...the light to the people

Nigeria: The Contradictions By Baron Roy.

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Chapter 1

The British invaded the space we call Nigeria in the 19th Century. By 1897, we had the Lagos, Southern and Northern Protectorates. The Lagos Protectorate was later subsumed into the Southern Protectorate.

The British implemented the Direct Rule System of Government in the Southern Protectorate and the Indirect Rule in the Northern Protectorate. These were two very distinct systems of government, with different outcomes.

The Direct Rule System was such that British officials and civil servants were directly in charge of administration. There were courts manned by British judges, civil service manned by the British, Municipal and District Officers, etc were manned by the British. The existing traditional system of government was totally castrated and basically non-existent. The language of instruction was the English Language. The Southern Protectorate was an absolute British colony.

The Indirect Rule System was implemented in the Northern Protectorate. The British signed a pact with the Sultan of Sokoto and other major Emirs with an understanding that even if the British were in charge, Caliphate officials would exercise the powers of direct administration on the larger populace but answerable to the British. As a result of this, the traditional government of the Sultan, Emirs and Serikis were not dismantled but rather strengthned. The British administered the traditional councils while those in turn administered the people. The language of instruction was the Hausa Language. The Northern Protectorate was never a true colony of the British. They dealt with the British on a quasi-equal terms as a Vassal State and not a Colony.

The British left and the Northern Protectorate simply reverted to the pre-existing arrangement; Nigeria with the Southern Protectorate was an unexpected bonus. The comment made by Ahmadu Bello on October 12th, 1960 in the Parrot lends credence to this:

"Nigeria is the estate of our grandfather Usman Dan Fodio. We shall use the ethnic minorities in the North as a willing tool to to dominate the South. We shall not allow the South to rule over us nor have control over their destiny."

Recall the traditional system of government in the Southern Protectorate had been all but destroyed. The exit of the British provided no succour. The Southern Protectorate has been without an effective system of governance and control since 1897 while the North simply waxes stronger. The merger of the two as a single country gives an undue advantage to the Northern side. They have a system which is lacking in the South. The South has tried to make up for this by adopting the British system wholly. That has been fraught with challenges as it is obvious the Southern side of Nigeria lacks an organized governance structure.

The amalgamation of the protectorate in 1914 was a great error as two very different countries were merged as one with an artificial common destiny. The result has been devastating. The two countries have struggled to find a bearing in 103 years of existence. Lives have been lost and the Human Development Index is one of the lowest in the world!

That's why Nigerian is not working and the South is bearing the brunt. What do we do?

(to be continued)
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