In The Trouble with Nigeria, acclaimed author Chinua Achebe addresses his country’s problems, and the challenges that hold back Nigeria from moving forward. The following passage, perhaps, best captures Achebe’s thoughts:
‘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 or 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.’ Pg1
Although this book is only sixty-eight pages long, it provides a powerful analysis of why Nigeria has failed as a country. The chapter titles clearly spell out the problems that Achebe identifies – Tribalism, False Image, Leadership, the Nigerian Style, Social Injustice and the Cult of Mediocrity, Indiscipline, Corruption among others.
On corruption, Achebe poses several questions – What is Corruption? What has become of Corruption in Nigeria? Is corruption on the increase or decrease in Nigeria? And, here, Achebe does not mince his words:
‘My frank and honest opinion is that anybody who can say that corruption in Nigeria has not yet become alarming is either a fool, a crook or else does not live in this country.’ Pg 37
Achebe goes on the write about the publication of the Weekly Star of 15 May 1983 that had on its front page under the title, ‘The Nigerian and Corruption’. It reads:
‘Keeping an average Nigerian from being corrupt is like keeping a goat from eating yam.’ Pg 38
The writer uses these essays to show where the trouble with Nigeria really lies and I could not agree more with the author. This is one book that may interest citizens and leaders alike. Although the title reads, ‘The Trouble with Nigeria,’ I strongly believe that this is a book that applies not only to Nigeria only but also to so many other countries in the world.
Achebe’s The Trouble with Nigeria was first published by Heinemann (1984), and reissued by Fourth Dimension Publishing Co in 2000.