Nigeria: A New History of a Turbulent Century
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This new look at Nigeria traces the country’s history from its pre-colonial days as the home region to a number of distinct tribal powers through its definition by Britain as a single nation in 1914, to the hopeful early days of independence after World War II and the ongoing, often tragic disappointments of its governance and economic performance in the decades since. Richard Bourne pays particular attention to the failure to ensure that the wealth from Nigeria’s abundant oil, mineral, and agricultural resources is widely shared, and he offers an incisive analysis of the damaging effects that such gross inequality has on the nation’s stability and democratic prospects.
The most up-to-date and comprehensive analysis of Africa’s most important and populous nation in decades, this history—rooted in more than three decades of visiting and working in the country—will instantly be the standard account of Nigeria.
vehicle ownership in the north was tiny. Demand for trained persons, although they might hit the glass ceilings of a stratified colonial society, advantaged southerners even in the businesses and administrations of the north. The growth of unions tended to be southern-based, and significantly the Nigerian Union of Teachers, which was founded in 1931 and of which the Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti was to be a leading light, became the biggest union in that decade. Taxes bore down harder on
in the three decades to 1931, with public health standards rising after a serious bubonic plague. Zik was not running a Yoruba paper, but one with a wider vision, and indeed in criticising earlier activists like Macaulay, who was then seen as compromising and conservative, he could be critical of Yorubas. Younger people like him were increasingly fed up with European-only hotels, the European-only Ikoyi Club, and the lack of African promotion to the higher levels of the administration. Cameron
importance | 59 £5.10s a ton in 1941.4 By 1942 the cost of living had risen by 46.89% compared with 1939 and the government appointed a Cost of Living Committee. In the markets there were complaints about rising prices of basics. Captain A.P. Pullen, the Controller of Native Foodstuffs, introduced a system designed to fix prices on a small number of basic foods, but it was too easily evaded and unpopular with traders. In Lagos 8,000 market women signed a petition against it, and it became a
and Subhas Chandra Bose recruited an Indian National Army from captured prisoners to fight alongside the Japanese. Some of the European mystique of race was peeled away. In Gold Coast the ex-soldiers became a key part of the movement that led to independence. In Nigeria, with ethnic divisions that became more profound in the 1940s, this was less true. For while soldiers from different parts of Nigeria might fight together in Burma, the Second World War saw a fragmentation of the nascent
constituency and he had been returned unopposed. Nigerians could have little faith in a democracy that seemed so unfair and kleptocratic. The ugliness of Nigerian democracy was not balanced by any widely appreciated economic dividend from independence. The edu cational drives by western and eastern regional governments meant Overture to disaster | 105 that more people were emerging from schools with aspirations for employment that were not being met. In December 1961, for instance, some