Title: Fixing Nigeria
Author: Chuks Emmanuel Inyaba-Nwazojie
Publisher: Page Publishing Inc, New York
Reviewer: SIMEON MPAMUGOH
Fixing Nigeria is a collected paper of Chuks Emmanuel Inyaba-Nwazojie based on his observations of what unfolds in Nigeria from October 1, 1960, to the present day. A volume of what he witnessed as a kid, youth and adult during Nigeria’s independence, the civil war, and the various political dispensations the country has undergone, the book is borne out of interest and passion he has for the nation and how politicians and military leaders could not tell the nation, the whereabouts of billions of dollars earned from oil.
The author, in a prosy way, paints an imagery of what is currently happening in the political scene. He aims to buoy up international debate on how to fix leadership failures in Nigeria in particular, and Africa in general. It is a patriotic cause on ways to reform the country, and make it stronger.
In the book, Chuks Emmanuel Inyaba-Nwazojie offers the reader a mirror of Nigeria from colonial rule, to civil war and how our leaders misgoverned the country by deliberately destroying every critical infrastructure left behind by the colonialists. They drove out international investors, seized their businesses and handed them over to ‘rogue Nigerians,’ who were incapable of running the businesses.
He details problems of the country and how the once progressive, forward-looking nation can be reformed. The book equally lists names of those who created problems for the nation, after that turn around to blame the colonialists when in fact, they are the new colonialists who fleece the nation’s collective wealth.
He identifies a number of areas to be reformed. He avers that, in the looming reforms, leadership and future generation of the country should be the focus. He posits that, though Nigerian leaders’ new defense mechanism has been the use of neocolonialism to deny their failures while at the same time staging Nigeria and African Economic Forums to enrich themselves and families, rather than help the nation achieve meaningful economic development. “Nigerian leaders cannot solve its problems without first initiating top-to-bottom reforms because the nation is a ‘failed state,’ that should start all over again,” he campaigns.
He provides insight into Nigeria after the independence in page 18, and regrets that after the euphoria that greeted the end of British Rule, nobody ever thought that the newly independence Nigeria would quickly be divided by politicians along the lines of tribe, bribery and corruption, and infighting organized under tribal patronage.
Inyaba-Nwazojie’s heart goes to the Western Nigerian Political Riot of 1965, otherwise called Operation Wettee, which saw the killing of Akintola, and the trial of Awolowo for treason. On the era under the Prime Minister Abubakar, the author notes the nightmare created for the citizens who expected the freedom. “January 15, 1966, was the day the nation’s problems began a journey of no return, an evidence that the first republic politicians had failed,” he chronicles.
He gives credit to Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu who led the coup to save Nigeria from its trolley problems. He cites Nzeogwu’s reason for the military actions: “Our enemies’ are the profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand 10 percent, those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they remain in office as ministers or VIPs, …, those that make the country look big for nothing before international circles…..”
He says that what happened in 1966 was not a cause for celebration. And as a nation, no lesson has been learnt forty-nine years after a twenty-eight young military officer Nzeogwu identified and alerted the nation about the cause of its trolley problems. “Since after the civil war ended, Nigerian politicians had continued to make the same mistakes that took the nation to a three-year civil war,” he documents.
He describes Nzeogwu as a hero and true patriot who deserves to be honoured with a chair of Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu Ethics and Moral Studies Department, or Psychology Department in every Nigerian institution of higher learning, for speaking the truth in 1966 about the state of the nation.
The Countercoup In 1966 also receives a mention among issues under focus. Though declared ‘no winner and no vanquish by General Gowon.’
Yet Nigerians and government have not properly honoured the first military general of the Nigerian army, General Aguiyi Ironsi. He advocates that Ironsi’s name be emblazoned on Nigerian currency, naira, and the International Airport and the military defense academy in Kaduna named after him, while his host, and the military governor of the Western Region, Colonel Fajuyi equally honoured with a street in Abuja for their effort to bring peace and unity to the country.
Equally mirrored in the 247-page book were Colonel Yakubu Gowon, Military Head of State; 1966-1975, and Colonel Ojukwu who the author says tried their best despite facing toughest moments of lifetime.
Some of the stories are short. Yet the messages are realistic and enlightening. It traverses all aspects of the country’s national life, and interrogates Nigeria’s leadership; the maltreatment of the Igbo after the war ended. Igbo braved the odds and remain globally competitive. Get a copy and read it up, it is enriching and informative, alongside the author’s revelation about malfeasances in the leadership of the country.
A green horn in art of writing, the author later found writing interesting and enjoyable. He tried in revealing the genesis of the Nigeria’s trolley problems and how it became a failed state in Africa. He anchors the book on the issue of whether Nigeria can successfully carry out reforms. Nonetheless, if it does, it will spur Nigerians into action. The epilogue in this literary work, which also contains pictorials of Nigerian leaders, past and present, is an invitation to all across the world to join in the debate to patch up Nigeria, and Africa in general.
Historically, the book, Fixing Nigeria, is a good collection on trajectory of the country up to the present times. It is worthy of read by all Nigerians, especially history students who were not born during the civil war. However, the author needs to consult an editor for some improvements in the syntax and punctuation. There are typographical errors that need to be fixed on the event of a reprint edition.