Happy Birthday to one of our own Emmanuel Precious May Chiukwu Okike Ahbiama keep you to see his Kingdom come here on Earth Isee Isee Iseee
Edited and Published by Udeagha Obasi.
For UmuChiukwu Writers.
The oil rivers protectorate was amalgamated with some other conquered territories to form the Niger Coast Protectorate in 1893, and the Bini Kingdom was merged with the Niger Coast Protectorate in 1897. The Niger Coast Protectorate was amalgamated with chartered territories of the Royal Niger Company to form the Southern Protectorate in 1900. In 1906, the Lagos colony was amalgamated with the Southern protectorate and in 1914, the Northern and Southern protectorates were amalgamated.
Why did the British force groups of people who were so different in many ways from a union? To understand this conundrum, one has to look at the antecedents of the administrators at that time. Who oversaw the amalgamation of Nigeria? Lord Lugard was the British official who saw his wife allegedly coined the merger of Nigeria and the name Nigeria. Lord Lugard worked for some British corporations whose economic interests lay in British colonies. He used to work for the British West Charterland Company,
the Royal East African Company before transferring to the Royal Niger Company.
As with all corporations, the primary motive is profit. These weren’t the days of Corporate Social Responsibility and even if a corporation had some moral justification to provide social benefits, it certainly didn’t feel this way about people it felt were savages.
Consequently, the order-in-council came into force in January 1914. The British solved administrative problems this way. It didn’t need to have two Governors for the two protectorates, and some would argue that there should have been at least 3 or 4 protectorates. It needed to build railways to transport resources to the ports. Despite his conviction about spreading Christianity and education, Lugard did not encourage Christian missionaries settling in the North because he needed the help of the emirs to rule indirectly as the Northern protectorate was vast in geographical terms.
The principal revenues at the time were from taxes on alcohol and Import duties; with alcohol prohibited in the North and Ocean in the South, the North became significantly disadvantaged economically. Consequently, the British were able to use revenue from the South to support both protectorates without recourse to British public funds. Lugard, in one of his letters to London, stated that the North is poor, without resources, and no access to the sea.
An argument has been extended by some Nigerians such as Yusuf Bala Usman, who drew on the works of eminent historians such as Ade Ajayi, Alagoa, and Anene. These works draw attention to the geographical compactness of Nigeria and that it was this compactness which made amalgamation necessary. They refer to the complementarity of the Sudan Belt and the Forest Zone and the Middle Belt and the unity of the river systems which promote contact between the North and South.
But are these legitimate reasons for amalgamations? In any case, fusion wasn’t required for interaction that would have happened naturally. Portugal shares a long border with Spain and interaction has been taking place along this border for centuries; does
Portugal needs to be a part of Spain. It would appear that the British failed to take into consideration, or conveniently ignored, the high degree of social, economic and political heterogeneity among the various groups in Nigeria. This is particularly worrisome given the relationships that existed between some of these groups before amalgamation.
The Fulani conquest of the Hausa states, the internecine Yoruba wars, the resistance of Fulani expansion by the Kanem-Bornu and Yoruba group, the minimal contact between the Igbo and the two other major groups are some of the factors that should have been taken into consideration by the British. Second, the British failed to involve all groups in the administration of the country. Third, the British failed to take into account the vast differences in methods of government, political structure, and authority patterns that existed in the various regions.
The degree to which a colonial power interferes in the power-sharing arrangement in a new nation with a high level of heterogeneity is likely to cause rancour which will result in conflict once the imperial power has exited the stage. The British indirect system of rule in the Northern protectorate required fewer administrators and fewer problems for the British. With colonisation drawing to a close all over the world and British influence dwindling, Britain needed to maintain this system of indirect rule and sought to continue controlling the affairs of the new nation. It tried to consolidate power in the Northern protectorate and was accused of tampering with census
figures and influencing the make-up of the coalition government after the1959 elections.
These are nothing but the evil signatories of the British government, just for free access to our natural resources. Today, the amalgamation has expired, and Biafrans seek only for their freedom, losing more than one thousand souls at recent, even though we don't know how much more we are going to lose. The same freedom has kept the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Dr Nnamdi Kanu in prison against the rule of law. But we Biafrans are more determined,
to the extent that we will take more than the risk to become free in this hell called Nigeria. Remember, Biafra is an ideology; an ideology can't be defeated.

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