People, Politics and Politicians of Nigeria, 1940-1979 is Bola Ige’s account of political events and development from the years just after the 1939 – 1945 war, through the period of decolonization, to independence; through thirteen years of military rule and on to 1979 when civilian rule was ushered in once more, with Bola Ige himself as one of the main actors.
The opening chapter has interesting anecdotes of the early life of “Kaduna Boy” Bola Ige- and about life in cosmopolitan Kaduna.
Written in the clear, readable and pungent style that one has come to associate with “Cicero” Ige, this account of politics and politicians, told by one of Nigeria’s most politically sensitive individuals, is an extremely valuable addition to Nigeriana.The book covers all the main episodes of Nigerian politics: from the days when
Herbert Macaulay and Nnamdi Azikwe were the main figures, to the rise of Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, S.L. Akintola, Eyo Ita, Adegoke Adelabu, Bode Thomas, Michael Okpara, J.S. Tarka, Aminu Kano, et al. The struggle for regaining independence; the politics of the years 1960-1965; the crisis that led to military rule and civil war; the Gowon regime;’ the Murtala Muhammed/Obasanjo administration; the return to civilian rule-these are among the episodes told in a manner which only Bola Ige can. His knowledge of many of the political actors; his understanding of “Northern Nigeria”; his close relationship with J.S. Tarka; his admiration for, and loyalty to, Chief Awolowo; his own involvement in the Action Group; his genuine commitment to the Nigerian state as a geo-political entity; his service under the Military in the Western State; his personal relations with a large number of Nigerians across many an ethnic line- all of these enable the author to tell his story with a flow and a mastery of fact and analysis that gives this book a very special flavour.
People, Politics and Politicians of Nigeria does not say the last word on politics in Nigeria from 1940- 1979. No book can ever do. But it does say such an authentic word about the politics and politicians of the period, including the military actors who took up thirteen of the years covered by the book, to make it compulsory reading for all who seek to educate themselves about the political evolution of Nigeria.