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CENTENARY COMMEMORATIVE EDITION

TheGuardian Conscience, Nurtured by Truth

Vol. 30, No. 12,851

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

www.ngrguardiannews.com

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Editor’s Notebook

CENTENARY: Not so Grand Finale! By Martins Oloja HE SO-CALLED GRAND FINALE of the year-long centenary celebration, which culminated in last Friday’s award/dinner night in Abuja was a grandiloquent celebration of mediocrity! The other day, a Dutch journalist who has done some works in West Africa and Nigeria had noted in a remarkable article that mediocrity was fast overtaking graft in Nigeria. This newspaper culled the controversial article that was hailed by many readers. I do not have any other word to describe the whole Centenary narrative last weekend, other than a “cerebration of mediocrity”. As a Nigerian, one had expected to see in the grand finale some historical documents and documentaries on Nigeria in the last 100 years. Was it material poverty or poverty of the mind and ideas that deprived the Centenary Committee from doing and publishing something grand, something historic and historical, something remarkable about Nigeria for the young and old, local and foreign observers to see? What has been the highpoint of the year-long celebration? Is the award night the highpoint? Award dominated by all former heads of state? What is the significance of the award to Chief Ernest Shonekan whose Interim National Concoction (Government) was declared illegal by a court? What is the worth of the award to the late General Sani Abacha when the federal government is still recovering some disputed loot in Swiss Banks from his family? Why were there so many obvious and avoidable omissions? Why was the entire civil service omitted from the list of nominees? Those who are familiar with the public service parlance know that “public service” is not a synonym for “civil service” in any material particular. Was the media adequately represented by the late Herbert Macauley, Ernest Sisei Ikoli and Babatunde Jose alone in the last 100 years in Nigeria?

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The house that Lugard built, 100 years after

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NIGERIA @ 100

The Record Amalgamation Proclamation Of 1914 Speech by the Governor-General (Sir F. Lugard) on the occasion of the declaration of the Constitution of the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, January 1, 1914. OU are all aware that His Majesty’s ities of which I deeply appreciate, in such a Y Government, after long and mature consider- manner as to deserve His Majesty’s approval, ation, arrived some time ago at the conclusion that it would be to the great advantage of the countries known as Southern and Northern Nigeria that they should be amalgamated into the one Government, conforming to one policy and mutually co-operating for the moral and material advancement of Nigeria as a whole. This policy had been strongly advocated by Sir William Macgregor as Governor of Lagos, by Sir Ralph Moor as High Commissioner of Southern Nigeria, and by myself as High Commissioner of Northern Nigeria about ten years ago. It has continued to be advocated by Sir Walter Egerton and my successors in Northern Nigeria. He construction of rival railways in Northern and Southern Nigeria accentuated the necessity having a single railway policy, with a single administration, and over a year ago the Secretary of State decided that the time had come to give effect to the scheme of constituting a single Government for Nigeria. Mr. Harcourt was pleased to select me to carry out this difficult task, and he appointed me in the first instance as Governor separately of the two distinct Governments of Northern and Southern Nigeria, with a view to informing myself of Local conditions and submitting to him my proposals for Amalgamation. I had the honour to submit ththose proposals for his consideration on May 9 last. They were accepted in all essentials, and today they are to take effect. I desire therefore as briefly as possible to describe to you, and through you to the official and unofficial community of Nigeria the basis on which this Amalgamation is to be carried out, and the principal changes which will result. The Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria will be placed under the control of a single officer upon will control of a single officer upon whom His Majesty has been pleased to confer the title of Governor-General, thus indicating the importance of this country among the Crown Colonies and Protectorates of the Empire. That portion which has hitherto been Northern Nigeria will be known in future as the Northern Provinces, while the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria will be known as the Southern Provinces of Nigeria; each will be under the immediate control of a Lieutenant-General responsible to the GovernorGeneral. The Colony in view of its separate status and traditions will preserve a separate identity, under an Administrator of its own dealing direct with the Governor-General. For the present, the Central Headquarters will remain at Lagos, and the Governor-General will divide his time between the Headquarter Stations of the Northern and the Southern Provinces. His Majesty, through the Secretary of State, has been pleased to confer on me the high honour of appointment as Governor-General, and I humbly hope that I may be enabled to discharge the functions of this office, the great responsibil-

CENTENARY PUBLICATION TEAM • Kabir Alabi Garba (Head) • Tope Templer Olaiya (Scribe) • Akinlolu Olumuyiwa • Gregory Austin Nwakunor • Eno-Abasi Sunday • Anote Ajeluorou • Femi Alabi Onikeku • Godwin Dunia • Ajibola Amzat

and to the satisfaction and contentment of His Majesty’s loyal subjects and of all the people of Nigeria. To succeed in such a task would be impossible unless I have the goodwill and cooperation of all classes, Official and Unofficial, irrespective of race or creed, and I take this opportunity of earnestly asking for that cooperation and loyal assistance, assuring you at the same time that, so far as in me lies, I shall not spare myself nor find any work too hard or arduous, if I can thereby advance the true interests of this country and of each individual person in it, whatever his race or creed, or however humble his rank. For the high and responsible posts of Lieutenant-Governors of the Southern and Northern Provinces His Majesty has selected Mr. A. G. Boyle, C.M.G. and Mr. C. L. Temple, C.M.G. officers in whose loyalty and ability he has the highest confidence, and in whose hand the welfare of the Protectorate is assure. As Administrator of the Colony the Secretary of State has selected Mr. F. S. James, whose C.M.G. long experience in the South marks him out as the most fitting officer for the post. I may be permitted to offer to these officers my congratulations, and to express my deep satisfaction that I am privileged to work with them as my colleagues. Various schemes for the dividing of Nigeria into many administrations have been put forward in the Press and elsewhere, but it has been considered advisable to retain the old and well-known boundaries, at any rate for the present and until circumstances demand a change, more especially because the Northern and Southern Provinces are at present under two different sets of laws, the unification of which must necessarily be a task of magnitude which will take time to effect. I had hoped to be able to recommend to the Secretary of State some scheme for a Legislative Council of Nigeria, but at present and until communications by railway are greatly extended the proposition is physically impossible. The Legislative Council of Nigeria, if it is to represent the public opinion of Nigeria, must draw its Unofficial Members alike from Calabar and Lagos in the South, and from the Minefields and Kano in the North. To no place, however central, could the busy merchants and others find time to come in order to attend the Councils meetings. It would be manifestly unjust to place the Mohammedan Emirates of the North and the Mining interests on the Bauchi Plateau under a Council sitting on the Coast, in which they could have no representation. The only alternative is that the Legislative Council of the Colony shall in the future limit its sphere to the guidance and control of the Legislature of the Colony. And let me here remind you of the enormous extent of Nigeria, Its area comprises over 330,000 square miles – more than 5 times the size of England and Scotland, or one-third the size of British India. The European population is scattered over this area. The largest community is probably at the Minefields in the Bauchi Province, the next largest at Lagos nearly 1,000 miles distant. There are other centres widely separated from each other at Calabar and other Coast towns, at Zungeru and at Kano, while the Niger Company which has the largest capital of

