from Africa in Transition

Chinua Achebe in the NYT

January 19, 2011

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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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Nigeria

Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe addresses the Steve Biko memorial ceremony in Cape Town on the 25th anniversary of the activist's death in police custody, September 12, 2002. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

In the end, I foresee that the Nigerian solution will come in stages. First we have to nurture and strengthen our democratic institutions — and strive for the freest and fairest elections possible. That will place the true candidates of the people in office. Within the fabric of a democracy, a free press can thrive and a strong justice system can flourish. The checks and balances we have spoken about and the laws needed to curb corruption will then naturally find a footing.

Chinua Achebe, the celebrated novelist, essayist and prophet, has published a jewel of analysis of African ills that is a ’must read’ for those concerned about Nigeria.  In only a few hundred words he reviews the continuing impact of the colonial legacy, analyzes the failure of African governance, especially its politicians, and lays out the moral basis  for continuing Western engagement.  His criticism of contemporary Nigeria is trenchant.  Though Achebe lives in the United States, he has enormous influence among Nigerians looking for fundamental change both at home and in the Diaspora.

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