`If you want to understand Nigeria's history in one succinct go, this is a very good choice.'
Known as the African Giant, Nigeria's story is complex and often contradictory. How, despite the ravages of colonialism, civil war, ongoing economic disappointment and most recently the Boko Haram insurgency, has the country managed to stay together for a hundred years? Why, despite an abundance of oil, mineral and agricultural wealth, have so many of its people remained in poverty?
These are the key questions explored by Richard Bourne in this remarkable and wide-ranging account of Nigeria's history, from its creation in 1914 to the historic 2015 elections and beyond.
Featuring a wealth of original research and interviews, this is an essential insight into the shaping of a country where, despite the seemingly dashed optimism that was raised at independence, there still remains hope 'the Nigeria project' may still succeed.
Richard Bourne is senior research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, and a trustee of the Ramphal Institute, London. He is the author of Catastrophe: What Went Wrong in Zimbabwe? (Zed, 2011) and Lula of Brazil (Zed, 2008).
Part I: 1914-39: Invention of a Country 1. A Merger Makes a Large Possession for Britain 2. First World War: Nigeria on the Front Line 3. Lugard Struggles with Opponents 4. Between the Wars: Nigeria is Not a Single State 5. Between the Wars: The Economy in a World Depression 6. Between the Wars: A New Assertive Nationalism Part II: 1939-64: Rocky Road to Freedom 7. Another World War and Strategic Importance 8. Political Change and Divisive Regionalism 9. Regional Governments and the Coming of Independence 10. The Joy of Independence 11. Overture to Disaster Part III: 1964-89: The Shadow of the Generals 12. Military Coups, Biafra and Civil War 13. Reconstruction, Another Coup and the Craving for Democracy 14. A Second Republic, Its Short, Inglorious Life and its Overthrow 15. Buhari, IBB and a New Military Era Section IV: 1989-2014: A Decade of Pain, then Disappointment in Democracy 16. The Annulment of an Election Puts Nigeria on Edge 17. The Disastrous Abacha Years 18. Democracy, and the Return of Obasanjo 19. Yar'Adua, Jonathan and Threats in the Delta and the Northeast Section V: Reflections