Amalgamation of Nigeria, Reasons And Effects

Detailed answer on the question – What are the reason for the amalgamation of Nigeria, advantages, and disadvantages so far, all you need to know.

As most readers of this blog and general students of history already know, Nigeria is not a simple country but a complex mixture of over 250 tribes with a similar number of languages to show for it. While some of these tribes have similar or identical cultures and traditions and inter-marry perhaps as a result of living together for centuries, other tribes within the country are equal opposites and have a long history of being at loggerheads with one another for a number of issues some big and hinging on survival, while others are small and unimportant.

What keeps a group of territorial tribes together in a country despite not wanting to be together? One word: Amalgamation. In the Nigerian context, this word means the joining together of two separate regions together in order to form one country. This was done by the British in the year 1914 by the Governor-General called Lord Frederick Luggard. But what was his purpose of this action, and what fruits has the amalgamation produced, and what future is there for the country called Nigeria?

Reasons For The Amalgamation of Nigeria

For many years the area called Nigeria had been a British colony, with the people living under the heel and laws of the Queen of England and her court. The land and resources were all pillaged and plundered and the people were second class subjects. But the British were excellent administrators, and so in 1912 when Frederick Luggard, from a similar assignment in Hong Kong, took office as Governor-General of the Northern and Southern Protectorates (they called the Colonies ‘Protectorates’) he came with a wealth of experience.

First the Why of Amalgamation

Reasons For The Amalgamation Of Nigeria

Was it love or the great passion for Nigeria, or Africa, or Black People in general that moved the British government to join the two protectorates? Let us not be naive, the British do not make such decisions out of sentiments.

It was money. The British amalgamated Nigeria basically due to economic reasons. They knew that Nigerians are different people, and that as soon as they packed their bags and returned to Europe the country would descend into chaos, but they joined the two protectorates together none- the- less. Everything lord Lugard did was in the interest of the crown- remember Nigeria was not independent at the time and had no say in the issue. So how did money cause the Amalgamation?

The Southern ‘Protectorate’ was economically buoyant, and so generated more than enough revenue for the development of its territory. This was due to the fact that the people produced enough food, spices, palm oil, and other agricultural products like cotton and sugarcane in abundance, and this was further boosted due to the closeness to the sea.

The Northern ‘Protectorate’ on the other hand did not generate enough. In fact, if the Northern Protectorate continued to stand alone, the British government would not have a choice but to use their money, earned from their ventures in other lands, and registered into the British commonwealth to sustain the Northern Territory.

Frederick Luggard, sought to avoid that, and so devised the idea of taking the surplus from the southern Protectorate and using that money to offset the deficit of the Northern Protectorate. But how could that be done without raising technical and administrative issues, or even starting civil war? The answer was a clever word: Amalgamation.

With the Amalgamation of Nigeria came a single vast territory which produced tin, animal skins, Coal, Cotton, Cocoa, palm oil, and so many other resources all for export in huge quantities to Britain. They even had seaports in several locations! Amalgamation made Nigeria a gold-mine for the British, a truly profitable venture indeed! This visionary leadership brought high praise for Lord Frederick Luggard at the Queens Court in England, but has raised a lot of boiling issues today. At this point you must be wondering about the effects of the Amalgamation of Nigeria. Let us investigate that in the following paragraphs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Amalgamation in Nigeria

Land Mass: Nigeria probably has Frederick Luggard to thank for the large landmass or area that it has. Nigeria currently occupies an area of 923,763 km square, and it would not be possible without the Amalgamation of Nigeria. As a matter of fact if Nigeria had not been amalgamated the Southern and Northern protectorates would today be two small countries on the map.

Population: With a population of over 150 million Nigeria stands out in the whole world as the most populous black country, or the largest concentration of Black people in the world. This is a direct consequence of the amalgamation that we are talking about. Instead of having small regions which could have further disintegrated as years have gone by, Frederick Luggard sculptured the Giant of Africa with the stroke of his pen over 100 years ago.

Market Size/ Economic Advantage

Another advantage that comes with the amalgamation of Nigeria is the fact that due to the huge population, Nigeria naturally has one of the largest single markets in Africa. This means that any individual or company that invests in production of daily need products also known as fast-moving consumer goods in Nigeria has practically struck gold as long as the product is good and of a high quality.

All the advantages of having a large population are here although a lot still has to be done in improving the spending power of the average Nigerian, every sector of the economy has the potential to grow and generate immense amounts of revenue for the benefit of future generations.

Schools and other institutions of learning are never empty. This is because of the huge population that Nigeria has.

The clothing sector, although moribund for a long time as a result of poor economic decision making, has the potential to generate wealth for the national commonwealth because clothing is a basic necessity, and so clothing 150 million people is definitely good business.

The Communications sector is another beneficiary of the Nigerian population. There are now over 165 million active telephone lines in Nigeria, and that makes Nigeria a juicy marketplace for mobile phone makers and signal carriers.

Agricultural Potential

We have opted to put this under a separate field because the agricultural potential is not a question of population, neither is it a question of land, but arable land, which is good for cultivation. Nigeria, as a result of the amalgamation has itself in wonderfully advantageous position because there is plenty of arable land for all types of crop farming: rice in the north, palm oil in the southeast, yams and cassava in the middle belt; and also animal farming: cattle, sheep and goats in the North, poultry and piggery in the South West, as well as fishing in the South-South and parts of the South East region. Nigeria is therefore in a prime position to achieve self-sufficiency in Agriculture, and even achieve production capacity to enable it to export sizeable quantities of agricultural produce to other countries in order to boost its revenue earning.

Having read through some of the advantages of the amalgamation of Nigeria, let us now look at some of the disadvantages.

Poor Administration:

The British may have done a good job of the administration of such a complex state as Nigeria, but they left behind an unequal system, and Nigerians have quickly made a terrible mess of the situation. Every aspect of government or government agency has quickly descended into a chaotic state. Some say this is because Nigeria is too big to manage effectively. The power sector is comatose, the police are indescribably corrupt, the judiciary is morally bankrupt, and the military are openly partisan. All of this is because the country is too big for any one person to effectively manage. This is a direct disadvantage of the amalgamation of Nigeria.

Political Tension

Politics is the process of making policies that govern a coming together of people, particularly a state. But what happens when the people who make up the state have opposing needs or wants, or if the policies that favor one side could lead to the extinction of the other? That is a recipe for political tension, and that is exactly what we can see in Nigeria. On the political scene, there is so much suspicion that a potentially good or beneficial policy could be a cause of protests and civil action because there is a lot of tension in the land.

Social Unrest

The people are too far apart culturally as well as religiously. This means that a simple handshake from a male to a female if it happens in the North is capable of igniting scenes of brutal murder. Many sections of the country are not compatible and so there is no understanding or peaceful coexistence. An example is Bokoharam, an extremist group whose name literally means ‘book haram,’ Haram being the Islamic word for forbidden. This extremist group has made it their goal to remove western education in Northern Nigeria, and replace such knowledge with Islamic education. They have repeatedly called for the installation of the Islamic legal code called Sharia.

Conclusion On The Reasons For The Amalgamation Of Nigeria / Advantages and Disadvantages:

The amalgamation of Nigeria has brought a few benefits, but several disadvantages because of the incompatible nature of the cultural side of the tribes that inhabit the country called Nigeria. Although it appears that these issues can be resolved by dialogue and compromise, particularly by the intervention of a superpower, perhaps Britain in whose interest the amalgamation was done in the first place.

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Tag: Advantages and Disadvantages, Reasons for the amalgamation of Nigeria

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