any single firm, has its headquarters at Burutu. Other means than a single Legislative Council must therefore be right by which, on the one hand, not only local public opinion of the Principals of the Commercial and Mining. Firms, and of other Institutions which have interests in the country, may be given an opportunity of expressing itself, and on the other hand, that the officers of the ripest experience and the most proved ability may be consulted regarding proposed Legislation and on affairs of moment. To effect these objects the Secretary of State has approved firstly of an Executive Council for Nigeria which shall consist of the senior officers of the whole Administration, secondly, of a deliberative and advisory Council, to be called the Nigerian Council, which shall meet not less often than once a year, and thirdly, that all proposed Ordinances with a few necessary exceptions shall be published in the Gazette for two months prior to enactment, so that opinion may be freely expressed before a law is enacted. The Members of the Executive Council named in the Royal Instructions are:The Lieutenant-Governors of the Southern and Northern Provinces, the Administrator of the Colony, the Attorney-General, the Director of Railways and Works, the Commandant of the Troops, the Director of Medical Services, the Treasurer, the Director of Marine and the Comptroller of Customs. The official Members of the Nigerian Council will include the Members of the Executive Council and all 1st Class Residents or Commissioners, the Central Secretary, the Secretaries in the Northern and Southern Provinces and the Political Secretary. The Unofficial Members will include a member of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and of any Chamber of Commerce which may be estab-

lished in Calabar, and a Member of the Local Chamber of Mines, - all resident in Nigeria and to be nominated by those bodies together with four additional European and six Native gentlemen nominated by the Governor-General. The former to be representative of Commerce, Shipping, Mining and Banking, the latter to be representative of the Native population both of the Coast and of the Interior. The Official Membership of the Legislative Council of the Colony has been somewhat altered by the new Royal Instructions, in order that those officers whose work is especially concerned with the Colony may take part in the its deliberations. The they will for the present by the Administrator, the Legal Adviser, the Municipal Engineer, the Senior Municipal Sanitary Officer, the Assistant Treasurer, the Harbour Master, the Commissioner of Lands and the Commercial Intelligence Officer, The Official Members of the old Council have been re-appointed by His Majesty to the new Council with the exception of Mr. Millar and Dr. Johnson who have resigned and whose places have not yet be filled. All three Councils will be presided over by the Governor-General. Southern Nigeria was, as you know, divided into three provinces, the Eastern, Central and Western, each under a Provincial Commissioner. In future the Southern Provinces will be nine in number, each of the old Provinces being divided into three. Each Province will be under a Commissioner or Resident assisted by an adequate staff. Departmental officers will be directly under the Head of their own Department. I come now to the Judiciary, concerning which there has I think, been some misapprehension. It was recognized alike by my …… and by the Chief Justice that the extension of Supreme Court jurisdiction into the Interior was inadvis-


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NIGERIA @ 100

EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK

CENTENARY: Not so Grand Finale!

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 As a journalist and researcher, I had expected the Centenary Celebration Secretariat to have commissioned some experts, historians, political scientists and others to document for us some newsworthy stories often ignored, or never explored in the last 100 years. What is more, why was Professor Kenneth Onwuka Dike ignored among historians and pioneers when he was the one who reportedly formed the Historical Society of Nigeria in 1955? Professor Dike was the first Nigerian Principal of the University College of Ibadan. He was the pioneer Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan. He was said to have established the National Archives in 1952 and served as its first Departmental Head as Director. The Society had a self-sponsored colloquium on the Centenary in Abuja. Why didn’t the Centenary Committee commission the Society to do a grand documentation of Nigeria at 100? Even when the Rivers State organised its own Centenary tagged Port Harcourt @ 100 in November, 2013, there was a grand ceremony and it was properly documented in a grander style with a book edited by famous scholars, Professor E.J Alagoa and Judy Nwanodi. The book is entitled, Port Harcourt at 100: Past, Present and Future. Foreword to the book is written by no less a person than a famous History scholar, Patrick Dele Cole, Ph.D. It is a world-class scholarly document. Why didn’t the presidency borrow a leaf from this worthy effort? More questions! What is more, I listened to the Masters of Ceremony that handled the grand finale in Abuja and the impression created by their not-so-grand performance was that they were either recruited in some haste or they were briefed to celebrate mediocrity. This is the thing: why couldn’t the MCs recall simple facts about all the former presidents and heads of state that were present there to make the occasion remarkable? In the last 100 years, there have been some landmarks in Nigeria, notably, establishment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC); building of a brand new capital, Abuja and there are more. But for that occasion, the creator of NYSC, one of the most enduring monuments of unification, General Yakubu was there and he was honoured; yet no one mentioned NYSC. Alas, no MC could link Dr Gowon with this noble effort for the world to see that some of the good old men that have nurtured Nigeria are still alive. Even Abuja, our Abuja was diminished ALAS! No speaker mentioned even Abuja, Nigeria’s unity capital and major symbol of our unity, on any of the many ceremonies. What is more, even when the late General Murtala Ramat Muhammed was mentioned for honour, no speaker could associate him with proclaiming Abuja as Nigeria’s capital on February 3, 1976 and legalising it with a decree the following day, (February 4, 1976). It was General Olusegun

Obasanjo, as the then No.2, who reportedly assisted his boss to ‘procure’ Justice Akinola Aguda, a legal luminary and former CJ of Botswana, that headed the Presidential Panel, which recommended the site of the ‘Centre of Unity’, Abuja. He (the late Aguda) could not be remembered. Most people are persuaded that the late Aguda too is more historically significant than some of the awardees including Edwin Clark and Rilwanu Lukman. But then, the MCs could not deconstruct General Obasanjo, who took up the daunting task of building Abuja from scratch. No one remembered Obasanjo who could normally qualify any day for the ‘last man standing’ whenever Nigeria’s unity is discussed. He began the building of Abuja and former President Shehu Shagari reportedly celebrated Nigeria’s independence anniversary in the uncompleted capital in 1980. Besides, democracy returned Obasanjo to power in 1999 and he had yet another opportunity of restoring Abuja to its original Master Plan in 2003 when he was sufficiently angry that the plan had been desecrated: he brought in Malam Nasir el-Rufai, considered to be the right man to do the job of restoration. He did it to everyone’s admiration. The point is that even General

Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) who actualised the Murtala dream by relocating the capital proper on Thursday, December 12, 1991 was at the award ceremony. Too bad no one remembered the role of Generals Murtala, Obasanjo and IBB in the building of Nigeria’s most significant Monument of Unity since 1914. Why didn’t the Centenary Committee, which worked for more than a year, remember to give Abuja a separate award? Why was there no colloquium on Abuja either on December 12, 2013 or February 3, 2014 as part of the grand finale? It stands to reason that Abuja, our Abuja, should have been used to showcase the highpoint that the amalgamation of 1914 symbolises. I mean that even the MCs could not recall these historical facts that could have deepened understanding of the journey from 1914 to 2014? Whatever happened to the Committee’s sense of history on this score? Lest we forget, how could they have honoured Niger Deltans without remembering the significance of Adaka Boro and Ken Saro Wiwa? In this connection, why would the Committee recommend an honour to General Sani Abacha without remembering Henry Townsend and Samuel Ajayi Crowther? What really happened to the simple cognitive power of recall at the

