Nigeria 1900 to 1960


Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues




October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007



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The Administration of Nigeria 1900 to 1960:  by  I F Nicolson


The Governor General of Nigeria, Sir James Robertson, told me in 1960 why the British had decided to destroy democracy at its birth in this giant empire named Nigeria. We had favoured the North since Nigeria was invented. A crackpot named Lugard was largely responsible. His women disciples, including a lovesick academic Perham - later to offer me a knighthood - were not only infatuated with Lugard, who looked like a demented rat, but were crazy about the North.

The best book on Lugard and his lady friends is by I F Nicolson, 'The Administration of Nigeria 1900 to 1960.' It is sad that Nicolson did not write a second volume taking the story on from 1960. Anyway, Nicolson knew that we had rigged the Independence Elections, for we discussed this in his office in Lagos, and he placed my files and papers relating to British corruption in his safe.

We had decided to give power to Balewa, a Northerner, because he was quite a benevolent person who could be easily guided by our people. He was not really a politician and was quite gentle and honest for a political stooge. Idealistic young Sandhurst-trained officers shot Balewa in 1966. A pro-British officer, General Ironsi then took over, but he seemed to be under the influence of a friend of mine, Nwokedi - an Easterner. There was a counter coup and Ironsi was killed.

When the Governor General ordered me to get involved in the first stage at State (or Regional) level of the Independence Elections in 1956, I refused. I was to assist the Minister of Labour Okotie Eboh, a notoriously crooked politician and friend of Robertson. Okotie Eboh was my Minister. He too was shot, to everyone's delight, with Balewa the Prime Minister.

The British had planned for the Western power base of Awolowo, a nationalistic leader, to be destabilised. For all I know, the Southerners had won the Independence Elections, but no way were they to be allowed to run Nigeria after the British left. Nicolson knew this in 1958 because Colonial Office officials were stunned when I told them what Macmillan had planned for Nigeria. They asked Nicolson to confirm what I told them and he did. The Colonial Office then returned me to Lagos to see Nicolson.

Nwokedi, who was my senior colleague, was one of our golden boys and a friend of mine. He was an ally of Dr Azikiwe, who became Governor General at Independence and later President. Nwokedi was largely responsible for the Biafran Civil War starting. The British organised a pogrom against Dr Zik's Easterners resident in the North, and Ironsi was killed as were tens of thousands of Ibos. Kirk-Greene participated in and wrote about these events, but has yet to reveal the squalid truth. This pogrom made civil war inevitable. Two million died.

Although our stooges got shot, the British were resourceful and for another thirty years have played an active role in deciding who would rule as military dictator. Our sponsored dictatorships have been relatively benevolent. Nigerians have never known democracy so do not miss it too much. Western style democracy does not appeal to them, as they dislike the very idea of joining an opposition. As the Government controls the spoils, many Nigerians leave the losing Party and join the winning Party to get some loot.

I told everyone that what we were doing in the late fifties was wrong and would lead to disaster, but I was told by the Governor General to shut up or be killed. I fled Nigeria in 1960 and for my pains I never worked again and have been targeted by British Intelligence to ensure that I never blew the whistle on British treason in Africa. I declined a knighthood and large sums of money in return for my silence. The Governor General told me that I was the only honest Britisher in the Nigerian Colonial Service!




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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.