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Resistance is Futile @chrisngwodo
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I've been asked to recommend books on Nigerian history. So here's a list of books that will enhance our understanding of Nigeria's past (and very likely its present). The list is by no means exhaustive&there are many good books not on this list. So here goes:
Kole Omotoso's brilliant reconstruction of Nigerian history from the colonial era to the 1980s is the foremost example of Nigerian "faction" writing. A very good read.
Babarinsa's tour de force is probably the best treatment of the travails of Obafemi Awolowo&his political movement during the Second Republic. Also an objective take on the opposition politics of the Second Republic as essayed by the UPN.
Richard Joseph, like the recently departed Anthony Kirk-Green, is one of the keenest scholars of Nigeria. In this in depth study, he shows how prebendalism led to the collapse of the Second Republic&continues to haunt Nigerian governance.
Toyin Falola offers a masterly, detailed and rigorously researched history of religious violence in Nigeria during the period spanning the late 1970s and the late 1980s.
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Apart from Nnamdi Azikiwe's Renascent Africa, Adelabu offers the best insight into the idealism that animated the anti colonial movement. Written in an inimitable and distinctively extravagant prose style.
Billy Dudley belongs in the pantheon of Nigeria's greatest political scientists along with Claude Ake and Bala Usman. Here's his authoritative take on the crises that defined Nigeria's early years and which led to the implosion of the First Republic.
The foremost examination of the history and construction of ethnic identity&identity politics in Nigeria by a scholar who must be in his 80s now but is still going strong. A classic.
Arguably the most nuanced take on the complex dynamics of the civil war by a participant observer. Raph Uwechue's reflections on the subject are studied, rigorously thought through and well considered.
Bala Usman, one of Nigeria's greatest ideological thinkers delivers a searing critique of Nigerian foreign policy in the 1970s&an examination of Nigeria's place in the world.
For those that missed the military era of the 1980s and 1990s, @maxsiollun delivers the best rendition of the events of that period in living colour and with uncommon nuance.
Abraham Oshoko's Graphic historical trilogy of books about the June 12 crisis is one of the best treatments of the subject there is. A bold creative take on history backed up with solid research.
Written in 1983, Achebe's classic critique of the Nigerian condition possesses a currency that makes it both disturbing and prophetic. It's still essential reading.
Bala Usman exposes the sordid underbelly of religious populism essayed by religious and political charlatans in the Second Republic. Nigerian Politicians have been manipulating religious sensibilities for a long time. This is an early diagnostic of their nefarious methods.
@maxsiollun again delivers a sobering and nuanced portrayal of a turbulent and bloody period of Nigerian history. Clinical, incisive and even tempered without the histrionics that often undermines other treatments of the subject.
A fascinating exploration of the power dynamics of Northern Nigeria by one of Nigeria's foremost public intellectuals.
A brilliant polemic by Bala Usman and Alkasum Abba that deconstructs ethnic (and religious) irredentism in Nigeria and exposes the political opportunism of identity entrepreneurs.
A clinical and dispassionate examination of the roots of Nigerian nationalism and the national question by @dmerije. A top top read.
The compelling and dramatic history of one of the greatest political movements in Nigeria.
Elizabeth Isichei is in the exalted league of historians including JF Ade-Ajayi, Kenneth Dike, Peter Ekeh and Obaro Ikime (who's Groundwork of Nigerian History is also recommended). Her sweeping portrait of two centuries of change in West Africa is a worthwhile read.
Along with Stanley Macebuh, Nosa Osaigbovo&Adebayo Williams, Chidi Amuta belongs to a tradition of excellent essayists&op-Ed columnists. This 1000-page tome is a collection of his essays spanning nearly 3 decades&brimming with insight on various topical issues over the years.
For now.
As I said, this isn't an exhaustive list&there are many great books that aren't on it. I personally recommend these. The key is to read widely, broadly&deeply. History, like all human experience is many-sided. Truth is often the golden mean. Happy reading.
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