Description

Nation building is not a project for the faint-hearted or for those with a short memory. It needs statesmen and women, thinkers, and active citizens. And it takes very little for granted. In this book, essayist, activist, and organizer, Chido Onumah, explains all this using as his raw material Nigeria’s contemporary political economy and history. In law as in politics, countries are defined by a population within bounded territories under a common sovereign. Boundaries, howsoever defined, are, however, not facts of nature; they are artificial. They can be formed, re-formed, un-formed, negotiated and re-negotiated. In this collection, Chido Onumah makes a case for not taking Nigeria or its citizens for granted. It is at once a passionate cry for a better country; a compelling argument for rational debate about the future of the country; and an articulate appeal for committed citizenship. In this book, Chido Onumah shows what is possible when national issues are tackled with rigour and intellectual honesty. Somewhat more than the arguments that it seeks to put forward, therefore, this book is also a record of Nigeria’s contemporary history in the last quarter century, from the perspective of a Nigerian whose growing up happened during the period. Fittingly, it is published on the cusp of the Nigerian centenary. This book does not set out to win a popularity contest. Its passion is relentless; its prose is committed and its logic takes few prisoners. Most who read it will find something in it to disagree with and also much in it to agree with. But such is the enterprise of nation-building. If this book reminds us of the unfinished tasks of nation building at the exclamation point of Nigeria’s Centenary, then the author has served a brilliant purpose. – (Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, Ph.D., Chair of the Governing Council, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Nigeria).

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