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Brief History Of Nigeria Between 1849-1960 Of Independence by danielmichael(m): 9:14pm On Dec 29, 2014
The evolution of Nigeria from about 1849
until it attained independence in 1960 is
largely the story of the transformational
impact of the British on the peoples and
cultures of the Niger-Benue area.
The colonial authorities sought to define,
protect and realize their imperial interest
in this portion of West Africa in the
hundred or so years between 1862 and
1960, The British were in the Niger-
Benue area to pursue their interests,
which were largely economic and
strategic. In the process of seeking to
realize those interests, there were many
unplanned-for by-products.
The first critical step in this uncertain
path was taken in 1849 when, as part of
an effort to ‘sanitize’ the Bights of Benin
and Biafra, which were notorious for the
slave trade, the British created a
consulate for the two Bights. From here,
one thing led to another for the British,
especially to deepen involvement in the
political and economic life of the city
states of the Bights and to rivalry with
the French who also began showing
imperial ambitions in the area. The
result, in time, was that the British
converted the coastal consulate and its
immediate hinterland into the Oil Rivers
Protectorate in 1885, which, in 1893,
transformed into the Niger Coast
The apparently irreversible logic of this
development led to deeper and closer
involvement in the administration of the
peoples and societies of this segment of
Nigeria which, by the middle of the
twentieth century, came to be known as
Eastern Nigeria.
The second step, along the same path,
was taken about 1862 when the British
annexed the Lagos Lagoon area and its
immediate environs and converted same
into a crown colony. According to the
British, they did this in order to be better
able to abolish the slave trade which
used that area as export point. According
to Nigerian historians, on the other hand,
they did so to be better able to protect
their interest in the vital trade route that
ran from Lagos, through Ikorodu, Ibadan
and similar communities, to the Niger
waterway in the north and beyond into
Hausaland. Be that as it may, by 1897,
British influence and power had
overflowed the frontiers of Lagos and
affected all of Yorubaland which was
subsequently attached to Lagos as a
Protectorate. The political and
administrative unit which came to be
known as Western Nigeria in the 1950s
came as the end of this second step.
The third and final step in this uncharted
path came in 1888. The British
administered political ‘baptism’ on
Greyne Goldie’s National African
Company which had successfully
squeezed out rivals, British and non-
British, from the trade in the lower Niger,
following a trade war of almost
unprecedented ferocity. As a result of the
‘baptism’, Goldie’s company became the
Royal Niger Company, chartered and
limited. It also acquired political and
administrative powers over a narrow belt
of territory on both sides of the river
from the sea to Lokoja, as well as over
the vast area which, in the 20th century,
came to be known as Northern Nigeria.
Thus, by about 1897, the three blocks of
territory had emerged, as British colonial
possessions, from moves made during
the period of the These three blocks of
territories One change, perhaps the
major one, was that the charter of the
Royal Niger Company was withdrawn and
the territory under its shadowy control
was declared the Protectorate of
Northern Nigeria and brought under the
Colonial Secretary. Similarly, the Niger
Coast Protectorate, which had been
under the Foreign Secretary, was
renamed the Protectorate of Southern
Nigeria and brought under the Colonial
Secretary. In addition, the narrow “strip
of Royal Niger Company from Lokoja to
the sea”, which had divided the Niger
Coast Protectorate into two, was united
with it, thus bringing the western and
eastern halves of that administration
together territorially. The Lagos Colony
and Protectorate underwent no change
while continuing under the controlling
authority of the Colonial Office. With
these three units then brought under the
Colonial Office, the situation was created
in which the management of their affairs
came to be informed by the same theory
and practice of administration.
The amalgamation of 1914 offered an
opportunity for making changes in the
unsatisfactory arrangement, but not
much was achieved this area. All that
was created was a body known as the
Nigerian Council which met once a year
to listen to what may be called the
Governor’s address on the state of the
Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. The
body had no legislative powers
whatsoever. The same ambivalence
based on imperial self-interest that
characterized the Lugardian approach to
seeing and treating Nigeria as one
political entity and Nigerians as
members of one political family was also
evidenced in the constitutional
development efforts of his successors.
For example, while the Sir Hugh Clifford
Constitution of 1922 introduced the
elective principle for legislative houses
for the first time, the Legislative Council
which replaced Lugard’s Nigerian Council
legislated only for the Colony and
Southern Provinces while the Governor
continued to legislate for the Northern
Provinces through proclamations. The
forty-six-member Council, presided over
by the Governor, was dominated by ex-
official and nominated members.
The Legislative Council system thus
implied a division of responsibility to
govern Nigeria between the United
Kingdom-based British Government and
the government established in the
Colony. Besides, Nigerians were excluded
from membership of the Executive
The Richards Constitution of 1946,
though it had among its objectives the
promotion of the unity of Nigeria and
securing greater participation by
Nigerians in discussing their affairs,
deliberately set out to cater for the
diverse elements within The country,
Significant provisions of this new
constitution included the establishment
of a re-constituted Legislative Council
whose competence covered the whole
country; the abolition of the official
majority in the Council; the creation of
Regional Councils consisting of a House
of Assembly in each of the Northern,
Eastern and Western Provinces, and
creation of House of Chiefs in the North,
whose roles were purely advisory rather
than legislative. Significantly, however,
the Richards Constitution was designed
without full consultation with Nigerians
which explains the hostility with which it
was greeted, especially in the South.
Although the Richards Constitution was
expected to last for nine years,
opposition to it, especially from the
political leaders, was so strong that a
new constitution, the Macpherson
Constitution, was promulgated in 1951.
Unlike its predecessors, there was
significant participation of Nigerians in
its making from the village level up to the
Ibadan General Conference of 1950; the
major provisions of the Constitution were
as follows: the establishment of a 145-
member House of Representatives, 136
of them elected, to replace the
Legislative Council; a bicameral
legislature for both the North and West,
one being the House of Chiefs while the
East retained the unicameral House of
Assembly; the establishment of a Public
Service Commission to advise the
Governor on the appointment and
control of public officers; the competence
of the Regional Legislatures to legislate
on a range of prescribed subjects while
the central legislature was empowered to
legislate on all matters including those
on the Regional Legislative lists.
Substantially, therefore, the 1951
Constitution was more or less a half-way
house between regionalization and
federation. Between 1951 and 1954, two
important constitutional conferences
were held in London and Lagos between
Nigerian political leaders and the British
government. These resulted in a new
1954 Federal Constitution whose main
features were: the separation of Lagos,
the nation’s capital, from the Western
Region; the establishment of a Federal
Government for Nigeria comprising three
regions, namely, North, West and East
with a Governor-General at the centre
and three Regional Governors; the
introduction of an exclusive Federal
Legislative List as well as a Concurrent
List of responsibilities for both the
Federal and Regional Governments, thus
resulting in a strong central government
and weak regions; regionalization of the
Judiciary and of the public service
through the establishment of Regional
Public Service Commissions, in addition
to the Federal one.
From the point of view of the evolution of
the Nigerian state, the most significant
thing about the 1954 Constitution, which
remained in force until Independence in
1960, was that the Lugardian principle of
centralization was replaced by the
formula of decentralization as a matter
of policy in the administration of the
Nigerian state.
Re: Brief History Of Nigeria Between 1849-1960 Of Independence by tpiah11: 9:46pm On Mar 12, 2016
early mission, 1885, Lagos.

