In presenting a review of The Trouble with Nigeria by Chinua Achebe, I do not imply that I have more competence than the author, an all time great writer of both fiction and non-fiction. This review is aimed at stressing the glaring points raised in the book almost thirty years ago, and emphasizing how they are still relevant to present-day Nigeria. The book consists of ten chapters which are reviewed below.
Where the Problem Lies
Professor Achebe opens his book with short, precise and vehement sentences on where he believes the trouble with Nigeria lies. “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate of water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.” He recalls that on the morning after Murtala Mohammed seized power in July 1975, public servants despised the traffic hold-up in Lagos and were found on seat quite early because of Mohammed’s reputation for ruthlessness. But is he recommending ruthlessness as a necessary qualification for Nigerian leadership? “Quite on the contrary. What I am saying is that Nigeria is not beyond change. I am saying that Nigeria can change today if she discovers leaders who have the will, the ability and the vision.”
This book is linked with the post “The Trouble with Nigeria: A Review I”.