THIS COUNTRY NIGERIA
‘This Country Nigeria’ is a historical, timeless and contemporary book on Nigeria. It is a special literary work that combines history and contemporary writings in a remarkable way; reflecting swift transitions between its central themes especially in a very fluid and unambiguous manner; changing from what is truly historical to a timeless theme, and then to a non historical but contemporary theme!
The book outlines the rich historical and cultural pasts of the various peoples that constitute the modern Nigeria. Unlike other books on the history of Nigerian peoples which primarily focuses on the major tribes alone, ‘This Country Nigeria’ went further to include a number of important minority tribes such as the Tivs, Jukuns, Nupes, Ijaws, Urhobos and several others to both expand its scope and to have a wider audience.
Besides recording the history and culture of the peoples of Nigeria, the book also includes the most significant events in Nigeria from the nineteenth century. The Fulani Jihad, which surged out of modern Northern Nigeria in the opening years of the nineteenth century, is extensively discussed, noting the Jihadist, his message, the Jihad and the indelible impacts of the Jihad. In the sequels to the Jihad, the Yoruba civil wars broke out in the same century among the Yorubas. The civil wars eventually brought an end to the famous Oyo Empire and the wars didn’t end until the later part of the century. These are all captured in the book.
Certain aspects of Nigeria’s past, and indeed that of other Negroes- are timeless. Such themes as Slavery (the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade) and Colonialism are still topical issues in modern times. Even though the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade ended centuries ago, many still struggle with the inferiority complex and stigmatization arising from the trade. In the Nigerian story, colonialism ended with Nigeria’s independence back in 1960, but her underdevelopment cannot be completely separated from her colonial experience. ‘This Country Nigeria’ did examine these crucial themes, noting how each of them has affected Nigeria.
In the midst of the country’s many challenges, many people have come to question the 1914 amalgamation. At large, more questions are put on the country’s fragile unity. ‘This Country Nigeria’ provides an insightful analysis into what transpired between 1900 and 1914. It answers many of the raging questions and argues that the deeds were already done before the 1914 ceremonies!
The origin of Nigeria’s nationalism that birthed the ‘fighting spirit’ that championed Nigeria’s course of independence and the beginning of political parties that provided the platform through which Nigeria’s independence was negotiated are themes that are extensively discussed in the book. From Herbert Macaulay to the trio of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the activism of Nigerian nationalists before independence are also well discussed in the book.
Leaving the era of colonialism to the post independence era, ‘This Country Nigeria’ did analyze the vicissitudes that ensued after Nigeria’s independence in 1960- the first republic and the first coup. It goes further to discuss Nigeria’s bitter experience in the famous civil war (or the Biafran war), factoring in- the war, the plotters and why they had to fight. But was the battlefield the last option? Did Nigeria really have to fight the war? ‘This Country Nigeria’ answers these questions, positing that what manifested as a civil war between 1967 and 1970 were the trees from the seeds sown between 1900 and 1914. The book also discusses the aftermaths of the war and factored in the influence of the oil boom in the recovery process.The book also discusses the various military regimes and republics between the Nigerian civil war and the fourth republic!
‘This Country Nigeria’ also paid special tributes to those men and women who at one point in time had stood to fight for freedom and justice and to defend the integrity of the entity called Nigeria; men and women who risked it all to ensure posterity for Nigeria. The likes of Herbert Macaulay, Obafemi Awolowo, Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti, Ken Saro Wiwa and a host of others.
The last section of the book is completely dedicated to contemporary issues in Nigeria. It cut deep into the heart of Nigerian issues to both analyze and to proffer possible solutions. The book discusses such topical issues such as the Country’s unity, State Police, State Creation, Prison Reforms, Democracy and fiscal federalism, Corruption, Climate Change, Population Control among other issues.
The book ends with an important message to every Nigerian. Regardless of region, tribe or religion, every Nigerian needs to know what is at stake at this point in our collective history; that we are not yet where we dream, but we are not the worst of all. That to experience change- we need to bring it! And that we have nothing left to lose but the loftiness of our dreams. When we have found this gut- to call for change; we’ll for sure have the smiles of good fortunes, and the rising sun will guide us through the paths that leads to our dreamland!
The book is written in sections and each section has several sub headings. There are altogether eight sections in the whole book. Each section continues the previous one and leads to the next- so that the whole book is well interconnected.
“This Country Nigeria” is published in three series and also as a complete edition.
THIS COUNTRY NIGERIA Series 1
This series contains writings on the great civilizations that once existed in Nigeria, and West Africa. The Nok culture and civilizations, Ife civilizations, etc. The empires (like Bornu empire, Oyo Empire, Benin empire, etc), city states ( like the Hausa city states of Kano, Zazza, etc) and of course the republican societies (like the Igbo and Tiv societies), are covered here.
You’ll also learn about the great traditions and culture of several ethnic groups in Nigeria, like the Jukuns, Tivs, Egbas, Ijeshas, Itsekiris, Ijaws, Arochukwu, and many others. You’ll find fascinating stories about some long gone traditional practices, religion and customs. For instance, do you know that in those days, to marry a woman in the Tiv culture, you’ll need one female member of your family (usually your sister) to go in the opposite direction (i.e, given in marriage to someone in your wife’s family)?
Also, do you know that the 19th century was a phenomenon in Nigeria? There were a lot of events in that century, from Uthman Dan Fodio’s Jihad to the Yoruba civil wars and the eventual closure of the slave trade. This first series contains this too, and even more.
THIS COUNTRY NIGERIA Series 2
The second series contains writings on the slave trade, colonization, the beginning of nationalism and how Nigeria eventually got her independence. It is so revealing, informative and challenging. It challenges a lot of long held conceptions about Africa.
Do you want to know what led to the slave trade in the first place? Why did the Europeans suddenly appear on the shores of West Africa asking for slaves and why did African chiefs sell to them? Do you know what those slaves were used for and how they were treated? Besides, do you know that there is an underlying philosophy that powered the era of slavery and influenced how whites treated blacks back then? You’ll all the answers in the second series.
Do you also know that colonization was an extension of slavery, but in another form? The only thing that changed was the commodity being sold, from humans to agricultural products that Europeans needed as raw materials for their home industries. In fact, colonization was worse, because now, the Europeans came for total domination of the colonized people, seizing their territory and exercising both political and economic control. And do you know why they needed to do that?
What impact does the industrial revolution have on slavery and colonization? Have you heard about the Berlin Conference? What about the Royal Niger Company (RNC)?
Do you know that before Herbert Macaulay, there were those who fought against British domination in Nigeria and inspired the next generation to fight for freedom which later resulted in independence? After independence, Nigeria fought a costly civil war. do you know why? This second series contain all of these and even more.
THIS COUNTRY NIGERIA: Series 3
The final series contains contemporary topics in Nigeria, like democracy and corruption, population control, state police, security votes and a lot more. You will be certainly challenged to have hope again, and to take on an active role in Nigeria.
This series also contain the biography of sixteen (16) great Nigerians who at different times left a huge mark in the history of Nigeria. There are some of them you may be familiar with already like Herbert Macaulay, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Abubakar Balewa and others. But there are also those that you may not be very familiar with like, Olaudah Equaino, Henry Carr among others.
THIS COUNTRY NIGERIA: The Complete Edition
The complete edition contains all the three series put together in the same book. Although slightly bulky, it is a book worth having.