Committee? Who else was more pioneering than pioneers such as role models that shaped history before 1914? Even if Townsend, who set up the first newspaper in Nigeria in 1859, and Crowther, an Anglican priest, who translated the English Bible into Yoruba, were irrelevant to the centenary points at issue, what about the pioneer civil servants within the 1914-2014 construct? Why was there no proper civil servant honoured? Why was the name generally associated with the civil service from the Western region, Chief Simeon Adebo omitted? Civil service literature has been constant with the review of journals and books on the evolution of the Nigerianisation of the service. And Phillipson-Adebo Commission of 1953 was a testimony that even a serving permanent secretary, Dr Tunji Olaopa, cited to justify claims that Simeon Adebo should have been honoured in this context. Olaopa’s article on the centenary of the civil service was published in this newspaper before the grand finale, yet no one read it to correct some anomalies! Curiously, the civil service was not represented in any groups. If there had been research works for the centenary, there would have been discovery of the lacuna that will haunt the organisers for life. They recognised only public servants, no civil servant was honoured. What a rush! Again, why were the armed forces not recognized as the most potent instrument of the Unity that we are celebrating? Is it not a fact that Abuja, the centre of unity was conceived by a military junta, built by a military junta, consolidated and legalised by a military regime? Why didn’t the Committee recognize the gallantry of the armed forces in Nigeria since 1914? Oh, my God, I recall that there have not been many quotable quotes in recent years in Nigeria, but no one could have forgotten the often quoted one by General Muhammadu Buhari: This generation of Nigerians and indeed future generations have no other country than Nigeria. We shall remain here and salvage it together. I just still wonder why no speaker or MC recalled this General’s word on marble when the point at issue at the award night was Nigeria’s Unity. This is one of the reasons, in this connection we have had to intervene with this remarkable compendium to mark the centenary in style for our wonderful readers. Just flip through, read and keep this memorable publication and forget about Abuja’s men afflicted with selected amnesia. Epilogue: I hope our people will continue to remember Abuja as the major symbol of unity and collective effort to showcase to the world that Nigeria too can build a monument. I hope someone has learned some lessons and picked some architecture in the ruins that this centenary debacle has become. Never again shall we celebrate mediocrity

Martins Oloja can be reached through martins.oloja@ngrguadiannews.com. Map of Northern and Southern protectorates taken in 1909

Lugard’s amalgamation speech

great regret that by force of circumstances, the country will lose the valuable services and ripe experience of Mr. Willoughby Osborne, and I am aware of the high estimation in which his services are held both here and at home. In saying good-bye to Nigeria he will have the satisfaction of feeling that he has discharged the functions of his high office with distinguished sucable and, before I came to Nigeria, steps had already been taken cess. To His Honour Chief Justice Sir Edwin Speed I tender my to curtail its jurisdiction. Schemes were already under consider- congratulations on his appointment and I am confident that ation for the creation of separate Courts in the Interior district. while he holds his high office, the proud traditions of British These schemes have now matured. Justice will ever be worthily maintained. It is obvious that there can only be one Chief Justice of the The curtailment of the territorial jurisdiction of the Supreme Supreme Court of Nigeria, and for this high office the Secretary Court, and the creation of Provincial Courts necessitates some of State has selected Sir Edwin Speed, who has experience in changes in the existing law, and I am indebted to Sir Edwin both Northern and Southern Nigeria and has much longer in Speed for the drafts of the new Ordinances which, with slight Nigeria than his colleague Mr. Willoughby Osborne, It gives me and unimportant alterations, will be enacted to give effect to his proposals. They will involve for the present some diminution in the powers of the Native Courts, but it is my earnest desire to see those Courts advance in ability and to maintain their prestige under purely Native Judges guided and supervised by the Commissioners of Provinces. The Scheme of Assizes and the method of conducting the business of the Supreme Court are in accordance with the proposals of the new Chief Justice. In future there will be a Court vacation for four months during the rains, and for the remainder of the year the Court will be in Session with its full complement of one Chief Justice and three or more Puisne Judges. The powers of the Provincial Courts are strictly limited and no sentence of over six months’ imprisonment is operative until it has been confirmed. A Magistracy, whose officers are Commissioners of the Supreme Court is set up for the Northern and Southern Provinces. Amalgamation Day: Tinubu Street, Lagos In the sphere of Departmental Administration

there are some changes of interest. The Railway, Marine and Customs Departments have already, as you are aware, been centralised as common to both South and Northern Nigeria. They remain outside the local administration of the Northern and Southern Provinces. In addition to these three departments the Judicial, the Military, the Treasury and the Posts and Telegraphs” become Central Departments. The Military Forces are organized into one Regiment with five Battallions and two Batteries under Colonel Carter, C.B, CMG as Commandant, with LieutenantColonel,Cunliffe as Assistant Commandant. Mr. Dale takes charges of the Treasury, and Mr. Somerville of the Posts and Telgraphs. A Director of the Medical Service and an Attorney General will act as Advisers to the Governor-General in their respective Departments. In the former case the Medical Departments of the Northern and Southern Provinces will remain distinct, while two legal Advisers will assist the Lieutenant-Governors who with the Administrator of the Colony, will have separate……… of local business. Mr. Cameron becomes the Secretary for the Central Administration, Major Moorhouse for the Southern and Mr. Matthews for the Northern Provinces. His Majesty the King has been pleased to approve of a new Badge for the flag of United Nigeria and of a new Seal. In future there will be only one Official Gazette. This, in brief outline, is the scheme of Amalgamation which takes effect to day. The Gazette Extraordinary published this afternoon will to a large extent fill in the details. It is impossible that any scheme which could have been devised should satisfy all the conflicting theories which have been propounded. The proposals I have made have the merit of simplicity. They cause no great dislocation, which would have been most disadvantageous at a moment of transition when divergent policies and methods have to be reconciled. I take this opportunity of publicly informing you that the Secretary of State has approved the construction of a new railway, which starting from the head of the Bonny estuary, will


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NIGERIA @ 100

Amalgamation landmarks HELP! HELP!! HELP!!! Mungo Park’s House Is Going By Hendrix Oliomogbe HE crumbling wooden house with creaky staircase, which is reported to have once served as the seat of the Oil River, the precursor of the Southern Protectorate, is a metaphor of the sorry state of affairs in the country. Compared to the ornate State House, Marina, Lagos and Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja, a visitor to this ramshackle building will hardly believe that power once flowed from this derelict edifice before the famous amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates, which resulted in modern Nigeria in 1914. The sophistication of this pre-fabricated story building lies in the fact that the materials consisted mainly of wellprocessed wood. The materials were cut to sizes and treated in Europe, and imported just to be coupled together in the country to form the weather-beaten structure. Tucked in a corner right behind Delta State High Court three and the state Library Board complex on the main street of Nnebisi, this pre-colonial antiquity, which was built by the Royal Niger Company, in 1886, and named after the famous British explorer, Mungo Park, who died while attempting to discover the source of the majestic River Niger, is in real danger of caving in, if no serious renovation work is carried out, and on time. There is a gloomy sensation occasioned by the dreary landscape where the fast crumbling upstairs is situated. There are gaping holes on the wooden platform, which serves as the top floor and the staircase. Even though they have occasionally been repaired, a walk up the staircase is still not for the faint hearted for fear that the 128-year-old building may just collapse, leading to fatalities. Built during the time of Sir George Tubman Goldie by the United Africa Company (UAC), the building was named after the famous explorer, Mungo Park, who died in 1806, when his boat capsized at New Bussa, Niger State, during an expedition on the River Niger. Hugh Clapperton, who took over from him, abandoned the exploration in 1827. Richard and John Lander (the famous Lander brothers) started from where Clapperton stopped and were believed to have anchored in Asaba in 1830 before venturing to the mouth of the River Niger right on the Atlantic Ocean. Sir Goldie was appointed as the administrator of the Oil Rivers in 1884 and immediately merged the various small British firms that were in operation to form the UAC conglomerate. The company was granted license by the British Government and its headquarters was located in Asaba. Way back in 1879, Goldie had set up the National African Company, which operated in the lower valley of the River Niger in West Africa. He then united other British traders with similar economic aims to join him in the ownership of the amalgamated company, which he then renamed. With the partition of Africa at the Berlin Conference of 1885, the company, in 1886, received a charter of incorporation from the British government and was authorised to engage in the administration of the area on behalf of the British crown. Its tremendous success in palm oil business with the locals was to be its major undoing, as the British government in far away London closely monitored its activities and became envious. The government stepped in and took over UAC, which was then christened as the Royal Niger Company (RNC). The company flag, Ars Jus Pax was lowered in place of the Union Jack. With British government’s direct intervention, business boomed to the extent that a big warehouse was needed to store the produce, hence, the construction of Mungo Park’s House. It was mutual co-prosperity for the British and the locals, but Asaba people nursed a deep grudge against the British whom they accused of looking down on them and also engaging in sharp business practice. The white ways, culture, education and religion were radically different from those of their hosts. This resulted in the Ekumeku uprising, which lasted from 1898 to 1914 and is regarded by some historians as one of the longest resistance put up by any group against colonial imperialism in Nigeria. After fighting for more than a quarter of a century, the British triumphed, but they were thoroughly shaken. It was crystal clear that that their time in Asaba was numbered. The atmosphere for legitimate business was no longer conducive, and so, had to relocate to Calabar which served briefly then as the capital of the fledging protectorate. The Royal Niger Company was the forerunner of British colonialism in present day Nigeria as the company entered into treaties with locals and also conquered territories, which were later, annexed to the British Empire. In fact, it was on the strength of the company’s conquest that the

