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COLONIAL ADMINISTRATION (HISTORICAL BACKGROUND)

Government (Secondary School)

Following the Berlin Conference of 1884 – 85 under the chairmanship of Ottovon Bismarck of Germany.  Where the scramble for and the partitioning of West Africa by the European nations acted as the catalyst of the establishment of colonial administration in West Africa.  With the exception of Liberia, the whole of West African countries came under the colonial rule of Britain, France, Germany and Portugal- Nations that shared out West Africa as a result of the partitioning in Berlin.  It would be recalled that, the period 1885 – 1950s served as period of colonial rule in West Africa. Where the resources generated in the system are not retained in the system for meaningful development where they were carted away to develop metropolitan Europe.

REASONS FOR COLONIALISM

  1. Trade and commerce was the driving force of colonialism. Following the industrial revolution in the 17th century in Europe led to the search for raw materials included rubber, gold, ivory, cocoa, palm oil and groundnuts.
  2. They also sought markets in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa for their manufactured products.
  3. They introduced slavery in order to maintain some colonies.
  4. They brought their culture and religion to the colonies, so as to bring civilization to them.
  5. Some acquired colonies to protect their missionaries.

 

INDIRECT RULE

Indirect rule is a system adopted by the British to rule her colonies with use of local chiefs or other appointed intermediaries and traditional laws and customs with British officials merely supervising the administration.  Sir Lord Lugard introduced indirect rule to Nigeria following its success in India and Uganda.

 

FEATURES OF INDIRECT RULE

  1. Indirect rule used the existing traditional system of administration
  2. Traditional laws and customs were used in the administration
  • The system was meant to assist in the development of the traditional political institutions for effective administration.
  1. It was not an expensive system of administration
  2. Taxes were collected
  3. Warrant officers/chiefs were appointed where there were no traditional chiefs or rulers

 

REASONS FOR THE INTRODUCTION OF THE INDIRECT RULE SYSTEM

  1. Lack of adequate personnel was one of the major reasons for the adoption of indirect rule in Nigeria. This was because few Europeans were prepared to come to West Africa owing to adverse climatic condition which decimated them with mosquitoes and tsetse fly.
  2. Inadequate fund is another factor responsible for the adoption of indirect rule. This was because Britain was reluctant to involve huge financial outlay on her colonies.
  3. The success of indirect rule in India and Uganda made it to be adopted in Nigeria
  4. It was introduced merely to preserve the existing customs and traditions of the people
  5. Language barrier was another probable factor responsible for the adoption of indirect rule

 

THE ROLES OF TRADITIONAL RULERS IN THE INDIRECT RULE SYSTEM

  1. Collection of Taxes
  2. They acted as a link between the local people and the colonial government
  3. They maintained law and order by establishing police force
  4. They were members of the legislative councils there by helping in making Colonial laws
  5. They controlled the native authorities

 

INDIRECT RULE IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

  1. The use of traditional administration Lord Lugard recorded a huge success mainly because he used the highly developed traditional system of administration that was already existing in northern Nigeria
  2. The autocratic Nature of Emirs: The Emirs were respected and obeyed. These rare qualities helped the system of indirect rule to fully succeed when it was introduced
  3. Islamic religion was the dominant religion the people of Northern Nigeria practiced. It preached submissiveness to the people in authority. This made room for the success of indirect rule
  4. Low level of education of the people contributed greatly to the success of the system by virtue of the fact that they were relatively illiterate
  5. Well-organized system of taxation was in place which generated much money for the running of the administration.

 

EVALUATION

  1. Read J.D. Fage, A short history of Africa penguin books
  2. See your workbook for further practice
  3. See past WASSCE Question papers

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See also

THE FIRST REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION OF 1963

INDEPENDENCE CONSTITUTION OF 1960

CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

LYTTLETON CONSTITUTION OF 1954

CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

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