Unlocking the shocking secrets of our past in a bid to understand the future in Nigeria, our odd, beautiful twisted country can be a bit of …..
We live in a country that is often touted by its citizenry to be a mistake. A country so vast, ethnically and culturally diverse, bound only by name and a common belief in a future that is uncertain, we flounder along, this unwieldy hodgepodge of ethnic diversity. But every now and then, along comes a writer like Dele Ogun, with a narrative so steeped in fact and so powerfully incisive that it opens (as indeed it should) a new chapter in the political discourse of our great country.
Dele Ogun is a Nigerian based in London. What he has done in this book is to chronicle the socio political and historical background of the entity currently known as Nigeria, drawing from copious records that we in Nigeria have a habit of not keeping (for what is history but the keeping of records,)he critically and topically analyses the nation, its formation, and the processes that led to its amalgamation and the stories that have thus far remained untold.
The book is divided into three parts:
Book 1: Before Nigeria
This deals with the histories of the regions that we know today as Nigeria, the schemings and machinations of Britain, France, Germany, and other (then) world powers that led to the area being known as Nigeria, and who and who were responsible. The vast majority of people all over the world, including Nigeria, believe that slavery was abolished because the British came to see the error of their ways and realized how evil it was. Not so? Then you have a reason to read this book, for therein lie many secrets.
Book 2: Nigeria
Here, the author digs deep into documents, letters, memoirs, and journals to reveal the real reasons behind the British decision to cobble over two hundred and fifty ethnic nationalities into one loose amalgam, and expect homogeneity. Here, you will get to peer into the mind of the Britons of the time, and see the reasons why those who aspire to leadership of any sort in the political sphere must undertake a thorough reading and critical study of this book. We see again, in vivid descriptions, the plotting and scheming that enabled the overthrow of Jaja of Opobo, Nana of Tsekiri, Oba Ovoramwen of Benin, and countless others who tried to stand between the Brits and their plan to compress and commingle so many nations into one.
Book 3: The End Game
Here, at last, are answers to many of the questions we have asked ourselves, both as a nation and as individuals, ranging from the reason why a large part of the uniformed forces in this country are from one region, to the obvious polarization of the country and the reason why any particular tribe would feel that they had a divine right to rule. Also we get to peep, afresh, into the intricacies that surrounded the lives of our premier nationalists, from Awolowo to Azikiwe to Tafawa Balewa. There is also a brief glimpse of the ethnic hatred and rivalry that exists between certain ethnic groups and why it is not likely to stop any time soon. We are treated to incisive narratives of back stories of the major players in Nigeria’s political (cum military) history, and an analysis of the various leaders we have had.
This book is truly important, and I sincerely wish that students of political science, history, and international studies be made to buy this book as an important part of their course material.
And yes, everything in the book is drawn from fact. As the 2019 elections are drawing near, if the youth (who claim they are not too young to run) can get their heads away from social media and chasing after likes and comments on the pages of social media, then perhaps we can have that restructuring that this country so badly needs.