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British derived authority as well as imperial influence to present and support arguments on claims of territories when the major European powers met at the Berlin conference to partition Africa. With solid facts on the ground as a result of the activities of the Royal Niger Company, British claims were easily recognized by other world leaders at the parley, which was called by German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in the Imperial German capital. The Public Relations Officer of the museum, Okoroafor Ikechukwu, said that the building was handed over to the Federal Government through the National Commission for Museum and Monument (NCMM), in 1997. Though it has been a Federal Government property for almost 17 years, nothing has changed. Museums, he said, are supposed to keep legacies and heritage and that is why the edifice was declared a monument as it once served as the administrative headquarters of Nigeria, adding that if in 1900 the government changed and the administration of the territory was then run at this place, it followed that it momentarily served as the administrative headquarter of the country or of the Southern Protectorate of Nigeria before it was moved to Calabar. He remarked that, in 1900, when the Royal Niger Company handed over the reins of power of the budding colony to the British Government simultaneously in Lokoja and Asaba, the company’s flag was lowered and the Union Jack (British flag) was hoisted. Before then, the company controlled the area administratively, but immediately the British Government took over in 1900, Lord Lugard started the adminisMungo Park House, Asaba tration. The Education Officer, Chidi Uchenna, explained that Europeans from England shipped the pre-fabricated woods for the construction of the building through the River Niger. All the woods were cut to sizes before shipment. The major schedule of the workmen was simply to fix them. They just mounted the iron stand and began to fix the wood. The nuts and screws were pre-fabricated also and were simply knotted together at the site in Asaba. Uchenna lamented the present sorry state of the building, saying it is a national embarrassment. With its dilapidating form, there is no way an exhibition can be mounted there. There is an urgent need to restore it to near perfect state just as it was when it was constructed. With adequate funds, the building can be put back to near normal because there is no way the original material can be sourced. He added: “It is on record that several warehouses were built along the bank of the River Niger from Lokoja all the way down to Asaba and even in Port Harcourt and Calabar by the company for its business venture but the wooden storey building was its headquarters and it served both as offices and residential house for senior officers of the company who traded mostly in palm oil and palm kernel. It was named “Mungo Park House” in remembrance of the late British explorer for the significant role he played by paving the way for other explorers to discover the economic potentials in the area.” Against the backdrop of its historical significance, one expects that the museum’s signpost should be located on the busy Nnebisi Road as the edifice is situated on a cul de sac some 100 metres off the road, instead of the present position just before the entrance where it heralds people to the historical house. As for visitors to the monument, Uchenna said it mainly plays host to students on excursion and academics who are doing research. There is a royal exhibition of all the traditional rulers in Delta State in one of the halls, which is partitioned with wood. He lamented: “The building was constructed with strong wood and iron and has served many government establishments. The

... Once upon By Chido Okafor ORÇADOS is a small town in Burutu Local council of Delta Fnavigable State. It is named after the Forcados River, which is a major channel of the Niger Delta, southern Nigeria. It is about 20 miles (32 km) downstream from Aboh and flows through zones of freshwater swamps, mangrove swamps, and coastal sand ridges before completing its 123 miles (198 km) course to the Bight of Benin. Since about 1900 it has been the chief link for small ship traffic between the Niger River and the Gulf of Guinea. In the early 20th century, Forçados was a destination port for steamers from England until the river silted up. People have been fishing on this river for years and then a dock on the Niger River to sell/store and use for personal consumption. The Forçados River is a channel in the Niger Delta, in southern Nigeria. It flows for approximately 198 km and meets the sea at the Bight of Benin in Delta State. It is an important channel for small ships. The Forçados River splits from the Niger River at the same point as the Nun River. A British merchant, Macgregor Laird, with the aid of a British government subsidy opened trading posts in Brass, Burutu, Aboh, Onitsha and Lokoja before 1886 when Goldie secure a royal charter for his company the Royal Niger Company by which the company became the government of the Niger. Forcados is only about 24 kilometres from Burutu. They were the busiest ports in the colonial period but today the commercial fame both towns enjoyed in the 19th century have fizzled out with the emergence of modern ports in Warri, PortHarcourt and Lagos. Much of the agricultural produce shipped down the Niger


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begging for facelift ... Water board, school of handicraft, the Post and Telecommunications (P and T), library and many other government establishments have had offices here at one time or the other since it passed over to government in 1900. But ironically, this national monument of political, historical and cultural significance bears a sordid tale of neglect. The relic is in dire need of restoration.” Ikechukwu faulted the argument in some quarters that Calabar was Nigeria’s truly first seat of power and that Asaba, the current capital of Delta State was a mere trading headquarters, saying that it was the Royal Niger Company that extended the British influence in what later became Nigeria including Lokoja, another claimant. The Royal Niger Company played significant role in the making of the country. In commemoration of the 1830 historic anchoring of the boat with which the Lander brothers sailed to Asaba from Bussa in present day Niger State in their quest to discover the source of the River Niger, the Delta State government under former Governor James Ibori built an anchorage in Asaba. Commissioned by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on January 17, 2002, the centrally located edifice by the bank of the River Niger which is constructed in multi coloured marble with a bottom cycled stepson top of which rests the elevated golden chained anchorage was to mark the remarkable incident in history as well as to promote and preserve the past. Besides, the anchorage is the expatriate graveyard where seventeen staff members of UAC were buried. The names on the tombstones of these 19th century expatriates, most of whom died from malaria are still visible. With these vestiges of a colonial past, the Asaba museum spokesman said that between 1886 when Mungo Park’s House was built to 1900 when the British left to Calabar, Asaba was truly the capital of the colonial area, which was later, named Nigeria. He insisted that the relic may not have had the grand architectural designs and aesthetics of a modern day State House in Nigeria, but one thing is for sure, a proper history of Nigeria will not be complete without Mungo Park House. It did play a crucial role in the past affairs of the country.

