First Advisor

Charles M. White

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) in History






Nigeria -- Politics and government, Great Britain -- Colonies -- Africa -- Administration, Politics and government



Physical Description

1 online resource (112 pages)


This thesis is to indicate the positive British role in developing Nigeria during the Colonial period to the point that effective self-government became possible. The study is approached analytically, utilizing information primarily from printed sources, but including conclusions from the author's experience and informal interviews from local chiefs who lived through much of the Colonial period.

Between 1849 and 1906, West African territories were occupied by several European powers who subjected the peoples to a new type of administration. In Nigeria, Britain was the Colonial master. The British unquestionably benefited economically from their control of Nigeria, but, to their credit, they also endeavored to create a colony in which the subject peoples would ultimately be able to take over the country's administration. Side by side with the British Government / commercial and religious groups with economic and religious motives, moved into Nigeria and introduced new concepts and practices of the western world. Barriers to effective administration and rapid advancement of native authority during the initial stages of British control were due, not to the shortcomings of the British Administrators, but, rather, in large measure to the traditions and social structures of the various peoples. Moreover, sufficient revenue was not available due to the underdeveloped economic resources and because local taxation was not introduced in the early days of the British administration. Assistance in the form of revenue came from the British Government and commercial groups.

By the end of the Second World War administrative progress was encouraging, and radical approaches to democratic self-government reached a high peak. The process of transition to full-scale democracy on the British model proceeded rapidly. The British Government assisted the establishment of popularly elected majorities. The executive councils were taken over by politicians drawn from and responsible to the majorities. The system of one man, one vote was initiated. In general, Britain was remarkably successful in training Nigerians to assume control of their country, and the British efforts cannot be erased from the history books or from the minds of many Nigerians. The result was a united, viable, and independent Nigeria.


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