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Understanding Modern Nigeria
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Book description

Since its independence from Britain in 1960, Nigeria has emerged as Africa's second largest economy and one of the biggest producers of oil in the world. Despite its economic success, however, there are deep divisions among its two hundred and fifty ethnic groups. Centered around three of the dominant themes of Nigeria's post-colonial narrative - ethnicity, democracy and governance, this is an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the history and events that have shaped these three areas. World-renowned expert in Nigerian history, Toyin Falola shows us how the British laid the foundations of modern Nigeria, with colonialism breading competition for resources and power and the widening cleavages between the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo ethnic groups that had been forced together under British rule, the choice of federalism as a political system, and the religious and political pluralism that have shaped its institutions and practices. Using an examination of the outcomes of this history, manifested in hunger, violence, poverty, human rights violations, threats of secession and corruption, where power and resources are used to reproduce underdevelopment, Falola offers insights and recommendations for the future of policy and the potential for intervention in the country.


'Another great book from one of Nigeria’s finest scholars. Falola has brought together under one cover answers to all the questions anyone may want to ask about Nigeria but have never been able to frame up in a question. This book will put us in Falola’s debt for quite a long time.'

Abiodun Alao - Professor of African Studies, King’s College London

'This book provides one of the most comprehensive and insightful analysis of the complexities of democracy, development, and state-building in Nigeria. Going beyond narratives of post-colonial dysfunction, this book highlights the contradictions, ambiguities, and positive potentials of Africa’s most populous country. The depth of analysis and policy prescriptions make the book essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand modern Nigeria.'

Bonny Ibhawoh - Senator William McMaster Chair in Global Human Rights, McMaster University

'In this magisterial volume, Africa’s foremost historian and theoretician weaves a mesmerizing meta-narrative and meta-theory of Africa’s largest democracy and economy, Nigeria. Comprehensively capturing yet transcending the dominant scholarship, Falola’s triadic framework explains Nigeria’s dialectic progress and retrogression. This is the definitive text for a new generation of scholars.'

Olajumoke Yacob-Haliso - Dean, Veronica Adeleke School of Social Sciences, Babcock University, Nigeria

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