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Saturday, 7 April 2018

FAMILIY WRITERS PRESS IN TOUCH WITH HISTORY [SECOND EDITION]: THE FULANI'S FEUDAL OPPRESSION AND THE BRITISH SHENANIGANS PART 2

FAMILIY WRITERS PRESS IN TOUCH WITH HISTORY [SECOND EDITION]: THE FULANI'S FEUDAL OPPRESSION AND THE BRITISH SHENANIGANS PART 2

The British were so concerned with the idea of regional Chiefs. That is, where there were none, they tried to imposed them. The indirect rule theory that he (Lugard) had found worked so well in the North, in the South, it failed woefully, notably in the Eastern half of the South the land of the Biafrans.

The Aba women Riot of 1929 was partly caused by resentment against the warrant Chiefs, men imposed as Chiefs by the British but whom the people refused to accept. It was not difficult to impose measures on the Northerners, who are accustomed to implicit obedience but it did not work in the East. The whole traditional structure of the East makes it virtually immune to dictatorship. They (the Easterners) are republicans by nature and this was one of the reasons for the Civil War, when Northern Nigerian soldiers insisted on imposing Lt Col Yakubu Gowon on other Southern officers that were his seniors in the Army. Suffice, Easterners headed by Lt Col Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu insisted on being consulted in every thing that concerns them.


This assertiveness (by the Biafrans) was hardly likely to endear itself to the colonial administrators and is one of the reasons why the Easterners came to be referred to as "uppity" by the colonialists. The British loved the North, the climate is hot and dry as opposed to the steam and malarial South; life is slow and graceful. If you happen to be an English man or an Emir, the pageantry is quant and picturesque, the people obedient and undemanding saw the white man next to God. As a result of the Northern Emirs aversion to Western mass-education, the gaps in the society caused by the Northern apathy towards modernization could not be filled by the British alone.

Unable to run the newly installed offices and factories, the Northerners were content to import numerous British officials and technicians, one of the reasons why in any time, there's a vigorous and vociferous pro-North lobby by ex-colonial civil servants, soldiers, administrators in London for whom Nigeria is their beloved Northern Region. There were posts like clerks, junior executives, accountants, operators, engineers, train drivers, water works superintendents, bank tellers, factory and shop staffs, which the Northerners could not fill. A few but only a few Yorubas from the Western Region of the South went to the North. Most positions were filled by the more enterprising, ubiquitous Easterners.

By 1966, there was an estimated, 1, 3000, 000 Easterners (Biafrans) mostly Igbos in the Northern Region and about another 5000, 000 had taken jobs and residence in the Western Region. The difference in the degree of assimilation of each group (the North and the West) was enormous and gives an insight into the " oneness" of Nigeria under the public relations veil.  In the West, the Easterners assimilation was total, they lived in the same streets as the Yorubas, mixed with them on all social occasions ( invited to their naming ceremonies and their 'Owambe'_ Fuji parties) and their children shared the same schools.

In the North, at the behest of the local rulers, to which British made no demur, all Southerners, whether from East or West were herded into 'Sabon Garis' or strangers Quarters, a south of ghetto outside the walled ' Brinin' or Cities of the Hausa/Fulanis. Schooling was segregated and two radically different societies co-existed without any attempt by British to urge gradual integration, distrust and resentment.

Thus the seed of hatred was watered by British nonchalant attitude to caution Northern leaders ab-initco, to make room for assimilation between the North and the South, within Northern Region. In the South_ Lagos and Enugu etc, Northerners were never segregated or confined to a certain area. They were treated as free citizens and their place of abode was their choice and by their means.

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