The Truth Lord Lugard saw about Nigeria 100 years ago

// News | General | The Truth Lord Lugard saw about Nigeria 100 years ago
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font


He insulted your great-grandfather, great-grandmother, great-grandaunt and a few grand parents – he did mine too.  Or did he merely say what he saw of and thought about them?  Ponder that!

He was a soldier of fortune.  That makes him what you would call a bad guy.

Now, when a bad guy puts you down with insults, you wonder what moral license he has to do that.  So, what do you do to a soldier of fortune who thinks so lowly of your grannies in their own country?
Banish him?  Wage war against him? Talking about war, he mounted a campaign and conquered the territory of your grannies – which you now inhabit. Unfortunately, he is dead – as dead as Julius Caesar. His name, Lord Fredrick Daltry Lugard! This bad guy got married to one Victoria, described as beautiful; and went on to amalgamate the Southern and Northern protectorates in 1914, giving birth to the nation called Nigeria.  But all these do not matter. It is how he described Nigerians that concerns us here. Writing in the book, DUAL MANDATE, on Page 70, some 12years after the amalgamation (1926), Lugard took your grannies, my grannies, to the cleaners.  The following is how he described them:"In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a happy, thriftless, excitable person, lacking in self control, discipline, and foresight. Naturally courageous, and naturally courteous and polite, full of personal vanity, with little sense of veracity, fond of music and loving weapons as an oriental loves jewelry.
His thoughts are concentrated on the events and feelings of the moment, and he suffers little from the apprehension for the future or grief for the past. His mind is far nearer to the animal world than that of the European or Asiatic, and exhibits something of the animals' placidity and want of desire to rise beyond the state he has reached. Through the ages the African appears to have evolved no organised religious creed, and though some  tribes appear to believe in a deity, the religious sense seldom rises above pantheistic animalism and seems more often to take the form of a vague dread of the supernatural.  He lacks the power of organisation, and is conspicuously deficient in the management and control alike of men or business. He loves the display of power, but fails to realise its responsibility….  He will work hard with a less incentive than most races.  He has the courage of the fighting animal – an instinct rather than a moral virtue….  In brief, the virtues and defects of this race-type are those of attractive children, whose confidence when it is won is given ungrudgingly as to an older and wiser superior and without envy….  Perhaps the two traits which have impressed me as those most characteristic of the African native are his lack of apprehension and his ability to visualize the future".

This was what Lugard said of your fore-fathers, my fore-fathers.

In the book, THE FATE OF AFRICA: From the Hopes of Freedom to the heart of Despair (A history of Fifty Years of Independence), Martin Meredith, writes that "In northern Nigeria, Frederick Lugard set out to rule 10 million people with a staff of nine European administrators and a regiment of the West African Frontier Force consisting of 3,000 African troops under the command of European officers. By the late 1930s, following the amalgamation of northern and southern Nigeria into one territory in 1914, the number of colonial administrators for a population of 20 million people was still less than 400". In proportional terms, what the above revelation tells us is that for Northern Nigeria, Lugard took charge at the rate of one administrator for some 1, 100,000 (one million, one hundred thousand people).  So when he says "Nigerians will work hard with a less incentive than most races", he knew what he was talking about. Examining Lugard's description of the Nigerian within the context of what has gone down in 100 years since amalgamation, he may have actually been describing some leaders who would take charge of the country some five decades later. Consider Lugard's analogy, honestly.

Are Nigerian leaders not excitable?  On a general scale, did Nigerian leaders, since 1964/'65, not lack self control, discipline, and foresight, which led to the 30month war and the consequences of its outcome? Yes, the five majors who executed the January 1966 coup may have been "naturally courageous", but if they thought the leaders of the First Republic were "full of personal vanity, with little sense of veracity", how best can leaders of today be described?  Be the judge of that!

Their "thoughts are concentrated on the events and feelings of the moment", and they suffer "little from the apprehension for the future or grief for the past", Nigerian leaders have continued to do the same thing the same way while expecting a different outcome. Heads of government, five decades after Lugard's caustic assessment, started developing minds "far nearer to the animal world than that of the European or Asiatic" and the best example of this can be found in the insane acquisition of wealth on an incremental basis – because whereas Nigerians had always thought the incumbent would be the worst ever, they are always shocked beyond belief when the successor commences his unique expedition in looting. Lugard continues:  "He lacks the power of organisation, and is conspicuously deficient in the management and control alike of men or business" but he "loves the display of power, but fails to realise its responsibility".  Perhaps, no set of challenges best captures this assessment of Lugard than the fact that apart from the well-monitored, well-guided and well-guarded June 12 presidential election of 1993 (some 20years ago), no election in Nigeria's history has been adjudged free and therefore, not fair; the management of the economy, inspite of the huge mineral resources, particularly petro-dollars from crude oil sales, the economy and the infrastructure needed to drive same, are disgracefully in shambles. "In brief, the virtues and defects of this race-type are those of attractive children, whose confidence when it is won is given ungrudgingly as to an older and wiser superior and without envy….  Perhaps the two traits which have impressed me as those most characteristic of the African native are his lack of apprehension and his ability to visualize the future". The visualization of the future which Nigerian leaders had engaged in the last two decades had only gone further to prove the point: Lack of foresight.  First was the phrase, "Everything For All By 2000" (Education, Housing, Health et al).   Year 2000 came and has gone just like that, but there was nothing for all.  Then came the 202020 idea, a dream that envisions Nigeria becoming one of the 20 most advanced economies in the world by 2020, just some seven years away. The illogicality of this 202020 logic is that with the present construct of leadership and governance, even if other countries of the world arrest their development, Nigeria would not inch near the best 20 advanced economies of the world.  With corruption fueled by greed of the leadership cadre in the country, the compass for the 202020 voyage is already broken. Away from Lugard's insults, one thing to which he said and which ought to have been capitalized on by Nigerian leaders is the fact that the Nigerian "will work hard with a less incentive than most races". For a people whose needs are very modest, can't Nigerians leaders just rise above greed, pettiness and myopia and meet the very modest and basic needs of the people?

