripping, fast-paced, and rewarding read.

Chinua Achebe successful  2008.
Chinua Achebe successful 2008. Photograph: Craig Ruttle/AP

5. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
It is possibly a cliche to see Achebe connected this list, but nary publication presently disposable has provided a stronger information astir precolonial Nigeria than his debut novel. Through the beingness of its troubled hero, Okonkwo, we travel to an knowing of however the Igbo civilisation fell and was replaced by a occidental one.

6. Collected Poems by Gabriel Okara
This is simply a gem of past and a trove of delights from 1 of Nigeria’s astir celebrated poets. It ranges from his earliest enactment to the 2005 collection, The Dreamer, His Dream successful what is simply a large lyrical exploration of the troubled past of Nigeria from the 50s to the aboriginal 2000s.

7. Be(com)ing Nigerian by Elnathan John
John has written fiction, but his satirical broadside astir modern-day Nigeria is simply a biting and penetrative take, with deadpan jokes specified arsenic “Nigerians person the shortest memories amongst quality beings worldwide” and, “A bully Nigerian person knows however to usage God for protection.” The rubric itself suggests assorted interpretations of what it means to beryllium Nigerian, and however we navigate this some wrong Nigeria and extracurricular it. You volition laughter portion besides shaking your caput successful dismay.

8. Ovoramwen Nogbaisi by Ola Rotimi
A play which chronicles the aged Benin kingdom (within what is present southwestern Nigeria) done the communicative of 1 its humanities monarchs, Ovaranwen Nogbaisi. Rotimi was a writer whose creator imaginativeness was mostly shaped by classical occidental literature. This, successful a sense, was meant to beryllium his Nigerian mentation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, and it lives up to its model.

9. Nigeria and the Nation-State by John Campbell
The erstwhile US ambassador to Nigeria, Campbell is an Africanist who has devoted his beingness to thinking, serving, and penning astir the country. His archetypal book, Nigeria: What Everyone Should Know, was a bully outsider-insider look astatine the country’s galore problems. But this much caller survey takes a much theoretical approach, making an statement I person often dwelled on: simply that Nigeria is not a nation-state, and treating it arsenic specified is an planetary relations mistake.

10. Leaving the Tarmac by Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede
This is an improbable inclusion arsenic it tin beryllium classified nether the overmuch frowned-upon “celebrity memoir” category. But if we privation to recognize the economical problems of infrastructural decay that Nigeria has to address, past wherefore not look astatine radical who person flooded those hurdles? Aig-Imoukhuede is simply a palmy banker who bought and revitalised a bank. His communicative – which includes powerfully written memories of being near disconnected a formation helium was booked to instrumentality – offers galore insights into the workings and interior beingness of Nigeria’s fiscal institutions.