1 Like

Re: Brief History Of Nigeria Between 1849-1960 Of Independence by tpiah11: 10:09pm On Mar 12, 2016
Lagos newspaper, 1895


Re: Brief History Of Nigeria Between 1849-1960 Of Independence by daprince1017: 6:23am On Oct 01, 2016
Nice write up, happy independence day and new month to u all.
Re: Brief History Of Nigeria Between 1849-1960 Of Independence by GoggleB(m): 6:53am On Oct 01, 2016
Happy Birthday Nigeria...
May God deliver us from people from the economic woes.
Re: Brief History Of Nigeria Between 1849-1960 Of Independence by gidgiddy: 7:11am On Oct 01, 2016
There was no Nigeria in 1849
Re: Brief History Of Nigeria Between 1849-1960 Of Independence by slivertongue: 5:22pm On Aug 09, 2017
Re: Brief History Of Nigeria Between 1849-1960 Of Independence by iseeicome: 6:10am On Oct 18, 2017
Re: Brief History Of Nigeria Between 1849-1960 Of Independence by Nobody: 6:57am On Oct 18, 2017
OK. your history is inconsequential. how did the name Nigeria came about? Yoruba's will always cunn to suit their taste.
Re: Brief History Of Nigeria Between 1849-1960 Of Independence by ajibukunoluwa: 7:50am On Apr 04, 2019
OK. your history is inconsequential. how did the name Nigeria came about? Yoruba's will always cunn to suit their taste.

Flora Shaw was the person who named Nigeria, she was a bristish jornalist then, and named Nigeria after the Niger River.

You can read more about it here http://thenationnigeria.com/the-british-colonization-of-nigeria/

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