The Demise of Indirect Rule in the Emirates of Northern Nigeria

  • A. M. Yakubu
Part of the St Antony’s/Macmillan Series book series

Abstract

Scholars of British indirect rule generally regard its practice in the emirates of Northern Nigeria as the epitome of the collaborative relationship between British colonial officials and African aristocracies.’ The system was a response to the inability of F. J. D. Lugard, the conqueror of the emirates, to administer directly and had as its basis the secular ideology of a predominantly Muslim society which had its own established political, legal and fiscal systems. Consequently, the British sought to govern the emirates through the agency of the emirs. They reposed entire control of local government in the offices of the emirs, who were aided mainly by appointee kinsmen, clients and flunkies. The emirs were statutorily bound only by the overriding discretion of the British Resident or his representative, who rarely intervened, except in the few circumstances which threatened to discredit or inconvenience colonial rule. Lugard, who also introduced indirect rule into Northern Nigeria, had decreed in his Political Memoranda, the corpus of instructions to administrative officers, that:

if a native Chief has lost prestige and influence to such a degree that he has to appeal to Government to enforce his orders, he becomes not merely useless but a source of weakness to the Administration.2

Keywords

Placebo Corn Explosive Assure Bark 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See the early and now classic studies by J. F. A. Ajayi, Christian Missions in Nigeria 1841–1891. The Making of a New Elite (London: Longman, 1965)Google Scholar
  2. E. A. Ayandele, The Missionary Impact on Modern Nigeria 1842–1914. A Political and Social Analysis (London: Longman, 1966)Google Scholar
  3. Roland Oliver, The Missionary Factor in East Africa. (London: Longman, 1952). For a more recent contribution seeGoogle Scholar
  4. Holger Bernt Hansen, Mission, Church and State in a Colonial Setting: Uganda 1890–1925 (London: Heinemann, 1984). Of related interest isGoogle Scholar
  5. Achille Mbembe, Afriques indociles. Christianisme, pouvoir et Etat en société postcoloniale (Paris: Editions Karthala, 1988).Google Scholar
  6. 2.
    See the synthesis in Terence O. Ranger, ‘Religious Movements and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa’, African Studies Review, Vol. 29, no. 2, 1986, pp. 1–69. See also, from a somewhat different but related and stimulating perspectiveCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Lamin Sanneh, Translating the Message. The Missionary Impact on Culture (Maryknoll, Orbis Books, 1989).Google Scholar
  8. 4.
    Karen E. Fields, Revival and Rebellion in Colonial Central Africa (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    See Lord Lugard, The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa (London: Frank Cass, 1965; first published 1922) andGoogle Scholar
  10. Lord Lugard, Political Memoranda. Revision of Instructions to Political Officers on Subjects Chiefly Political and Administrative, 3rd edn, with a new introduction by A. H. M. Kirk-Greene (London: Frank Cass, 1970; 1st edn 1906). Cf.Google Scholar
  11. Robert Heussler, The British in Northern Nigeria (London, Oxford University Press, 1968).Google Scholar
  12. 9.
    Cf. ibid.; see also the general remarks in Lord Lugard, The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa, pp. 586–97; cf. also Jan Harm Boer, Missionary Messengers of Liberation in a Colonial Context: A Case Study of the Sudan United Mission (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1979), pp. 111–219.Google Scholar
  13. 10.
    The following survey is summarised from Niels Kastfelt, The Bachama, the Mbula and the Europeans 1880–1921, MA thesis, Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham, 1981, pp. 41ff. A general study of colonial Adamawa is A. H. M. Kirk-Greene, Adamawa Past and Present. An Historical Approach to the Development of a Northern Cameroons Province, 2nd edn (London, Dawsons of Pall Mall, 1969).Google Scholar
  14. 11.
    See B. J. Dudley, Parties and Politics in Northern Nigeria (London: Frank Cass, 1968) andGoogle Scholar
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  17. 14.
    Cf. A. H. M. Kirk-Greene, ‘Maudo Laawol Pulaaku: Survival and Symbiosis’, in Mahdi Adamu and A. H. M. Kirk-Greene (eds), Pastoralists of the West African Savannah, International African Seminars, New Series, No. 2 (Manchester: Manchester University Press in association with the International African Institute, 1986), p. 49 andGoogle Scholar
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  19. 23.
    See e.g. Niels H. Brønnum, En nødstedt verdensdel. Kaldet fra Adamawa (Copenhagen: O. Lohses Forlag, 1958), pp. 35–6 and Sigrid and Carl Bundgaard, ‘Er det for sent?’, Sudan, July 1954, p. 103.Google Scholar
  20. 31.
    Cf. Heussler, The British in Northern Nigeria, passim and, for a case study, Adamu Mohammed Fika, The Kano Civil War and British Over-Rule 1882–1940 (Ibadan: Oxford University Press, 1978).Google Scholar
  21. 32.
    John Leland Ausman, The Partition, Conquest and Occupation of the Emirate of Adamawa, 1885–1926, Ph.D. thesis, Dalhousie University, Halifax, 1973, pp. 263–5Google Scholar
  22. P. S. Crane, ‘The Chamba Subordinate Native Authority. A Statement prepared for the visit of the Minorities Commission to Adamawa Province in February 1958’, §40, Rhodes House Library, Oxford, Mss. Afr. s. 1485.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Terence Ranger and Olufemi Vaughan 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. M. Yakubu

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