As we mark 100 years of nationhood, it pertinent to look back at events that led to what is now “Nigeria” to know where we are coming from and throw more light to where we are heading to as a nation.
Prior to the 1914 Amalgamation in the region to be known as Nigeria, the geographical location was shortly divided into Colony/Protectorate with Southern Nigeria and Northern Protectorate with Southern Protectorate being fruitful, prosperous eduactionally and economically far more than the Northern Protectorate. Reasons for this is not far fetched due to more revenue accrued to Southern Nigeria via Indirect taxation of custom and excise duties. Reverse was the case with Northern Protectorate being a poor Protectorate as a result of her adoption of Direct taxation and due its failure to collect taxes on liquor due to Islamic injuction forbidding the drinking of alcohol in the North.
This disparity between Southern and Northern Protectorate did not go down well with the British Colonialists as they were more often than not lukewarm in using their money to fund Northern Protectorate knowing fully well that the South was abundantly rich. This has been the major problem of the British Colonialists. In order to slove this lingering problem and for administratove conveniencies hence the imperativeness of the 1914 Amalgamation of both Southern and Northern Protectorate to become what is now known as the “Federal Republic of Nigeria”. With the emergence of the aforementioned problems, Lord Lugard was brought back to the region from Hong Kong in order to profer solution to the problem in 1912. It was Lugard that decided that the best solution to the problem was the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorate in 1914 and in order to ensure that Northern Nigeria acquire more revenue. With the amalgamation in full force, Lugard now decided that there will be a common pulse for both Northern and Southern Nigeria and from this common pulse, the administration of Nigeria will be taken care of.
The amalgamation solved the problem of lack of fund in Northern Nigeria as well as some administrative reforms. One of Lord Lugard’s administrative reform was abolishing the dual existence (arrangement) of both Northern and Southern Protectorate under different administration in which case the Governors in the North and South were retained-they became Lieutenant Governor. Over and above the Lieutenant Governor was the Governor General who was Lord Lugard himself. Moreso, Lord Lugard also centralized government department including the Finance department hence the idea of the establishment of Federal departments at the region can be traced to Lord Lugard administration.
A uinque thing done by Lord Lugard from 1914 was the introduction of Indirect Rule in Southern Nigeria despite the fact that it was a novelty. Indirect rule was practised under 3 arms (Native Court System, Native Authority and Native Treasury). The Native Treasury collects the revenue and put them into a common pool in which case all civil servants in the North and South were paid from this common pool while the rest of the revenue was shared within the administration used to execute diverse projects. Traditional rulers became salaried officials.
The Native Court System adjudicates on diverse cases. Colonial administrators determined the cases to be examined. This Native Court System was independent of the Traditional Rulers. When Lord Lugard came in 1914, he set up a committee to enquire into the relationship between Yorubaland and the British hence between 1914 and 1914, Lord Lugard now introduced New Ordinances vis a vis Native Administration system, Native court system and Native Authority were introduced in Yorubaland in conformity with what was inherent in Northern Nigeria.
From above elucidation, the introduction of Indirect Rule as well as Indirect taxation in Southern Nigeria caused immediate crisis like in Abeokuta (1915) there were riots because people refused to pay taxes. The emergence of Warrant Chiefs in Igboland also led to Aba Women Riot of 1929 due to the fact that Warrant Chiefs were taxing people including wome.
Another development by Lord Lugard was the creation of Nigerian Council to replace the abolished legislative council in Lagos. The National Council was made up of 36 members but the bulk of these members were Colonial Officials. This council was purely an advisory body and Traditional rulers that were members of the council hardly attend Council meeting due to transportation problem from North to Lagos. The Clifford Constitution of 1922 later on abolished the Nigerian Council of 1914.
Conclusively, it can be deduced that the Nigerian Council which was supposed to be an avenue for uniting Nigeria was more or less a glorified debate proceedings hence the amalgamation hardly promoted nation building but it made Nigeria to be what it has become today.