Forcados and Burutu and the Forcados is now instead exported from Warri, a Delta port connected to the river by the 25-mile- (40-kilometre-) long Warri River. Petroleum deposits were discovered offshore from Burutu in 1964, and crude oil was exported from a loading point at sea after 1965. In 1971, the disused port of Forcados was revived as an oil tanker terminal, connected by pipelines to the oilfields. Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, said the Forcados is a Portuguese name and was the first seaport in Nigeria. He said: “It was the headquarters of government administration particularly Western Ijaw division. There were district officer, medical officers there in its hey days. A lot of Nigerians were working at the Forcados. “An Island which was reclaimed by the colonial government, it is only about seven to 10 kilometres from Burutu. Burutu was UAC headquarters where the Royal Niger Company was based. At a point company occupied the whole of Burutu. “It was a terminal for all goods from the North and Cameroun – everywhere – ship go from time to time. Ships came down carrying various goods like cotton, groundnut, hide and skin. From Burutu the goods are taken by many ships overseas.” Clarks added that Burutu was the most important training center in Nigeria – particularly from the Niger and Benue Rivers, and that during the civil war, the rebels killed many Nigerians, they were able to… And so, people ran away to wherever they could go to and that affected Burutu. Today, Burutu is the headquarters of a local council. It has one primary school, an Anglican and Catholic Churches. Although the Forcados River is used by considerable com-

mercial traffic, oceangoing vessels have not been able to use its exit to the sea since 1939 because of accumulated silt. Rivercraft and larger vessels now cross to the sea by the Escravos River, an arm of the Niger immediately to the north that was enlarged (1961–64) to accommodate vessels of 22foot (7-metre) draft. The President of the Delta Shippers Association and former Chairman of the Warri Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Augustin Egbegbadia, recalls how as a very little boy the Frocados and Burutu ports were the hubs of commercial activities in Southern Nigeria. “When I was growing up as a kid there were a lot of activities in Forcados and Burutu ports – palm produce and other agricultural products were exported through these ports. But since the era of marketing boards, these two ports went into oblivion. Then after a long while, I know that the Delta State government tried to put up a dry docking facility in Burutu where vessels are maintained, but I don’t know if that facility is still running or not, and if it is not running and gone comatose, I cannot tell you why; I want to believe that it is not running well otherwise everyone will see and hear about, that is for Forcados and Burutu ports – nothing is happening there and these are natural ports that government does not need to spend money on. They are just there by the sea unlike the inland ports. If you go to Europe you see small ports that are doing very well because of their locations, like in Holland.” Egbegbadia is particularly miffed that in spite of the colonial relevance of the Burutu and Forcados ports, government abandoned them and today government pretends these ports don’t exist.


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NIGERIA @ 100

Lokoja… A confluence of hope By Gregory Austin Nwakunor T was a perfect day in Lokoja. The weather was hot, but not scorching. The winds were soulful in their rhythms, settling into the air seductively. Everybody went about his or her business seriously. The kamikaze drivers or motorbike riders were unusually disciplined, going about their day’s activities gently, without unnecessary hooting of horns, overtaking or being involved in neck-breaking speed. A laidback town without much of the hustle and bustle of Lagos, Lokoja is the capital of Kogi State. It is located on the intersecting point of longitude 7’49° and latitude 6’ 44° on the map of Nigeria. The town evokes magic in the night, especially on Lord Lugard Road, named in memory of Nigeria’s first GovernorGeneral, where the Kogi State Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is situated. Apart from the NPF, the road also hosts Lugard Court, which houses Upper Area Court 2 of the Kogi State Judiciary Service, a Press Centre and guesthouse run by the Kogi State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Kogi State Tourism Board Headquarters. With vibrant neighbourhoods and a swath of rivers Niger — Nigeria’s longest river, the Niger, which straddles some 4,160km from its source in the Futa Djallon Highlands on the Sierra Leone and Guinean border — and Benue — from the Cameroun — running through and forming a Y shape at the spot where the two meet, Lokoja is Nigeria’s tourism gain with its compelling sites. It throws up innumerable tourist attractions — hills, a plateau, two rivers and a confluence. An atmospheric old town, views across the captivating hilly scenery from Mount ‘Patti’, which peaks at 458.3metres above sea level, a visitor to Lokoja could see the landscape. Though, not as naturally endowed with modern architecture, the town has hold on reality. In fact, a tourist can savour alluring sight of terraces of houses cascading down. It is a notch between the modern and ancient — A meaningful pause. The sheer sight of the kaleidoscope of colours of the thousands of houses, all within the sight of a visitor, this is accentuated by the muddy colour River Niger imposing itself behind the town. During the dry season, sandy patches of land, perfect spots for picnics, emerge from the much-dropped volume of waters. However, these seasonal islands are usually submerged throughout the rainy season. For almost 90 years, the town was a snapshot of faded memory until 1991. After so many years of being an ex, the then Head of Sate, General Ibrahim Babangida, gave Lokoja a chance to come back, and like Asaba, it has, with a vengeance, to reclaim lost ground. However, Lokoja’s place in Nigeria’s political history would be better understood bearing in mind that the inauguration of Lord Frederick Lugard as Governor of the then Northern Protectorate also held in that town on January 1, 1900. The city’s history traverses encounter with the whites, colonisation and administrative headquarters. But much has changed since 1991 due to a mix of private and public investment and relative political stability that the state has enjoyed. The town has a lot of natural and historical attractions. Among its many allures are: A Rest House named in honour of Lord Frederick Lugard, the first Governor of Northern Protectorate and later Nigeria’s Governor General between 1914 and 1919. The house stands atop the mountain. There is also a Cenotaph, which features three heavy artillery guns, stands along IBB Way. The cenotaph was erected in memory of Nigerian and British soldiers, who died in World Wars II and I. There are Old Prisons Yard, the tombs of deposed Emirs of Bida, Kano, Gumel and Zaria, Dockyard of the Inland Waterways Department and the Iron of Liberty monument depicting the spot, where slaves were freed in 1860. Lokoja also boasts of European Cemetery. The cemeteries, which are located in different places within town, hold six to eight hundred graves of Africans and Europeans tomb. There

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are actually two European Cemeteries in Lokoja, and both of them stand along IBB Way. The European Cemetery located across the road from St. John’s Church, the oldest Christian house of worship in the town, is more conspicuous and larger. It is located behind Kogi Traveller Motor Park, near Lokoja Local Council Secretariat. Till date, many relations of the European workers of the United African Trading Company (UTC or UAC), soldiers as well as missionaries buried in the European cemeteries in the town are trooping to the state to see the tomb of their departed great grandparents and pay tribute to them. Another important monument in the town is the spot, where, on December 31, 1899, the flag of the Royal Niger Company (RNC), forerunner of today’s United African Company (UAC), was lowered for the last time. This site stands on Ibrahim Taiwo Road, in front of Lokoja’s campus of the National Open University of Nigeria. Also, the Immaculate Conception Catholic Cathedral stands facing the historic site in Lokoja. Lokoja Museum is a specialised one, which focuses on the country’s colonial past, hence its name, Museum of Colonial History. The museum occupies what is rightly a monument because it is housed inside one of Lord Lugard’s senior staff quarters. Just beyond the gate, upon entering the facility, the visitor will find a bust of Lord Frederick Lugard on a pedestal more than 24 inches high. Many locals, however, feel that some of the facilities are not properly maintained. There are signs of decay and decrepit infrastructure in very many of these monuments. The Lugard Senior Staff quarters — three of them, National Museum, NUJ complex and Tourism board building — are eyesore. Whenever there is light out, a visitor cannot enter the museum because of the structure, which is gradually caving. While the cenotaph is

