Film: Naij, A History of Nigeria

By The Ligali Organisation | Mon 12 May 2008

Documentary on the history of Nigeria and its governance. Director: Jide Olanrewaju

A three hour plus brute force visual-audio analysis of Nigerian politics over several decades that provides a backdrop answering why the miseducated stereotypical view of Nigeria is that of a hotbed of corruption, mismanagement, fraud and war.

Director: Jide Olanrewaju

Director Jide Olanrewaju has achieved a momentous task in recovering a widely unknown account of Nigeria’s traumatic history of governance based upon a western model of ‘democracy’. This corrupt political system that was forcibly imposed upon it by the British is still in place despite the fact that it neither fits nor suits indigenous African people. Documentary is not the right word for this project which covers issues as diverse as the evil regime of Abacha to the type of military and police brutality inflicted upon Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti that still exists in Nigeria today.

Olanrewaju has create a no holds barred style production which is akin to a MTV production in places with its bizarre choice of pop fonts and jarring background music that are in many places more similar to that of an advert than a documentary. Yet as the film unravels we are introduced to a calmer but still potent delivery as rhythms from Fela Kuti start to infiltrate the proceedings and the film’s artistic vision slowly begins to reflect its content.

However this should only be seen as a minor criticism of a production that is over three hours in duration yet still manages to be engaging throughout. To its expose of the gunpoint democracy favoured by the British to the covert mechanisms of manipulation as currently used by the United States intelligent agencies, this is undoubtedly a historic piece that makes up for what it lacks in style with raw information. Some of the analysis is weak, but this may be due to the socio-political naivety of the young director, likewise the overt jingoism proclaiming Nigeria the worlds greatest ‘black’ nation is clumsy and misplaced. Nonetheless the research, inclusion of newspaper archives, newsreel clips and sincere commentary deliver a package that should be seen not only by all with Nigerian heritage, but also all those who are African.

External Links
Trailer - Naij, A History of Nigeria

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