Sir Frederick (later Lord) Lugard was to play a fundamental role in the subsequent history of colonial Nigeria. His aim was to merge two parts of a country into a single colony. Despite resistance to this process in Lagos, the rest of the territory did not cause problems. Here we will talk about one of the most epic event in Nigerian history.
Lord Lugard biography
Initially, he arrived in Northern Nigeria in 1895 from Uganda to the military campaigns of George Goldie authorized Royal Niger Company and was the man who conquered northern Nigeria militarily. Sokoto, the seat of the caliphate, was the last Northern Territory captured by the British in 1903.
His military campaign in the north of Nigeria included his famous march to Borgu and race on Nikki, who formed the basis of Britain's claim to Northern Nigeria. This was a result of his successful military campaign in the north, which was on the 1st of January, 1900. He was appointed first British High Commissioner of Northern Nigeria, after the district administration of the Royal Niger Company was brought to an end, and formally a British protectorate was established there. It was about 15 years after the separate and distinct British protectorate was established in Southern Nigeria.
British plans on Nigeria
Even then, England had no definite plans for the future of its new colony. There was no real debate in the British House of Commons on what to do with their new colony, as there was no real enthusiasm among the leading British politicians on the acquisition of new territories. The emphasis in the British colonial office was deposited with the barest minimum cost of administering this vast territory.
It was a little long-range planning in the UK for the future of their new colony. In the case of Nigeria it was left and ruled in three separate pieces, subsequently reduced to two units, North and South Nigeria, and in 1912 under Sir (later Lord) Lugard as the first British governor general colonial Nigeria.
Amalgamation of Nigeria
Between 1900 -12 it was the one in which the two halves of the protectorate, inheriting a fundamentally different form of government and the major political and social structures that differed radically in the administrative and political styles.
Administrative structures in Nigeria before establishing the associations were very diverse. It was as if Britain does create two different countries. When Lugard returned to Nigeria as Governor-General in 1912 and presented the association in 1914, mainly for financial reasons, the content of enlargement had been profoundly influenced by previous experience of Lugard in Northern Nigeria and its disregard for the South of Nigeria.
In fact, there was little or no unification, as Lugard simply superimposed on the existing structure of the colony in northern Nigeria, particularly troublesome system of indirect rule. Lugard did not make any serious efforts to bring North and South Nigeria under the sole and central administration. Most of the time he ran a colonial territory while he was in the north in the administrative system, which was so obviously incongruous.
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When talking about his political memoranda, amalgamation Reports, and his numerous works on the new colony, it was doubtful that Lugard, or most of his successors in the colony, in fact, were thinking about the future of Nigeria with a view of a single political entity. In 1919 Lugard's successor as the governor-general, Hyu Klifford, warned that 'the coordination of all administrative work should be directed from a single centre'.
His successor, Richard Palmer, did not agree with this view but instead claimed that Nigeria was a geographical expression, he named three divergent although contiguous chunks of Africa. British colonial policy in Africa was very different from the French colonial policy of assimilation, which later provided its colonies to the French state. Lugard and most of his administrative successor in Nigeria had a different vision for the country.
The amalgamation was being celebrated by the federal government. It was certainly very unpopular in both North and South of Nigeria at the time, and was vigorously opposed by the educated elite of Lagos. In the north, the powerful emirates were against it, as it was feared that a centralized administrative system would weaken their power, which was actually dependent on the British rule, while in the south it was feared as it could have led to the introduction of an unpopular system of indirect rule and collapse few political rights. Lagos based on the educated elite enjoyed the legislative council system.
Sir Arthur Richards, another Governor General, when considering the 1923 Clifford Constitution, stated that his primary objective was to promote the unity of Nigeria. But due to his creation of regional councils in the three provinces in which Nigeria was divided, he managed to strengthen the already existing trend towards regionalization in Nigeria. Richards justified his new constitution for Nigeria. It was based on the fact that the Northern Nigeria would have little or nothing to do with the South.
This view was subsequently reflected in the 1940's as the Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Sir Ahmadu Bello, who said it was clear that they both considered Nigeria as a mere geographical expression, rather than a single country. In fact, Sir Ahmadu Bello later complained publicly that "error 1914" (i.e., association) came to light. It was a compromise that the federal system had introduced as the best suited for the Nigerian environment.
Unification established modern Nigeria, but not without some strains, as it forced the various ethnic groups in Nigeria to a single political entity. It was like trying to make a political alliance between France, Germany and Great Britain. Belgium is an excellent example of a country in which two separate and different nationalities were combined with predictable results, similar to the situation in Nigeria.
In fact, it was only in Nigeria that the British colonialists used the word "amalgamation". The term had not been applied to any of their other colonies in Africa or elsewhere. Whatever they considered the dignity of enlargement, it was not an event to celebrate.
Onсe Professor Tamuno, chairman of the celebration of the planning committee, noted historian, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, said:
'It's humiliating. We just have to mark it as an important event in the political development of Nigeria. I do not know of any other former British colonies, which celebrated its purchase in this manner. The idea has advantages in Africa.
It was the British colonial genius that made Nigeria. But they will not celebrate it, for obvious reasons. In fact, if they tried to celebrate this event, we have to oppose it as demeaning to us. Our African brothers, of course, consider the planned celebration rather strange. As a nation, we have worked tirelessly to keep the nation united. But we should not celebrate the event in our colonial history, which we should not be proud of.
Of course, Union was a historical event in Nigeria and cannot be forgotten entirely. The intention here is not completely blackened the British rule in Nigeria, as it has made the country something good. It introduced Western education in the south and a justice system that is fair in general. But this is my opinion is well thought out, that we just have to mention the merger with workshops, not to celebrate him, as if it was the idea of our nation and leaders.
It's unfortunate that Nigerian and African history is not seriously taught in our schools and universities. If they were, we would, of course, take a different view of the plan to mark this episode of our history'.
He understands the meaning of evrything done here. It would be better for him to advise the government that instead of the planned complex of celebrations, we just have to mark the occasion by holding lectures and seminars across the country. It would be much cheaper, more relevant and more meaningful. What we need is a sober reflection of the fact, what the union has really meant for Nigeria.
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