well kept, and had just gone through new painting when The Guardian visited, the colonial cemetery was in a very deplorable condition and needed urgent rehabilitation. Some of the people who spoke to The Guardian said the Federal Government is not sincere with what it wants to do about the monuments. “It is unfortunate that such a key historic site in Nigeria is in a deplorable condition. Hemp smokers, who used the place as a joint for smoking the dangerous drug, now patronise it,” said Ishola Adebowale from Aiyetoro, Kogi State. Adebowale, who is a commercial bus driver, noted: “You will weep if you know what this place used to be (pointing to the cemetery).” An opinion also echoed by Tijani Abdul, a native of Dekina. While not taking away the good work the Aerial view of River Niger at the Pata Market front state government is doing in some areas, he said: “Government should, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency on these colonial heritages, OKOJA rose to fame due to its location at which would now give it time to rehabilitate the confluence of two waterways — the them.” Niger and Benue rivers. These natural waterways served as the major means of communication and transportation especially for the riverside dwellers during colonial period. Because of its location, the town served as a commercial rendezvous during the east west kolanut trade in West Africa. It was also the trade distribution centre for an agricultural (chiefly cotton) region. According to Mrs. Jane Attah of the National Museum, Lokoja, ship used to anchor at the Niger for onward transportation of products such as groundnut, palm kernel and other agricultural products from the area. In 1775, the famed British explorer Mungo Park had blazed the trail as the first European to set foot here. Another expedition led by McGregor Laird and Richard Lander was carried out in 1832, followed by the 1841 exploration commanded by William and Bird Allen. Subsequently, Dr. William Balfour Baike With the arrival of the Europeans, the city became more famous when it served as the first British settlement in Nigeria and as a major inland port for European companies. The town grew to become cosmopolitan settlement peopled mostly by different ethnic groups from the middle belt and Hausa from the northern Nigeria. The homes, offices, warehouses and other structures eventually put up by these explorers and missionaries that berthed in Lokoja consequently transformed the settlement from a village into a bustling commercial town. This cosmopolitan nature have remains to date, the dilemma of Lokoja as various ethnic groups — notably the Oworo, Nupe, Igbirra, Hausa, Igala — lay claim to the ownership of the town. These claim and counterclaim is said to have affected the development of the town since Nigeria’s independence. Consequently, Lokoja metamorphosed from a transit trading post to a viable commercial centre. A British consul was appointed for the town in 1858, and by 1860, a permanent British settlement under Baikie was established, and the machinery for the smooth exploitation of the local potentials was set up. In 1865, the British government, in recognition of the town’s importance, had established a consulate here to ensure the protection of its commercial interest and the safety of the British subjects in the area. Spot where the Royal Niger Company flag was lowered for the British Union Jack on December 31, By 1875, four European firms — Miller

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Atlantic Ocean for onward movement to Britain is still there. Amidst the wind-stirred coolness of Niger at Pata Market, where a lot of vestiges of colonial settlement could still be gleaned from the warehouses on the road, the ramshackle structures in front of the river could make a visitor weep. Rubbing shoulders with these monuments are ample spots, where residents and visitors alike gather to unwind, such as the Confluence Resort. Most social activities in the town are around Lokoja International Market, at Nataco Junction and Ganaja area of the confluence city. Grace FM, Prime FM, Confluence FM, NTA, CTL, and Cable TVs, Graphic Newspaper serve the confluence city residents with information and entertainment, while Kogi State Polytechnic and Federal University of Lokoja cater for the educational needs of the city dwellers. A boat ride of N200 across the vast River Niger confluence in Ganaja Village opens a visitor to the vista the confluence offers. With pockets of housing estates that dot parts of the city and new ones emerging in Adankola Village and Kabawa, Lokoja still remains a nightmare for people looking for new accommodation or relocating to the city, especially those running away from Lugard Rest House on Mount Patti the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East of the country. According to Isaac Ibrahim, a civil servant, Pata, that has probably been on for more than of the Royal Niger Company, precursor of Brothers, the West African Company, the “Boko Haram has made Lokoja more populous today’s United African Company (UAC), hand- 200 years. The old Royal Niger Company Central African Company and James Pinnock and accommodation extremely expensive warehouses used to keep produce from the ed over the reigns of the Niger. were operating on the Niger. It was in Lokoja compared with the people’s income.” hinterland that was then shipped to the that Mr. George Taubman Goldie, the then head At the River Niger bank is a local market,

Ikot Abasi… Land of God where amalgamation seed was planted wooden plank are dilapidated, and will soon turn to ruin if urgent steps are not taken to preserve this historical monument for generKOT Abasi, which literally means a land ation unborn. that belongs to God in Ibibio language, is An architectural masterpiece, the wooden one important town in the country’s colostructure consists of his living room, guest nial history. In that rustic, serene town on room and others. This was where, it was gaththe way to Eket, Akwa Ibom State, the amal- ered, the British colonial master actually congamation of the Northern and Southern pro- ceptualised the idea of the amalgamation of tectorates was conceived, in 1914. the Northern and Southern protectorates. Hundred years after, all that is known and From a house of fame and history, the Lord heard of the coming to together of these two Lugard House, which was to be the historical protectorates, is a gory sight, as all the struc- reference point as a nation, has become fortures are begging for repairs and maintegotten, the rail lines used by the colonial masnance. ters to transact business still exist, but have The house where Lord Lugard had his been completely covered by bush and weeds. office is nothing to behold, as its roof and Along the Consulate Road, which was then

By Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh

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known as the GRA, is the native authority building, where much of the administrative work was carried out. The buildings, which dotted the area, remain desolate till date; however, the council is using some as office building. There is also the UAC Boatyard, where goods shipped by the colonialists into the country were first lodged before being sold to the natives. This was located in Eket Local Council of the state. The present Ikot Abasi was created out of the former Opobo Province. The province, during the colonial era, oversaw activities covering places known today as Cross River, Ikot Abasi, Aba, Andoni, Ogoni, Opobo and so on.

Speaking with The Guardian, a councilor representing the area, Uyioata Abraham, said the Federal and state governments, and even private individuals have not done well to make the town a tourist haven for all. “Like the Amalgamation House, I give you about five years, if it is left like that, it will wear down, and our children and generations unborn might not have where they would come and say this is where Nigeria started,” he said. Historical sites in any country should be seen as important monuments for posterity, and therefore, need to be preserved, but this seems not to be the case in Nigeria, especially as it has to do with the most celebrated centenary celebration. If urgent steps are not taken, there will be nothing to reconnect the past with the future. There is need to preserve these structures for the younger generations so that they know how the country was run by the colonial masters. The Guardian gathered that Lugard started living in the area around 1912. He built a network of structures, which today are historical sites, to ease his stay and facilitate trading in the region. Other structures erected in the place include his living house, his administrative office, the native authority building and his kitchen, the Beach Garden, are all in sorry state. No wonder the Principle Information Officer of the council, Joseph Robert, told The Guardian, “my appeal to the Federal Government is to come and rescue the vestiges of history by way of developing them and ensuring that they are well maintained, so that we can continue to have that history for generation yet unborn.” According to Uyioata, “you can see the historical relics, when the colonialists came; it was with a lot of economic activities that is why you have the UAC, the Opobo Boatyard, John Muller, GBO and ATC and others”. These monuments, which tell very much in pictorial details, activities of the colonial administrators in the state, and in Nigeria, are gradually getting extinct and need to be preserved. As the country celebrates 100 years of amalgamation, the people of Ikot Abasi Council, represented by their councilor, are saying, “the federal and state government, private individuals even international organisations should come in and see how this place could be developed for posterity.”


