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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Reflections on Nigeria’s Journey: From Colonization to Independence – By Josline Joseph



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The British Government has played a pivotal role in shaping the development of our beloved nation, Nigeria. Nigeria, our homeland, is a land of unparalleled natural beauty, where love and sacrifice coexist.

The colonial masters recognized Nigeria’s abundant natural blessings during their quest for dominance. This realization can be traced back to the Berlin Conference in 1884-1885, where the belief emerged that controlling this territory would be to their advantage. Subsequently, in 1862, the Lagos Colony was established, ostensibly to abolish the slave trade, although some speculate it served their self-interest.

It was during the Berlin Conference that Britain was granted full control over Nigeria. This imposition led to an unfavorable war as Nigerians resisted, though the British prevailed due to their superior weaponry.

In 1914, the British amalgamated Nigeria into the Southern and Northern Protectorates, along with the Lagos Colony, under the administrative leadership of Sir Lord Lugard. Numerous activities and constitutional amendments by the British Government followed, often with limited Nigerian involvement in decision-making positions, causing frustration among Nigerians.

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The struggle for independence saw the emergence of Nigerian nationalists, including liberated slaves and those educated abroad. While accepting British rule, they were discontented with certain policies and treatment. The replacement of traditional rulers with British appointees further fueled nationalist sentiments.

Various movements contributed to the progress in the fight for independence, notably during the First and Second World Wars when Nigerian soldiers returned home to limited political participation. The determination to overcome these injustices fueled the struggle for independence.

In hindsight, some historians and present-day Nigerians view post-independence achievements as primarily focused on nation-building. While Independence Day on October 1st is celebrated by many, others argue that there is little to rejoice when reflecting on Nigeria’s history marked by conflicts, kidnappings, crimes, governance failures, leadership crises, economic challenges, and corruption. Some believe Nigeria lags behind nations that gained independence later, leading to disillusionment among its citizens.

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The journey has been marked by sacrifices, trauma, and lost hope for many. Can Nigeria revive the vision of its founding fathers? Can it become the nation they envisioned? We look forward to effective and promising governance that can steer Nigeria toward its full potential.

Long live Nigeria.

Josline Joseph From Maidugur

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