The First Regular Combatant: Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari

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In his biography of the late Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari, Haruna Poloma has brought to life one of Nigeria’s forgotten heroes. This is an ambitious book, over fifteen years in the making – the author began working on the book in 1999 – and the finished product is a testament to the amount of work the author dedicated to his task. Perhaps the most singular thing about the book is its form, its “anthological style”. Each chapter is a reminiscence by an acquaintance, a friend, or a professional colleague of the late Maimalari, and from these reminiscences and anecdotes we get an extraordinary oral history not just of the subject, but also of an important, foundational moment in Nigeria’s history.

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