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NIGERIA @ 100

Faces of Centenary Babatunde Jose

Centenary Honours

Prof. Akin Mabogunje

Innocent Chukwuma

Ben Enwonwu

Maitama Sule

Prof. JP Clark

Osita Osadebe

Fela Anikulapo-Kuti

Hubert Ogunde

Prof Kelsey Harrison

Odimegwu Ojukwu

MKO Abiola

Nwankwo Kanu

Mike Adenuga

Prof JFA Ajayi

Queen Elizabeth II

Justice Taslim Elias

Prof Chinua Achebe

Justice Adetokunbo Ademola

Prof Wole Soyinka

Richard Ihetu (Dick Tiger)

Dagogo Fubara

Lord Lugard

Flora Shaw Lugard

Amalgamation day in Lagos Kenneth Nnebue

Oludotun Jacob

Patience Ozokwor

Herbert Macaulay

Godwin Obasi

Prof Claude Ake

Prof Umaru Shehu

Prof Babatunde Fafunwa

Prof Kayode Osuntokun

Taiwo Akinkunmi

Nnamdi Azikiwe

Tafawa Balewa


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NIGERIA @ 100

Medalists Award recipients

Michael Okpala (Power Mike)

Pastor Enoch Adeboye

Justice Udo Udoma

Gani Fawehinmi

Obafemi Awolowo

Funmi Ransome Kuti

Chinyere Kalu

Adeola Odutola

Ahmadu Bello

Hajiya Gambo Sawaba

Oviemo Ovadje

Emeka Anyaoku

Jaja Wachukwu

Christopher Sapara Williams

Prof Grace Alele Williams

Prof Chike Obi

Pa Michael Imoudu

Rotimi Williams

Abubakar Iman

Chioma Ajunwa

Anthony Enahoro

Akintola Williams

Ibrahim Dasuki

Daniel Fagunwa

Joseph Tarka

Aguyi Ironsi

Shehu Shagari

Rilwan Lukman

Aminu Kano

Joseph Akinwale Wey

Alhassan Dantata

Shehu Yar’Adua

Margaret Ekpo

Prof Adeoye Lambo

Aliko Dangote

Abdulsalami Abubakar


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NIGERIA @ 100

Nigeria’s centenary celebration… integration Michael Omolewa, OON, is Emeritus Professor of the History of Education at the University of Ibadan. He is also Emeritus Professor of History at Babcock University in Nigeria; and Honorary Professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing, China. He is currently a member of the Council of the International African Institute, in the UK. He was formerly Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan, Chairman, Committee of Deans of Faculties of Education in Nigerian Universities, Deputy Chairperson, Governing Board of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Vancouver, Canada; Vice President, International Bureau of Education (IBE) Geneva; Vice-Chairman, International Literacy Institute, University of Pennsylvania, United States of America; and Member, Board of Foundation, International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), Geneva, Switzerland. He was Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Nigeria to UNESCO in Paris for a decade and the first West African to be elected President of the General Conference of UNESCO, and has been awarded the National Honour of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON). In this interview with KABIR ALABI GARBA, Omolewa situates the 1914 amalgamation of northern and southern protectorates in historical context with the declaration that “the country can’t afford to disintegrate after 100 years of existence as one indivisible entity.” Excerpts: OULD you like to recollect some of the landmark events that took place from 1900 to 1914 before the amalgamation occurred? Let me limit myself to only five major things that had to take place. First of all, there had to be an environment that was conducive to the British deciding to forge both the north and south together. First, there had to be pacification, which means that there would be no hostility or rejection to the enterprise, there would be no opposition that could overturn the attempt. Thus there had to be the appointment of a ‘no-nonsense’ military officer who would supervise the military’s presence and working out a speedy solution in identified troubled sites throughout the country. This was the background to the appointment of Frederick Lugard.  Tubman Goldie recruited him under clear terms of reference spelt out in the letter of July 2, 1894 addressed to Lugard, in which he was to be subordinate to the decisions of the Royal Niger Company. I think the best literature you can get on this is by Obaro Ikime, which he titled, The Fall of Nigeria. Colonel Lugard ensured that anytime there was restiveness in particular place, the army made sure they tackled the problem completely and decisively, and brought the situation ruthlessly under control. And, once a decision had been taken, no one, and this included the ordinary people as well as the rulers, Obas, Obis and Emirs, and the Sultan, could challenge it. It was going to be the Britannia ruled the waves. The second event that had to take place was the recall of Lugard from Hong Kong. He had resigned his position in Nigeria when he disagreed with the Colonial office and he was transferred to Hong Kong. Now that there was need to have someone who had a clear understanding of the country that would be able to move majestically and imperially without obstruction, one who fully understood the situation on the ground, it was to Lugard the British government turned to return to Nigeria to complete the work of administering as Lord Harcourt, the Secretary of State for the Colonies informed the House of Commons when presenting the report prepared by Lugard on the proposed amalgamation: “I have been able, greatly to the regret of Hong Kong, to induce him (Sir Frederick Lugard) to leave that post and to take up what will shortly become the governorship of the combined Nigeria. Northern Nigeria is in the truest sense the product of his foresight and genius.” Lugard possessed the qualification required: he was

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At that time, one particular attribute that I cherished was the desire of everyone to be one another’s keeper. There was passion for friendship and love, we did not mind where you came from, and there was no consideration for the State of origin or religion, the creed or the status of the parents or the “connections” arising from marriage or social ties. There was just a shared vision for greatness, hard work, industry and genuine commitment to whatever endeavour.

