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Thursday, 5 April 2018

FAMILY WRITERS IN TOUCH WITH HISTORY [ SECOND EDITION]: THE FULANI'S FEUDAL OPPRESSION AND THE BRITISH SHENANIGANS PART 1

FAMILY WRITERS IN TOUCH WITH HISTORY [ SECOND EDITION]: THE FULANI'S FEUDAL OPPRESSION AND THE BRITISH SHENANIGANS PART 1

By Nwafor Somtochukwu Aloysius
For Family Writers Press

According to the Biblical John,  "in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made."  John 1:1-3

I have only delved into the realm of theology to buttress the lucid submission of a great son of Africa, J.E Casley Hayford, a nationalist of Gold Coast (Ghana) descent in 1922, which was a reminiscent of the above. Casely wrote; "Before even the British came into relations with our people, we were a developed people, having our own institutions, having our own ideas of government".

Several Historians of African descent have pointed out that after surveying the developed areas of the Continent in the 15th Century and those within the Europe  same date, the differences between the two were in no way to Africa's discredit.  Indeed the first Europeans to reach West and East Africa by sea, were the ones who indicated that in most respects, African development was comparable to that which they knew back home. The question now begging for an answer by all Africans is:  why are things like this in our continent today? To answer this question, permit me or I crave your indulgence to make  reference to a French saying; " The colonies have been created for the metropolis by the metropole".

The two concomitant evils of the colonial powers that ruled African nations, could throw more light and dispel the cloud of darkness as to the reason for this degeneracy.

1. Colonialism: The extension of sovereignty (power/control) beyond a country's natural geographical boundaries.

2. Imperialism: The subjugation of Nations and economies to the control of advanced capitalist countries, in other to produce goods and services for the continuous expansion of production for profit.

             Colonial Policy in Nigeria

During Lugard's war against the North and the Emirs, the latter were largely not supported by their Hausa subjects who comprised and still do, the great majority of the people of the North.
Yet when he had won, Lugard opted to keep the Emirs in power and rule through them, rather than to sweep them away and rule directly. Lugard chose to permit the Emirs to continue to rule as before (subject to certain reforms) and maintain for himself only a remote over lordship.  Indirect rule fossilized the feudal structure, confirmed the repression by the previledged Emirs and their appointees, prolonged the inability of the North to graduate to modern and stultified future efforts to introduce parliamentary democracy. For one thing the concern of the Emirs and their courts, like that of most feudal potentates, was to remain in power in conditions as unchanging as possible.

To this end they set themselves against the biggest challenge to their conservatism change and progress. The obvious of these two is mass-education.  It was no accident in the independent year 1960, the North with large population had 41 Secondary Schools against the South's 842, that the North first graduate qualified just 9 years before 1960. Compared to their Southern counterparts, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe came back to Nigeria from Lincoln University in America with chains of degrees. In 1933, the year, the late Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Emeka Ojukwu was born. The irony is that even at that time, Zik was not the first degree holder!

Western education to the Emirs ( all of their Fulanis and their potentates of Usman Dan-Fodio) was dangerous and they did their utmost to confine it to their own offspring or those of the aristocracy. By contrast the South, invaded by missionaries the precursors of mass-education, soon developed an arid thirst for education in all it's forms. By 1967, when the Eastern Region of Nigeria (Biafrans) decided to pull out of Nigeria, the region alone (Biafrans) had more doctors, lawyers and engineers than any other country in Negro Africa.

Missionary work in the North which might have eased that area into the twentieth century was effectively stopped by Lugard at the request of the Emirs, when he pledged to discourage Christian Apostolic work in the north of the kabba line (Nupe).
In the 60 years from Lugard to independence, the difference in religious, social, historical and moral attitudes and values between North and South and the educational and technological gap, became not steadily narrow but wider until the viability of a united country which would be dominated by either area became impracticable.

To be continued...

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