Nigeria and the First World War (1914-1919)

lugard and co

Coincidentally or incidentally, the 1914 Amalgamation took place when the the First World War (1914-1918) was about to begin. During the period, Nigeria’s political orientation and participation was still passive as the territory was still under British colonial rule.
Nigerians didn’t participate actively in the war process due to the fact that the territory and her people are still under British colonial rule hence Nigeria supported her colonial masters during the First World War efforts not actively at the war front but as carriers of food, weaponry and supplier of war needs.
Notably, the advent and end of the war culminated/led to the emergence of political participation/consciousness on the part of Nigerians as a result of some inherent factors. One of the factors that arouse Nationalism and political participation of Nigerians was India’s Independence in 1917. Before the war, the Indians agreed with the British colonialists that they will only participate in the war efforts if agreed to be self-governed (Independent) after the war in which Britain agreed. As Indians were engaged in the war efforts side by side with Nigerian (Africans), the Indians began to look at Africans as coming into the war with little or nothing to gain from it. In a nutshell, the independence (self government) given to India immediately after the war infuriated Nigerians to start a process and quest for self government as proposed by Anthony Enahoro.
Another factor that led to Nationalism and political participation was change in world view. During the war, young and able-bodied Nigerians left the territory for the first time to be part of the war efforts. As Nigerians began to participate in the war efforts side by side with other Africans and Europeans, their mentality and world view changed automatically.
Furthermore, the Post-War Eight Point Atlantic Charter spear headed by Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt against colonialism also invariably increased the tempo of nationalism/political participation on the part of Nigerians. The anti-colonial charter fired up Nigerians to start the quest for partisan politics on the way towards the attainment of full political independence.
The impact of the First World War (1914-1918) on Nigerians was massive and enormous leading to a turn around in the political history of the territory to be known as Nigeria, the impact of which is still in vogue in the territory.

8 thoughts on “Nigeria and the First World War (1914-1919)

  1. Raphael

    …… great nigeria where is thy fate ….
    Nigeria good people great nation……..
    I have searched and look up to down I have not seen things that convinced me that nigeria has been liberated from british master,
    someone may asked why I mine sounding in this manner , the rightful answer is there is no forharness but rather that segregation and political crisis is still reigning in nigeria .
    Take a gently look to nigeria today and compared to the past Is still thesame hausa cline ,igbo, yoruba, and southern can not associate with each other .. Still on political issue the power only settled on one side..
    We import all this pety pety items it shows no maturity and no job creations ,our representative only satisfied their pockets … If am wrong quote me wrong …
    Nigeria great nation…….. Where is thy fate

  2. Nigel Steppson

    Wow. I never really knew what was going on during the first world war in my home country. I am ashamed to call myself Nigerian. Well, I guess you learn something new every single day. I am fortunate enough to live in the wonderful world of today. Merci.

  3. Ogunsanya Enitan

    Awesome write up here sir, but it seems my hunger and thirst to know more haven’t been satsified in that I am interested in how the first world war had effects in Nigeria as we have come to know Nigeria as an entity by Jan 1914 which was the amalgamation of two separate provinces or protectorate together.

    Paradventure you have something that can help in resolving my quest to know the effect the first world war had in Nigeria between 1914-1919, I had dropped my mail or you drop yours sir and I would reach through.

    Thanks sir.

    1. oyedijioluwaseunbabatunde Post author

      Wow. Thanks. I mostly under rate the essence of this blog. The major effect of first world for Nigeria as an infant state was that it opened our world view, Nigerians that participated at the war front now had new mentality because the Europeans that they hitherto saw as Almighty, Angels and indomitable are now seen on the war front dieing like chickens. This gave more verve to Nigerians clamour for independence. Asides that the independence of India after the war also opened Africans eyes to try to seek for self rule. So the first world war (1914-18) was really an eye opener and a foundation for nationalist movement in spite the fact that independence was achieved later on in 1960.
      Thanks once again for visiting my blog.
      God bless you.


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