Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book Reviews

Just Before Dawn by Kole Omotoso

Bought this book at Lagos Domestic Airport on my way to Abuja in January due to boredom and am glad I did. Quite an easy read for a books that is high in politics, intrigue and power plays. Couldn't put it down until I devoured every page of it. Any student of Nigerian politics must read this book. It traces the immediate pre-colonial Nigerian history in context of the politics between the various factions, personalities and groups involved

It is a well researched book; partly fiction (using illustrative stories to make an instructive point e.g. loss of property after Biafra and attendant brutality that accompanied that war) and facts hither unknown -like the story of Madam Adunni Oluwole, an iconoclast feminist and nationalist who made a prescient statement in the march towards independence from the British (to the consternation of her countrymen) that " Nigerian political leaders had abused the responsibility they had already secured.  ". It shine light on well known history facts like the cross carpeting in the West that put Awo in power in 1953  (now I know AG actually had plural majority but needed  absolute majority to form a government without Zik) or the favoritism of the British colonial office towards the North.It elaborated on the facts like th coups and counter-coups as well.

In the end, one is amiss to ask...was it worth it? What has changed? What could have our early leaders done differently? On the last questions, I posit that was "a lot". For those who don't get drama and nuance, read with care. The details of conversations and going on when not in quote, are generally fiction. Otherwise, a solid , well researched work of history...put in interesting context!


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