The Trouble With Nigeria – Chinua Achebe

Year of Publication: 1984

Genre: Fiction

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.

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22 Responses to The Trouble With Nigeria – Chinua Achebe

  1. This is a bold write, yet what do we need to uproot this boulder of a problem than people with the temerity to write about it. And it is this corruption of Africa’s leaders and its people that has taken the continent many centuries back.

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  2. Linda says:

    Indeed Corruption is a bigger issue in Nigeria and in Africa. I support the writer that corruption is so alarming everywhere in Africa. To curb this canker is the problem. Another nice review.

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  3. amymckie says:

    Ooohh I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that this is going high on my wish list. It sounds like he really wrote a hard-hitting book about it which was brave, and so important. And you are right, might be useful for more than just Nigeria.

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  4. beesomnen says:

    i commend achebe’s writing with his wise use of words and analogies. However, i do not totally agree with him on the opening paragraph where he said the trouble with nigeria is SIMPLY and SQUARELY with the LEADERSHIP. Followersthip is also a major concern amongst others.Besides, the “simply”doesnt exactly depict the picture.

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    • Geosi says:

      Beesomnen, sorry for the late reply to your comment. I would agree with you to some extent on the followership however, I would at the same time agree with Achebe on the use of ‘SIMPLY’. Why do I say to. The problem of leadership in Africa (and in this case Nigeria) is so exasperating that there could be no other proper word than what Achebe has used – this is my thought.

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  5. […] The Trouble with Nigeria by Chinua Achebe – again, more Nigerian lit This one I knew I needed to pick up after seeing Geosi’s review. […]

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  6. […] History Publisher / Year: Heinmann / 1983 Source: Book Depository Rating: 4.5/5 Why I Read It: Geosi reviewed this and really piqued my interest. Date Read: […]

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  7. ritji yilwada says:

    who could have said it better than achebe? he has said it all.

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    • Geosi says:

      Ritji, thanks for your comment. I see you really do love this book as from your comment. Achebe, I know, is a great writer by all standards. Cheers!

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  8. Stella Charles says:

    Achebe has it all on the table ,corruption is the whole ‘thing’ surrounding us.Not only in Nigeria but also amongst every individual we have around .I t has become widespread issue and is part of us and its very difficult to do away with.

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  9. achebe is a great man. When i see people who are bold enough to say and stand by d truth i say ‘great’ cos it gives hope and encouragement. To d readers i say practice it don’t just read it so we can change nigeria. Bravo man

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  10. Simon says:

    That’s a good one!
    If only our leaders can recognize this fact, and face it we will be a better country.

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  11. Sylvia ojukwu says:

    If only our leader will pick up courage and face their defect,

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  12. […]  -Caption ans text from Chinua Achebe,  The Trouble with Nigeria […]

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  13. […]  -Caption and text from Chinua Achebe,  The Trouble with Nigeria […]

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  14. TITUS KONES says:

    It is certainlytrue about Nigeria……and the driving force should be :HOW BEST CAN WE MAKE USE OF OUR PAST BAD IDENTITY TO SHAPE OUR FUTURE AND NEEDLESS TO SAY , THAT OF OUR CHILDREN :LEST GENERATION AFTER GENERATION WILL DWELL IN ABJECT POVERTY AND PROBABLY NO ONE WILL CARE OF THEIR NEIGHBOUR…..THEY WILL DO WHATEVER THEY CAN TO SATISFY THEIR DAILY BASIC NEEDS….WHETER THE MEANS OF GETTING BASIC SATISFACTIONS IS HARMFUL TO THEIR NEXT KIN OF SHIP……THEY WILL AT LEAST REALISE THIS WHEN ALREADY SATISFIED……..NO WONDER OUR ” PATRIOTIC RULERS ” SHOULD WAKE UP FROM THIER CHLOROFORMIC SLUMBER AND HAVE EYES TO LOOK AT SITUATIONS OF OUR POOR SUBMISSIVE PATRIOTIC SUBJECTS ….RATHER THAN LOOKING AT AND COMMENTING ON VIRTUAL REPRESENTATIONS OF THINGS AND SITUATIONS…………….

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