The case against the British
BY AKIN OSUNTOKUN
“In 1914, modern Nigeria came into being under the leadership of an autocratic governor, Sir Frederick Lugard, who succeeded in isolating one Nigerian group from the other… It was Charles Temple, the dean of the northern residents and his racist traveling companion, Sir Richmond Palmer. , who indoctrinated the emirs of the North on their total difference, not only political, but even racial with their compatriots of the South. Sir Theodore Adams went so far as to say, in 1941, that the Amirs considered the northern provinces to be a country in their own right and that forced cooperation with the South would lead to a demand for “Pakistan”
“With Lord Lugard’s arbitrary conception of Nigeria in mind, one can begin to see the many and varied problems that colonialism has created in Nigeria, across West Africa and around the world. The problem of a unifying national identity was not the least of these problems, for Nigeria in particular. It is no wonder that diverse peoples, forcibly united in one state, sometimes turn to separatism ”- Jack McCaslin
Gradually, the chicken is coming home to roost as Nigeria divides into its pre-merger parts of the northern and southern protectorate. The Briton was both Nigeria’s amalgamator and its chief divider, to use the jargon of the Nigerian presidency.
After reuniting the two protectorates, they spent the rest of their colonial and neo-colonial rule separating them. “A frequently heard joke was that if all Africans left Nigeria, the administrations of the South and the North could go to war …. in administration, in land policy, in a dozen different areas of colonial government, the administration did not strengthen the unity of the colony, but the differences between North and South ”. With Nigeria once again on the brink, we must start laying our cards on the table. That it is not all Nigerians’ fault and that Nigerians are more the victim than the villain in their predisposition to political implosion. As Nigeria and Africa sink deeper into the abyss of development failure, the downplaying of the role and responsibility of colonialism in the dark fate of the former colonies has accelerated.
In the spirit of full accountability and colonial entrapment in Nigeria, it is necessary to let the facts of colonialism speak for themselves.
I was truly disgusted by the smugness and mocking condescension of Prime Minister David Cameron who called Nigeria “fantastically corrupt” the other day.
Never mind that (indulging in his usual self-righteous self-righteous indignation) Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari eagerly embraced the role of Uncle Tom and enthusiastically endorsed the indictment.
This annoys not because Cameron’s claim is not true, but because it’s the seed his British ancestors sowed that predictably blossomed into that monstrous oak tree starting with cruelty and racism. superfluous by Frederick Lugard. The Nigerian crisis is as much (if not more) the responsibility of the British as it is of Nigeria. This responsibility does not end with the ill-conceived creation of Nigeria. The bad start was steadily reinforced with the insemination of hatred and division and Nigeria has (as programmed) consequently become a house divided against itself. This house has fallen, wrote Karl Maier some time ago. Yet there is this cynical British indifference to how Nigeria has become a prison in which inmates are consigned to have committed no crime.
The political malignancy that is increasingly weakening Nigeria is a self-fulfilling prophecy of British colonialism. They encouraged the two halves of Nigeria, the North and the South, especially the former, not to see each other as mutual partners in the difficult task of forging a Nigerian nation, but as adversarial rivals who have every reason to ‘be afraid and beware of one another. It was under their leadership and tutelage that the party prepared to take control of Nigeria was, in a blatant and provocative display of regional separatism, dubbed the Northern Peoples Congress, NPC. What would it have looked like if the corresponding dominant parties in the Eastern and Western regions were called the Eastern Peoples Congress (EPC) and the Western Peoples Congress (WPC). Against the rule of development ethics, British colonialism in Nigeria began by favoring consumer policy over self-reliance and development policy. If the North is perceived today as a “parasite” of the South, it is a perception which refers to the fusion prescription consisting in subscribing the cost of the administration of the North with the economic surplus realized by the South.
