His nineteenth-century cousin, paddled ashore by slaves, twisted the arms of tribal chiefs to sign away their territorial rights in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Sixty years later, his grandfather helped craft Nigeria's constitution and negotiate its independence, the first of its kind in Africa. Four decades later, Peter Cunliffe-Jones arrived as a journalist in the capital, Lagos, just as military rule ended, to face the country his family had a hand in shaping.Part family memoir, part history, My Nigeria is a piercing look at the colonial legacy of an emerging power in Africa. Marshalling his deep knowledge of the nation's economic, political, and historic forces, Cunliffe-Jones surveys its colonial past and explains why British rule led to collapse at independence. He also takes an unflinching look at the complicated country today, from email hoaxes and political corruption to the vast natural resources that make it one of the most powerful African nations; from life in Lagos's virtually unknown and exclusive neighborhoods to the violent conflicts between the numerous tribes that make up this populous African nation. As Nigeria celebrates five decades of independence, this is a timely and personal look at a captivating country that has yet to achieve its great potential.
"Mr. Cunliffe -Jones has produced a sweeping yet intimate portrait of his and his distinguished family’s sojourn in Africa’s most populous and complicated nation – Nigeria. It is a work that deserves widespread critical attention. A triumph!"--Chinua Achebe
“Peter Cunliffe-Jones, a veteran journalist, follows in the footsteps of his forefathers—a colonizer and an administrator—and serves up a must read for anybody looking to understand Africa’s most dynamic country. In this empathetic, keenly-observed, multigenerational memoir, Cunliffe-Jones expertly lays out the challenges facing Nigeria as it approaches 50 years of independence and finds itself once again on the brink.”--Stephan Faris, author of Forecast
"Nigeria is a big subject, but Cunliffe-Jones cuts it down to size. Enriched by his own experience and his family's own role in the country's past, this vivid book is more than a history. It is like stumbling upon a time capsule."--Robert Calderisi, author of The Trouble with Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn't Working
“A very readable history of Nigeria, a personal memoire and a family history all in one book. Peter Cunliffe-Jones has produced a warm and enlightening introduction to this huge, dynamic and fascinating country and its damaged past. Intriguing and sometimes shocking it explains why Nigeria today is the frustrated giant of Africa.”--Richard Dowden, author of Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles
"This is an excellent, readable book both for those who think they know Nigeria and those who are just curious about the country."-- Father Matthew Kukah, Leading Nigerian commentator