‘Hubris: A Brief Political History of The Nigerian Army’ – A Review

Author: Akintunde A. Akinkunmi

Publisher/Publication date: AMV Publishing/2018

Length: 227 pages

This book is true to its title. In its unique brevity, the author does an amazing job of documenting the events in the years leading to the first military on January 15, 1966. He highlights the major actors, their motivations and the reasons for the failure of the coup. He goes further to explain the far-reaching implications of the coup and the eventual breakout of the Nigerian Civil War in 1967. The author also highlights the period of the war, the misery and the unlearnt lessons which still continue to colour the country’s chequered history.

An interesting bit in this book is how the author was able to analyse the major actors behind subsequent failed and successful coups as well as the make-up of the different military administrations in the upheavals between 1966 – 1999. In Hubris, the reader would learn about the doings and 'undoings' of the military and how the different governments in those years led Nigeria on the path from which the country has not successfully navigated.

For every young Nigerian, I believe this book would arm them with an interesting perspective on an important part of Nigeria’s history after independence. In my notes, I wrote that it was my hope “that young people would wake to find out our truths and work assiduously to shun prejudices of any kind in order to work for a more united and more prosperous Nigeria”.


A number of factors stirred my interest in the book. One, I was drawn in by the personality of the author. He is a lawyer, doctor and a retired military general in the British Army. Dr. Akinkunmi, in my opinion, is an inspiration to many who believe impossible is nothing. Two, the Book Reviewer is also a Professor of History whom I have great admiration for. The last is that as a Nigerian political history enthusiast, I found it a worthy read.

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© 2020 Samuel Akinnuga.