Lord Lugard, who by all accounts had a pathological hatred and contempt for the South, wickedly presented this arrangement as “a marriage between the” rich woman in substance and means (the south) and the “poor man. husband ”(the north) which would lead to a happy life for both. Words matter. It’s hard to criticize Harold Smith’s assessment that “Lugard certainly left a legacy of dotness and wicked racism behind him … his fabrications still color Whitehall’s attitudes towards Nigeria, which can be summed up as a good Muslim from the United States. North with pale skin, black skin Christian Sud bad ”. So when, in their eternal interethnic quarrels, you hear the southerners deploring that the Fulani have appropriated Nigeria as family and inheritance patrimony – to which the latter subscribes, it is a little word inherited from the “line that was pushed from the start of the Occupation of Nigeria by Lugard, and continued throughout the sixty years of British occupation, as the North was Nigeria, and the South increasingly reduced an extraterrestrial and extra-mural extravaganza, marginale. ”From the start, evidence abound in the gloomy reflections of the patriarchs of British colonialism that they knew all was not well and that everything was going to get worse with Nigeria. This is why the idea that the British failed Nigeria is as puzzling as it is convincing. Try this for size “Sir Francis Cumming Bruce was the incumbent British High Commissioner to Nigeria during the days, weeks s and particularly fateful months of 1966. In this capacity and more than any other individual, he was responsible for persuading the North against secession. Of his encounters with Cumming Bruce, the British frontline journalist in Nigeria in the late 1960s, Walter Gould revealed: “Cumming-Bruce succeeded in persuading the emirs that secession would have been an economic disaster… Like Cumming -Bruce said: “But it was not easy at first glance to make them change, but I managed to do it overnight. On a second meeting with Cumming-Bruce, he greeted me with the comment: “I sometimes wonder if I did the right thing to keep Nigeria together”.
President Mohammadu Buhari was right when, in what turned out to be a self-accusation of gargantuan proportions, hypocritically proclaimed “corruption will kill Nigeria if Nigeria does not kill corruption”
What he was unable to articulate was that this particular degree of corruption fundamentally stems from the subconscious alienation of Nigerians in Nigeria. You don’t revel in behavior that damages and destroys what you love, which corruption does in Nigeria. British colonialism and neo-colonialism shaped and nurtured Nigeria in a way that precipitated Nigerian alienation from Nigeria. He created a Nigeria without Nigerians, who have no empathy, who have no emotional or sentimental attachment to Nigeria. Instead of binding Nigerian citizens, they sowed and cultivated mutual fear, division and hatred. This is the best example of the North’s isolation from Western education with the predictable result of fostering a wedge of modernization between South and North. British economic and social policies, noted Mahmud Tukur, “like the blocking of access to Western education for the masses in most parts of northern Nigeria, have not resulted in development but its antithesis of regression. and stagnation ”. They encouraged and engineered issues of wedge, tribalism, and cultural division. Emile Durkeim may not have been thinking of Nigeria when he proposed the theory of “alienation and anomie”, but no characterization defines Nigeria better than a “state of anomie” of absence. standard. It is difficult, if not impossible, to discern a long-term view of Nigeria in the instant gratification syndrome that has come to define Nigeria’s governance and politics.
As the Nigerian political crisis snowballs, the logic of neocolonialism and globalization has highlighted the imperative for intervention by the international community. Only two weeks ago and with his back to the wall in the face of the spiraling security crisis afflicting Nigeria, Buhari specifically asked the United States (US) to move their Africa Command (AFRICOM) headquarters from Stuttgart to Germany in Nigeria. The request comes against the backdrop of Africa’s collective disavowal of the US initiative when it was formed years ago. It is a mark of the desperate straits that Nigeria found itself. Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari conveniently overlooked this backdrop of international awareness when he lambasted (playing the nationalist patriot’s game) anyone calling for the international community to intervene in Nigeria as unpatriotic. . “For any compatriot, to voluntarily call on foreign powers to interfere in the internal affairs of Nigeria is to demonstrate the highest level of anti-patriotism.” He berated. On the contrary, as soon as we become mutually unintelligible on issues that unite us (as is currently the case), it is better to ask for the intervention of a third party to prevent a violent rupture. No critical member of the international community owes the obligation of such intervention as the UK, UK, at least as an atonement for the many misadventures it has imposed on Nigeria. Here is a reiteration of these misadventures reported by Gould: “If Cumming-Bruce (British High Commissioner) had not intervened in the civil war, Nigeria would have fragmented into several states, perhaps as a confederation, in the style proposed by Ojukwu, and most importantly, war would have been avoided. However, Cumming-Bruce was only extending the British policy which had been formulated in the run-up to independence: that British investments would be better protected if the country was left to run into a “pair of safe hands”, those leaders of the North. … ”This is the realpolitik of British neo-colonial policy on Nigeria – which makes sense and serves the British objective as long as there is a Nigeria, stable and secure enough for British economic exploitation. As this utility evaporates, it then becomes untenable to argue that the vested interests of the British patriarchy are served by the perpetuation of Nigeria’s political status quo.