The Nigerian Nation: A Country Never Together, Growing Divided
The Country, Nigeria is a British creation thought out between 1861 and 1914.
According to records, On January 1, 1914, Sir Donald Fredrick Lugard climaxed the British policy of unification in Nigeria by ‘uniting’ the two halves of the country, Northern and Southern Protectorates in what has since been known as the amalgamation.
Although the former name for Nigeria was the Royal Niger Company Territories.
The Amalgamation of these two halves was perceived to protect the British economic interest and to facilitate the exploitation of the nation’s resources.
The unification was done for economic reasons rather than political Northern Nigeria Protectorate had a budget deficit, and the colonial administration sought to use the budget surpluses in Southern Nigeria to offset this deficit.
The Nigerian politician who took over power from the British continued from where they stopped, thereby, making the state an instrument to perpetuate corrupt practices of all sorts.
Although controversial in Lagos, where it was opposed by a large section of the political class and the media, the amalgamation did not arouse passion in the rest of the country.
From 1914 to 1919, Lugard was made Governor-General of the now combined Colony of Nigeria.
Status of the Protectorate of the British Empire as it was in it’s preferred Common language was English (official); Yoruba, Igbo, Ibibio, Edo Ikwerre Ijaw and the administrative Capital from 1906 was Lagos.
Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, KBE PC a Nigerian politician, was handed power December 1912 – 15 January 1966 as the first prime minister of an independent Nigeria.
There were three cabinets. The first was established in 1957 when Balewa was appointed Prime Minister by the British Governor-General.
The second was formed after the general elections of December 1959, just before independence, in a coalition government.
The third was formed after the disputed general elections of December 1964 and was dissolved after the military coup of 15 January 1966.
Nnamdi Azikiwe, PC, usually referred to as “Zik”, was a Nigerian statesman who was Governor-General of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963 and the first President of Nigeria from 1963 to 1966.
Considered a driving force behind the nation’s independence, he came to be known as the “father of Nigerian Nationalism”.
A lot of things have happened between these periods and now that would never see the light of the day.
During Tafawa Balewa’s Cabinet, all Cabinet ministers had access to written intelligence report every month. That was the practice at that time.
But when the Cabinet of Shehu Shagari came in between 1979 and 1983, after the return to civilian rule with the Second Nigerian Republic which was terminated by a military coup, for reasons I cannot explain, that practice was no longer followed.
Nigeria is a very complex country. Our problems did not start yesterday.
It started about 1884. Lord Lugard came here about 1894 and many people did not know that Major Lugard was not originally employed by the British Government but employed by companies.
He was first employed by East Indian Company, by the Royal East African Company and then by the Royal Niger Company.
It was from the Royal Niger Company that he transferred to the British government. Unless you know this background, you will not know the root causes of Nigeria’s problems.
The interest of the Europeans in Africa and indeed Nigeria was economic and it’s still economic.
They have no permanent friends and no permanent interests. Neither their interests nor their friends are permanent.
Nigeria was created as a British sphere of interests for business. In 1898, Lugard formed the West African Frontier Force initially with 2,000 soldiers and that was the beginning of our problems.
Anybody who wants to know the root cause of all the coups and our present problems, and who does not know the evolution Nigeria would just be looking at the matter superficially.
Our problems started at that time. And Lugard was what they called at that time imperialist.
Many British soldiers, businessmen, politicians were very patriotic.
But I must warn you; they were operating in the interest of their country. Lugard became a Lord.
Nigerians, too, should operate in the interest of their country.
When Lugard formed the West African Frontier Force with 2,000 troops, about 90 percent of them were from the North mainly from the Middle belt.
And his dispatches to London between that time and January 1914 are extremely interesting. Lugard came here for a purpose and that purpose was British interest. Between 1898 and 1914, he sent several dispatches to London which led to the Amalgamation of 1914.
The Order – in – Council was drawn up in November 1913 signed and came into force in January 1914. In those dispatches, Lugard said many things, which are at the root causes of yesterday and today’s problems.
The British needed the Railway from the North to the Coast in the interest of British business. The amalgamation of the South (not of the people) became of crucial importance to British business interest.
He said the North and the South should be amalgamated. Southern Nigeria came into existence in January 1900 At the Centenary of the fall of Benin.
So when Benin was conquered in 1896, it made the creation of the Southern Nigerian protectorate possible on January 1, 1900.
Recall that, Sokoto was not conquered until 1903. So, there was no question of Nigeria at that time.
After the conquest of Sokoto, they were able to create the northern Nigerian protectorate.
Lugard went full blast and created what was to be known as the protectorate of Northern Nigeria.
What is critical and important are the reasons Lugard gave in his dispatches.
He said, the North was poor and they have no resources to run the protectorate of the North.
That they have no access to the sea; that the South has resources and have educated people.
The first Yoruba lawyer was called to the Bar in 1861.
Therefore, because it was not the policy of the British Government to bring the taxpayers money to run the protectorate, it was in the interest of the British business and the British taxpayer that there should be Amalgamation.
