These essays represent the thought of two scholars who have been closely associated with one another and with the field of African political development for more than three decades. Each, in his own way, dissented from the functionalist theory of modernization, which held sway when they began their work in the late 1950s. In their principal books, one of them (Sklar) explored the political implications of social-class formation in Nigeria, while the other (Whitaker) demonstrated the reality of cultural continuity in Nigerian political behaviour and organization. These themes are illustrated in this book in their essays on the independence movement and the post-colonial crises in Nigeria. Later essays trace the tenacious struggle for democracy in African societies and its relevance to political challenges posed by the deepening economic and social crises of a chaotic era. Just as the two offered on alternative to modernization theory during the 1960s and 1970s, so today do they distance themselves from economistic theories of political change. Their methodological assumptions reflect basic conceptions of liberty and justice.
Part 1 Class formation and cultural continuity in Nigeria: the contribution of tribalism to nationalism in Western Nigeria; political parties during the era of independence; three perspectives on hierarchy; contradictions in the Nigerian political system; the ordeal of Chief Awolowo; Nigerian politics in perspective, with a postscript. Part 2 Class and culture in Africa: a dysrhythmic process of political change; political science and national integration - a radical approach; the nature of class domination in Africa. Part 3 Democracy and development: second beginnings - the new political framework in Nigeria; democracy in Africa; the unfinished state of Nigeria; reds and rights - Zimbabwe's experiment; developmental democracy; beyond capitalism and socialism in Africa.