1960s >> 1960 >> no-671-july-1960

Book Review: Nigeria

New Nigerians, by Mora Dickson (Dobson, 25s.)
This book describes an experiment that was carried out at Man-of-War Bay in the south east of Nigeria by the author and her husband. The experiment consisted of a highly intensive training course to test the initiative, enterprise and ability to lead, and to follow, of students who were specially chosen from all over Nigeria. The instructor was selected from the Nigerian police. It was his job to set the tone of the course, and the exercises were designed to prove the students “worthy citizens” and “ upholders of the law.” In referring to a special course for schoolboys, the author says this:

   They were picked from the cream of the Nigerian secondary schools. The best equipment and housing had been provided for them. The whole system of living was based on the English public school.

The author makes no attempt to critically evaluate the intentions behind the scheme and leaves the impression of a woman accepting without question that her suburban values are superior to all others. I found this book rather dull, but it was interesting to note the attempts that are being made to introduce western civilisation into Nigeria and to consider the reasons.

Although Nigeria gains her independence this year, there is still a lot of British capital invested there which has to be protected. This is done by instilling into the minds of prospective administrators of capitalism in Nigeria the ideology and values of the western world, and breaking up the workers themselves into different groups. Technicians and officials preoccupied with their own prosperity and high standing in the community can be relied upon not to identify themselves with the great mass of workers struggling to better their standard of living. So we have the new Nigerians, the new broom sweeping away age-old tribal custom, and Mora Dickson playing her part in the debasement of the African with enthusiasm.

Jack Law

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