But what the British amalgamated was the Administration of the North and South and not the people of the North and the South, that is one of the root causes of the problems of Nigeria and the Nigerians.
When the amalgamation took effect, the British government sealed off the South from the North.
And between 1914 and l960, that’s a period of 46 years, the British allowed minimum contact between the North and South because it was not in the British interest that the North be allowed to be polluted by the educated South.
That was the basis on which we got our independence in 1960.
Over this time, the North formed a political party, as the northern leaders called it Northern Peoples Congress (NPC).
They didn’t call it “Nigeria Peoples Congress” and that was in accordance with the dictum and policies of Lugard.
When Aminu Kano formed his party, it was called “Northern Elements Progressive Union” (NEPU) not Nigerian Progressive Union.
It was only Awolowo and Zik who were mistaken that there was anything called Nigeria.
In fact, the so-called Nigeria created in 1914 was a complete fraud.
It was created not in the interest of Nigeria or Nigerians but the interest of the British. And what were the structures created?
The structures created were as follows: Northern Nigeria was to represent England; Western Nigeria like Wales; Eastern Nigeria was to be like Scotland. In the British structure, England has a permanent majority in the House of Commons.
There was no way Wales can ever dominate England, neither can Scotland dominate Britain.
But they are very shrewd. They would allow a Scottish man to become Prime Minister. They would allow a Welsh man to become Prime Minister in London but the fact remains that the actual power rested in England.
That was what Lugard created in Nigeria, a permanent majority for the North. The population figure of the North is also a fraud.
A British Colonial Civil Servant who was involved in the fraud was trying to expose it but he was never allowed to publish it.
Looking at the map of West Africa, starting from Mauritania to Cameroun and take a population of each country as you move from the coast to the Savannah, the population decreases.
Conversely, as you come from the Desert to the Coast, right from Mauritania to Cameroun, the population increases.
The only exception throughout that zone is Nigeria.
Nigeria is the only zone whereby you go from coast to the North, the population increases and you come from the North to the Coast, the population decreases.
Well, geographers, anthropologists and population experts, draw your conclusions, Someone has told me the last population census was done by computer, what nonsense.
Talking on the first coup, when Balewa got missing, it was perceived that Okotie- Eboh had been dead, we knew Akintola had been killed. But, the members of the Balewa cabinet started meeting.
Quotes from ‘The Amalgamation Of Nigeria Was A Fraud’ ascribed to Richard Akinjide, QC, SAN added; “But how can you have a cabinet meeting without the Prime Minister acting or Prime Minister presiding.
“So, unanimously, they nominated acting Prime Minister amongst them”.
Then they continued holding their meetings. Then we got a message that we should all assemble at the Cabinet office. All the Ministers were requested by the G.O.C. of the Nigerian Army, General Ironsi to assemble.
According to him, “what was amazing at that time was that Ironsi was going all over Lagos unarmed. We assembled there.
Having nominated ZANA Diphcharima as our acting Prime Minister in the absence of the Prime Minister, whose whereabouts we didn’t know, we approached the acting President, Nwafor Orizu to swear him in because he cannot legitimately act as the Prime Minister except he is sworn- in.
Nwafor Orizu refused. He said he needed to contact Zik who was then in West Indies”.
Under the law, that is, the Interpretation Act, as acting President, Nwazor Orizu had all the powers of the President.
The Book further revealed that “The GOC said he wanted to see all the cabinet ministers. And so we assembled at the cabinet office. Well, I have read in many books saying that we handed over to the military.
We did not hand-over. Ironsi told us that “you either hand over as gentlemen or you hand-over by force”. These were his words. Is that voluntary hand-over? So we did not hand-over”.
“We wanted an Acting Prime Minister to be in place but Ironsi forced us, and I use the word force advisedly, to handover to him. He was controlling the soldiers”.
“The acting President, Nwafor Orizu, who did not cooperate with us, cooperated with the GOC”.
“Dr Orizu and the GOC prepared speeches which Nwafor Orizu broadcast handing over the government of the country to the army”.
I here state again categorically as a member of that cabinet that we did not hand-over voluntarily. It was a coup, “he enthused.
While the quota system came into being before Nigeria‘s independence in 1960, the federal character principle became officially recognised in the 1979 constitution.
These policies were aimed at addressing the issues of ethnic representation in the public sector.
The implication of these was that issues of admission, recruitment, promotion and appointment became based on these principles.
Since then, some sections of Nigeria have played the script orchestrated by British colonization.
The seat of Power cut across Military Regimes and Political dispensation have all been
The falsehood of the mantra, “One Nigeria” is obvious, going by the current dispensation of leadership appointments of critical officeholders.
“The Nigerian Nation, A Country Never Together, Pretending and Growing Divided”.
Nigeria has become a house divided against itself, and cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall. But I do expect it will cease to be divided or fall apart. It will become all one thing or all the other.
Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South.
Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is also considered to steer up a total disintegration.
A state of unrestrained political corruption otherwise known as a kleptocracy will create more tension particularly amongst those who believe they have been cheated for so long.
A similar problem of Zoning the Presidential seat may arise and perhaps be the final straw in any institution that depends on the Union.