When a major dam bursts in Nigeria killing thousands of people in the initial deluge, and then thousands more because of disease, Nigerians and Americans alike see it as a golden opportunity for advancing their careers. Ogbe Kolo is the current Minister of Natural Resources and sees this as a golden opportunity to work his way up the ladder to President and Mary Glass of TransAqua International is the one to help him get there by helping rebuild the broken dam. In return she'll only want the water and power rights from the dam, but Kolo can keep the naming rights to the new river and gets to be President. It's a win-win situation for everyone save those who happen to live and depend on the Niger River and its waters for anything at all.
Naturally there is some opposition to these plans on both sides of the world. In Nigeria they are headed up by Femi Jegede, whose home village was destroyed in the deluge. After recovering from his grief he has become determined to prevent the plans of Ogbe Kolo from bearing fruit. Across the Atlantic Ocean, Barbara Glass is equally determined to prevent her sister Mary from succeeding in her efforts. She joins a radical water group, Drop Of Life, in that known hotbed of socialism, Ottawa, Canada, to coordinate resistance with her Nigerian "brothers and sisters". That she barely knows where Nigeria is doesn't prevent her from hopping a plane to travel there in order to "mobilize" resistance.
From corner corporate offices to the corridors of power in Nigeria and from the jungles surrounding the Niger River to the backwoods of Ottawa, Enahoro leads us around the world as we follow her assorted mix of characters. Save for Femi and his companions, they are a collection of the least likable sorts ever assembled. All of them, from President Kolo to the Glass sisters and their supporting casts, serve nobody and nothing but their own ambitions. Enahoro mercilessly skewers everything from new age pretensions to capitalist greed as she follows each of her characters' globe-hopping search for personal fulfillment.
The problem is that in her eagerness to attack so many targets, we lose sight of the reality. While the press material claims Doing Dangerously Well is the first satire to deal with the issue of disaster capitalism, and by extension the way in which governments are coerced into selling off their resources by the World Bank and the IMF, there's far too much chaff thrown up by her multi-pronged attack for the reader to focus on any one subject. While I agree with her assessments of all her targets, it might have been better to tackle each of them separately. There is the basis for three good books in this one, but instead they've been crammed under one cover and the whole suffers accordingly.