Africa at 50: Wind of Change - Episode 2

Logo for Africa at 50: Wind of Change - Episode 2

Earlier this month, Nigeria celebrated 50 years as an independent nation after a long period of colonial rule by Britain. On October 1st 1960, the Union Jack was lowered and the green-white-green of Nigeria hoisted, signalling a new dawn for Africa's most populous country. It was one of the main events of 1960- Africa's year. Nigeria was the largest- 30 million people gained their right to self-governance, and the number of countries gaining independence was to double over the next three years, as the wind of change swept through Africa. Adewale Maja-Pearce was seven at the time of independence and remembers his father's elation as newly elected Prime Minister Alhaji Tafawa Balewa assumed leadership of the government with a promise of a bright future for Nigeria. Born in London in 1953 to Yoruba and British parents, Maja-Pearce grew up in Lagos, and returned there after being educated in the UK. He's written a great deal about modern Nigeria, and many of his views are outspoken and controversial. Despite the early euphoria of independence, and despite the fact that he's chosen to make Lagos his home, he is personally very pessimistic about the future of his country. Maja-Pearce reflects on 50 years of Nigeria's independence, on the country's failure to build a shared sense of national identity, on corruption and the curse of oil, and questions the viability of modern Nigeria. Presented by journalist Adam Lusekelo Producer: Ruth Evans A Ruth Evans Production for BBC Radio 4.