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Cradle of Nigeria Nationalism by Marius Nwambu

Cradle of Nigeria Nationalism

Here is a piece of heresy: The British government the colony of Nigeria with considerable care. There was a very high competent cadre of government officials imbued with a high level of knowledge of how to run a country. There are some certain preparations that the British had undertaken in her colonies.

As we praise the British, let us also remember the Nigeria nationalists those who had a burning desire for independence and fought for it. Herbert Macaulay regarded as the father of Nigeria Nationalism was the man who founded the Nigeria National Democratic Party (NNDP) in 1922.

The Colonies became increasingly important to Great Britain war effort by providing a steady stream of revenue from the export of agricultural products like concord, rubber, groundnut etc.

The post war era saw explosion of political organization. Azikiwe built upon lessons he had learned from earlier forays in political activism and successfully persuaded several active members of the Nigeria Youth Movement (NYM) to form an umbrella group of all the major Nigeria organization.

Initially Chief Obafemi Awolowo struggled to win support from the Ibadan-based, Yoruba leaders, who considered him a radical and a bit of an upstart. Awolowo transformed the Action Group (AG) a formidable highly disciplined political machine that often outperformed the NCNCN in regional elections to decide to create Northern People’s Congress (NPC) in 1940, he knew the educationally disadvantaged North did not have as rich a source of Western-Educated politicians to choose from as the south did.

He overcame this shortcoming by pulling together an assorted of leaders from the Islamic territories under his influence and a few.

Sir Ahmadu Bello was a school teacher by training, he was a contentious and ardently ambitious figure who claimed direct lineage from one of the founders of the Islamic Sokoto Caliphate, Sir Ahmadu Bello emerged as the most powerful politician in the Northern Region indeed in all of Nigeria.

He was able to control northern Nigeria politically by feeding on the fears of the ruling emirs and small elite group of western educated northerners. He and his bench man shared little in terms of ideological or political aspirations with their Southern counterparts.

The minorities of the Niger Delta, Mid-west and the middle belt regions of Nigeria were always uncomfortable with the notion that they had to fit into the tripod of the biggest ethnic groups that was Nigeria–Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo, Ibibio, Tin, Itsekiri, Isang etc.

The British were all aware of the inter-ethnic tensions and pasturing for power among the three main ethnic groups in 1951, the country divided into Northern, Eastern and Western regions with their own respective house of assembly to contain this rising threat.

By all the end of the World War2 Great Britain was finally and politically exhausted. This weakness was exploited by Mohandas Gandhi and his cohorts in India during their own struggle against British rule.

Another proficiency that came naturally to this group was the skill of protest which was quickly absorbed by the Nigeria Nationalist. 


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