Perhaps, that is what the centenary celebrations should seek to address; and that is what Nigerians expect, looking forward.
 But is anybody still angry that Lugard insulted our grand-parents?  Maybe, the soldier of fortune should have embargoed his assessment for Nigerian leaders post 1965.

By Jide Ajani

Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

Every Day For 3 months, I Was Hung Upside Down, Tortured, Bloody And Unconscious

For Justin Nwankwo, a doctoral student of philosophy at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, what he went through inside the cell at the ... Full story

Young Nigerian Researcher Drowns In Israel

A man named Alqasim Mustapha Abdullahi, died in Israel on July 1st, 2015 while conducting research. He accidentally fell into a river and drowned during a ... Full story

My Friend Kidnapped And Sold Me To Ritualists For N150,000 - Timothy Lawani

Hearing the story of kidnapped people for ritual purposes or for a ransom is disturbing and many just thank God it isn’t them and pray ... Full story

Nigerian Man Dies While Under Custody Of Austria Police, Few Hours After His Arrest

31 year old Kingsley Chinagorom Echeta pictured above is from Imo State Nigeria and has an 11 month old daughter. Sadly, he painfully died a ... Full story

I Was Jobless For 6 Years - Ebi Akpeti

Ebi Akpeti, Manager, Corporate Communications, Promasidor Nigeria PLC shares some of the experiences that have shaped her journey in this interview with Eric Dumo Can you ... Full story

Man, 63, Arrested For Infecting Step Daughter With HIV

A 63-year-old man, Alabi Ibrahim, was on Friday re-arraigned in a court in Abeokuta, Ogun state, and remanded in prison for allegedly infecting his stepdaughter ... Full story

My Life Is At A Standstill – Widow Of Lagos Businessman Crushed By Trailer

In her mid-thirties, Tina Dimoji, is a woman who never imagined her life could come crashing down during an outing with her husband of 14 ... Full story

Six One Chance Armed Robbers Arrested In Kwara

Six men suspected to specialise in robbing passengers in commercial vehicles in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, have been apprehended by the Kwara State Police ... Full story

Team Pacquiao Sues Team Mayweather For $100M

Boxing promoter Bob Arum filed suit Wednesday against Al Haymon and his financial backers, claiming they are violating federal law by acting as illegal promoters ... Full story

Muhammadu Buhari Willing To Negotiation With Boko Haram (AUDIO)

According to President Muhammadu Buhari's special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, he revealed today that Buhari is open to negotiation with Boko Haram. President ... Full story

Comment on: The Truth Lord Lugard saw about Nigeria 100 years ago

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Buying Arsenal, Will Take Nigerian Flag Worldwide

At a recent media chat, Africa’s richest man and the richest black man in the world, Aliko Dangote, shared some vital tips on how to ... Full story

Rashidi Yekini Remembered In Portugal (Photo)

Rest In Peace Rashidi Yekini. Yekini remains the man with the highest number of international goals for Nigeria (37). Portugal is remembering him today but ... Full story

Nigerian Footballer, Fikayo Tomori Signs Chelsea

The 17 year old defensive player, who was born in Canada, shared the good news on twitter. Congrats to him. ... Full story

CBN Defends Selective Forex Restriction

The Central Bank of Nigeria has defended its decision to stop the use of foreign exchange for the importation of certain goods. This is contained in ... Full story

2face Idibia's Wife Annie Idibia Shows Off Hot Legs

  Mrs Idibia is presently shooting a movie in the US..Hot woman   ... Full story

Cobhams, Debanj, Phyno, Patoranking Others Shine At Road To Mamas

The red carpet of the Marquee at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island is currently bustling with excitement as super stars Cobhams, D’banj, Phyno, Iyanya, ...

NAFDAC Completes Investigation on Jim Iyke

Nollywood bad boy or ladies man as many might want to refer him to, Jim Iyke, is not relenting in his water business along with ...

Why Most Female Celebrities Are Unmarried- Susan Peters

Although she's yet to be married, but popular Nollywood actress Susan Peters who's elder sister wedded over the weekend knows the reasons most Nigerian female ...

Domestic Violence: If You Can’t Endure Anymore, Walk out of The Union…Shan George

With recent domestic violence being experienced by many women in their matrimonial homes, Nollywood actress, Shan George, has advised that it will be better they ...

Manchester United Poised To Break Bank With Swoops For Schweinsteiger And Cavani

Bayern Munich have told German World Cup winner Schweinsteiger that he can decide on his future. United manager Louis van Gaal is determined to be reunited ... Full story