« Scapegoating has not helped any nation to evolve ; Nigeria won’t be the exception. The best approach is to search for the cause of the failures and confront it. A country where politics is the chief means of livelihood is sitting on a time bomb. This perception brings about « national cake syndrome » ; national cake brings equity in public office ; equity in public office reinforces rotational presidency ; and rotational presidency, in turn, nurtures the agitation for national conference. »
Robert Nwadiaru introduces us to the present-day Nigeria, the African Giant, a country with infinite riches, both natural and human, yet which still struggles after more than half a century after the independence.
The book that critics have compared to Chinua Achebe’s The Trouble with Nigeria from 1983 transports its reader to Nigeria and makes him feel like he knows it intimately ; the fine geographical details, as well as the constant references to the political, historical, and economical context in the past 50 years, offer a large view of what Nigeria is and, more, of what it could be. Understanding Nigeria’s present is a way to understand Africa’s development in the larger context of the contemporary world.
If the book analyses closely the reasons of the country’s failure, the blame is put on the political caste: corruption, poverty, poor infrastructure are all consequences of the bad political organization of Nigeria. However, far from being merely pessimistic, the book also analyses possible solutions, therefore making the politicians even more reponsible for the direction in which the country evolves.
Acclaimed by Kirkus Rieviews in 2015 for its first edition and released again in September 2018 by Mascot Books, Robert Nwadiaru’s book is sharp, critical and realistic. It is the lucid account of an author and citizen who knows the true potential of his country.
Is Nigeria a failed state? The question is open to discussion making the book a necessary reading in the contemporary world. We are therefore invited to meditate on the burning issues it raises.
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Review by Ioana Danaila
Ioana Danaila was born in Romania. She graduated from University Lyon 2 Lumière with a Masters in African Postcolonial Literature and a First degree in French for Non-Francophone people. She published a collection of short stories and translated books from French to Romanian. She speaks Romanian, French, English, and Spanish, and teaches English language and literature to highschool students in France.