Colonialism In Nigeria

1281 Words6 Pages
and thereby stabilise and legitimise colonial rule. The British constitutional reforms can be divided into two periods. In formative period from 1945 to 1953 the basic structure of a new political system developed. The Colonial Office imposed the “Richards Constitution” on the Nigerian people in 1946. The core element was the introduction of the federal principle. Besides a central legislative council, the Easter Region, the Western Region and the Northern Region got an own assembly. In 1948 a new governor John Macpherson (1898-1971) announced constitutional concessions, a reform of the Native authorities system and the opening of the civil service for Nigerians. Furthermore, he consulted Nigerians before the “Macpherson Constitution” granted…show more content…
Historians have given too little attention to Nigeria in the 1950s, in particular to the constitutional conferences. The historiography on Nigerian decolonisation can be divided into two phases. In the first phase after independence studies examined central elements of colonialism. Kalu Ezera Constitutional Developments in Nigeria from 1960 is an example. Ezera’s focus is on dealing with social and cultural diversity in constitutions to strengthen unity in Nigeria. Moreover, the former colonial officer I. A. Nicolson recapitulates the colonial administration from 1900 to 1960 and it flaws. In this first phase most historians and political scientists investigate the rise of Nigerian nationalism and the party system. Two publications became classic contribution to understanding colonial politics. Richard Sklar’s Nigerian Political Parties: Power in an Emergent African Nation, first published in 1963, is an excellent study. Sklar shows that parties were no monolithic entities and rivalries within parties had an impact on national politics. The second book is Nigeria Background to Nationalism by James Coleman. Coleman deals with the Nigerian perspective and the transformation from small nationalistic groups to parties with the support of the masses. He argues that this transformation ended in 1952, when the parties were established in the colonial system. Therefore, he only briefly comments on following developments.…show more content…
Between both phases there is a gap of two decades, in which almost none research on Nigerian decolonisation was published. Two historians are worth highlighting because they shaped the second phase. On the one hand, Nigerian historian Olakunle A. Lawal argues that constitutional reforms were a conscious decision of the British government, aiming at continued informal influence on a united Nigeria after independence. He highlights that the Colonial Office accomplished these aims in 1960. On the other hand, British-Irish historian Martin Lynn points out that the Colonial Office had limited room for manoeuvre because of Nigerian pressure. Lynn emphasises the Nigerian pressure on the Colonial Office during the process of decolonisation. He particularly highlights the Nigerian resistance in the Eastern Crisis in 1955 and 1957, when all British attempts to remove Azikiwe, who was found guilty of corruption, from office of premier of the Eastern Region failed. Furthermore, he agrees with Lawal that the Colonial Office successfully achieved their aims at independence. Taken all together, it appears that the general pattern of the decolonisation process in Nigeria has been studied, but there is still research to be done on the constitutional conferences from 1953 to

More about Colonialism In Nigeria

Open Document