Nigeria at Fifty : The Nation in Narration book cover
1st Edition

Nigeria at Fifty
The Nation in Narration

ISBN 9780415828871
Published December 4, 2012 by Routledge
176 Pages

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Book Description

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous and biggest democracy, celebrates her fiftieth year as an independent nation in October 2010. As the cliché states, ‘As Nigeria goes, so goes Africa’. This book frames the socio-historical and political trajectory of Nigeria while examining the many dimensions of the critical choices that she has made as an independent nation. How does the social composition of interest and power illuminate the actualities and narratives of the Nigerian crisis? How have the choices made by Nigerian leaders structured, and/or have been structured by, the character of the Nigerian state and state-society relations? In what ways is Nigeria’s mono-product, debt-ridden, dependent economy fed by ‘the politics of plunder’? And what are the implications of these questions for the structural relationships of production, reproduction and consumption?

This book confronts these questions by making state-centric approaches to understanding African countries speak to relevant social theories that pluralize and complicate our understanding of the specific challenges of a prototypical postcolonial state.

This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Contemporary African Studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction – Nigeria at 50: The Nation in Narration Ebenezer Obadare and Wale Adebanwi  2. The Limits of Charismatic Authority and the Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria Eghosa Osaghae  3. Between Elite Protectionism and Popular Resistance: The Political Economy of Nigeria’s Fractured State since Juridical Independence Kunle Amuwo  4. The Petroleum Industry: A Paradox or (Sp)oiler of Development? Cyril Obi  5. The Nigerian Federal System: Performance, Problems and Prospects Rotimi Suberu  6. How God became a Nigerian! Religious Impulse and the Unfolding of a Nation Afe Adogame  7. Nigerian Elections and the Neopatrimonial Paradox: In Search of the Social Contract Darren Kew

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Ebenezer Obadare is an assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, USA. He is the co-editor of Encountering the Nigerian State (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2010). A MacArthur Foundation Research and Writing grant awardee, Dr. Obadare’s articles have appeared in African Affairs, The Journal of Modern African Studies, Development in Practice, Politique Africaine, Africa Development, African Identities, and the Review of African Political Economy.

Wale Adebanwi is an assistant professor in the African American and African Studies at University of California-Davis in the United States. He is the co-editor of Encountering the Nigerian State (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2010). A recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Research and Writing grant, Adebanwi’s articles have appeared in the Journal of Historical Sociology, The Journal of Modern African Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Media, Culture and Society, Review of African Political Economy, Citizenship Studies and the Journal of African History.


Nigeria’s modern history can be described as the twinning of hope and disaster. In this volume, composed to commemorate the country's golden jubilee, Ebenezer Obadare and Wale Adebanwi warn that Nigeria runs the risk of "exploding or imploding at any point" given the large number of unresolved national problems. Yet, the editors of this important book affirm that "Nigeria still contains within her the transformational possibilities and human potentialities which can be mobilized, harnessed and leveraged by a new kind of leadership". Students of African politics will delight in this volume of essays by leading academics and the many insights it provides on the Nigerian predicament of political instability and stalled development.

Professor Richard Joseph, John Evans Professor of Political Science, Northwestern University.