Title: Amalgamation of Northern And Southern Protectorates of Nigeria: Blessing or Curse?
By Mathias Chukwudi Isiani & Ngozika Obi-Ani, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
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This study is a creative interrogation of curious outcome of the 1914 amalgamation of the two protectorates of Nigeria. It has remained as controversial as the partition of Africa especially mirrored from the lumping together of several heterogenous nationalities into a questionable whole.
The study notes that these heterogeneous groups are distrustful of one another. The amalgamation was an administrative fiat of Nigeria by the British colonialist overlord for economic and administrative convenience.
The Northern protectorate predominantly Muslim and animist and the Southern protectorate largely Christians were aggressively “westernizing”. The two protectorates were culturally apart, yet in 1914, Lord Frederick Lugard amalgamated them. Indeed, the Northern protectorate was a poor neighbour to the Southern protectorate; lacking outlet for the exportation of its agricultural products or imports of essential goods but in need of revenue to develop its railway lines and improve social infrastructure.
The parsimonious British colonial administration unprepared to commit itself such to providing requisite funds, found a convenient way to assist the Northern protectorate through the forced union in 1914. The political and religious turbulence since independence lend credence to the recurring question whether the amalgamation of Northern and Southern protectorates in 1914 was a curse or blessing?
This study attempts to interrogate this question through employing primary and secondary sources such as official documents, newspapers, magazines and articles on development and underdevelopment theories. It concluded that while the 1914 amalgamation may have its strengths, the weaknesses seems to outweigh its positives but for the purposes of forging a greater Nigerian state, it is the considered opinion of the study that greater attention is focused on the pathways of cementing stronger union while emphasising those issues that amplify the differences of the constituting nationalities.
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