Latest Issue

Good luck Nigeria

Fifty years after independence, Africa’s most populous country is finally trying to clean up its act

By Richard Dowden   October 2010

Fifty years ago, on 1st October 1960, the word “freedom” dominated the pages of Nigeria’s Daily Times. It marked both independence from Britain and the wave of optimism then surging across Africa. “Two great assets we have inherited from the British: parliamentary democracy and the rule of law,” read the editorial. “We shall firmly uphold these principles… ”

Less than six years later the military took over, and ruled for most of the next 33 years. But looking back, it is amazing that Nigeria held together at all. Named in 1914 by the wife of Lord Lugard, the territory has…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect