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Nigeria review: there is cause for hope as well as despair in Africa’s giant

A new book artfully summarises a fascinating and sometimes troubled history

By Noo Saro-Wiwa  

Supporters of Nigeria's new President Muhammadu Buhari celebrate his victory after the elections this year. © AP Photo/Ben Curtis

The Nigerian nation was a concept “as manifest an absurdity as that there is, or can be, a European nation at all events until the arrival of the Millennium.” Those were the words of Sir Hugh Clifford, the then Governor-General of Nigeria, to the Nigeria Council in 1920.

With such shaky foundations…

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