Omolewa

so knowledgeable, he spent quality time understanding the people and the system, he knew exactly what he wanted; after all, he had started, at his first outing in the country, the process of amalgamation of Nigeria. He had the support and collaboration of his brilliant wife and former girlfriend, Flora Shaw, whom he had married in 1902. When he was requested to return to Nigeria, he gave the condition that he did not want a situation that would make him resign again in Nigeria, and that he wanted to be given free hand to do what he wanted to do to amalgamate the north and the south. The assurance was given to him that he could go ahead and so he came with great confidence that he would be backed by government back home, and that whatever he did, would be acceptable to them. The couple worked for the King and country of Britain tirelessly and both watched the country amalgamated on January 1, 1914. The third event needed was the availability of local staff to support the work of the senior colonial officials. The educated elite were produced in the schools and colleges, and fests Ogunlade, Adewumi Fajana and other social historians have written the brilliant accounts of how institutions such as the CMS Grammar School, the Grammar Schools in Abeokuta, Ijebu Ode, Ibadan, King’s College and the Government Colleges turned out the graduates employed by the system The fourth event had to be the public demonstration of the support given to Lugard by Lord Harcourt, who was then the Colonial Secretary (after which Port Harcourt was named) and the British Government. To this end, a telegram was dispatched to Lugard, on December 30, 1913, the eve of the amalgamation by His Majesty, King George of the United Kingdom, in which Lugard was formally addressed as the Governor General of Nigeria, and in which the King wrote: “On the occasion of the formal amalgamation of the two Nigerias, I wish you to convey to the emirs, chiefs, and the inhabitants of the new Protectorate and the Colony my best wishes for their future happiness. Pray assure them of the great interest I take in all that concerns their welfare and express my earnest hope that great prosperity may be in store for them”. Harcourt also sent a congratulatory message to Lugard affirming his confidence in what had been achieved: “I offer you my congratulations on the completion of your arduous task of uniting Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria in a common form of government...” The last event that had to take place was the assurance by Lugard that amalgamation was in the best interest of Nigeria. To this end, Lugard informed the Secretary of State for the Colonies: “I have caused your message conveying your hope that amalgamation of Nigeria will be for the well-being of all classes and the development of its resources to be promulgated throughout Nigeria”. Most Nigerians were not sure of what the future would hold especially as most of the steps taken for the amalgamation were taken in secret with the minimum involvement and contribution of Nigerians. In the spirit of the centenary celebration, would you kindly share your experience growing up in Nigeria, what are those values that define your personality that are missing presently in the society? I think I was lucky while growing up because I went to some of the best educational institutions such as the Ibadan Grammar School in Ibadan, Ekiti Parapo College, Ido-Ekiti and Christ’s School in Ado-Ekiti; and I came to the University of Ibadan, the first university in Nigeria. At that time, one particular attribute that I cherished was the desire of everyone to be one another’s keeper. There was passion for friendship and love, we did not mind where you came from, and there was no consideration for the State of origin or religion, the creed or the status of the parents or the “connections” arising from marriage or social ties. There was just a shared vision for greatness, for hard work, industry and genuine commitment to whatever endeavour. I remember that if you scored very high marks in the school, say that you had distinction; people appreciated and admired you instead of stabbing you at the back, conspiring against you or just damaging you in secret using their network of powerful friends and collaborators. And then, in every institution that I went, the whole country was represented, and so, I grew up as a relaxed, happy and contented individual, proud of my country rejoicing in the quality of diversity that made up Nigeria. There was no situation where your region, ethnic background deter-

mined what you got. There was no backyard for entry to positions. All that mattered then was the quality of your input, and your contribution.  If you did very well, you got a scholarship:  I had a scholarship to enter the university; after the first year, I had ‘the university scholarship’, and at the postgraduate level, having won the Departmental prize and the Sir James Robertson Prize of the Faculty of Arts, I remained a University Scholar, a prestigious title at the time which also geared me on to desire the pursuit of excellence. Another thing, which I profoundly appreciated at that time was the diversity of the nationalities in our university: we had students from almost every part of the world; we had Asians, Europeans, and Americans, then it was a question of rubbing shoulders with the world community. At the time there was an exchange programme that took people to other parts of the world even while you were still a student. For instance, in my second year in the University of Ibadan, I was sent to the University of London as an exchange student and some others came from the University of London as exchange student to the University of Ibadan. While in London, we listened to lectures of very distinguished academics and that gave me confidence; I had funds to travel, I attended conferences, seminars and workshops. I began to appreciate the immense value in the diversity, the richness of people, and the multiplicity of languages and cultures, which may have helped me when I later began to work in positions that required an understanding and appreciation of diversity. As a great historian and someone who has followed the political terrain in Nigeria, what are your hopes and fears in the next 100 years? I think that Nigeria is like a marriage in progress – there was the amalgamation that brought the bride and the bridegroom, the North and the South together constituting the family called Nigeria. Lord Harcourt had added during the amalgamation of Nigeria that memorable declaration: “We have released Northern Nigeria from the strings of the Treasury. The promising and well-conducted youth is now on an allowance of his own and is about to effect an alliance with a southern lady of means. I have issued the special licence and Lugard will perform the ceremony. May the Union be fruitful and the couple constant.” There has to be a continued nursing of that marriage, there has to be a healthy relationship built on trust, confidence and shared vision. For as long as the marriage is contained, organised and coordinated in such a way that all the parties have confidence in one another, and display commitment of wanting the marriage to succeed, then Nigeria will grow from strength to strength, this means that the leaders have to show by example that this is what they believe in. In whatever they do, they have to be transparent because people are following them, also the followers have to be open and rely on their advice while supplying positive criticism; helping with suggestions for programmes and activities and selling the nation inside and outside just to ensure that this project called Nigeria succeeds and I see Nigeria in the next 100 years being successful. The advantage we have is that this is a praying country, a lot of prayers have been said, though it’s been said that prayer without action is useless, I believe that alone can even motivate people for action because there is no limit to the power of prayers. In your own view, what have been the gains and pains of 1914 amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates? The major gain is that we do not have any frontiers within this huge country and so if you are moving from one state to the other, there is a free flow of traffic, ideas, people and industry which is very good because once you have a frontier, there is demarcation and limitation but Nigeria doesn’t have. It makes us like the United States of America, large and vast, moving from the east, west, north and south freely. The second is the capacity to have this large population with the diversity of language, culture and ideas so that the country is so rich in human and cultural resources and that wealth will not have been possible if there had, been no amalgamation. The third is during the race to Lekki and all the effort that led to amalgamation, the French were expelled and were not allowed to occupy all those parts they had their eyes on. Also, the Cameroon border, we had access to all of that without the Germans occupying it. Another benefit is that the people could speak one


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NIGERIA @ 100

ever, disintegration never

language, so instead of having an assembly where they could not mutually understand one another, the English language became a tool of communication. Some people have called it colonial domination, experts have said that English is not a foreign Language but a second Language, in other words, the language has been domesticated as part of the Nigerian Language, we even have pidgin Language which emanated from English that is why you have radio stations offering programmes in Pidgin, a lot of songs have been written in Pidgin, and so there is a lot of wealth emanating from the amalgamation. What are the challenges? They are how to continue to keep all this together, where there are no frontiers you want to make sure there is security everywhere and be free to move around the country without fear because of your spiritual, social and economic lining, that there is equitable distribution of resources, there is confidence building, joy in cohabiting and I believe that our school system can once more do this type of thing; they can strengthen the NYSC system to make it more integrated and to encourage young people at that to begin to love Nigeria, and schools have to be more mixed so that you don’t have just a part of the country recruited in one school, we should have institutions that are open so that the same experience I had while growing up will be attainable in this dispensation. Nigerian politicians are said to be historically naïve; they don’t learn from history, don’t you think that the actions and reactions in the political terrain can degenerate to what happened in 1965/66? Wise people could have learnt lessons from the intolerance, manipulation, wickedness, arrogance and deceit of the past, especially during the First Republic. You will recall the shadow boxing, the arrogance and the absence of fairness and justice at the time. The lessons that have not been learnt from the First Republic include the absence of treating the opposition with respect and dignity. In the First Republic, the Opposition Leader who had been part of the struggle for the attainment of Independence, who had published a book on the Path to Nigerian Freedom, established the Nigerian Tribune and founded a political party, was marginalised, alienated and haunted, thus adding to the instability which was emerging at the dawn of Independence. There was general lack of tolerance, respect, sensitivity and fairness in transacting the business of politics. But we must appreciate the politicians of the First Republic who were not wasteful in offering their services. For example, politics and law-making was not a full time business at the time. Professionals combined the art of law making to their initial specialisations as teachers, lawyers and business people. It was therefore not too expensive to run the Parliament. That had saved the country from spending more on the people than providing services in health, education, transportation, communication and the defence of the country. It is refreshing that the people will soon assemble at a conference to chart a new course of interrelationships and governance of the country to the benefit of the future generation. As lessons to be learnt from the first coup of 1965, I think we should try to encourage all the members of our National Assembly and Houses of Assembly, and all our political leaders to go through a course in History to be able to understand the sequence in history and the consequences of their actions. They should also be encouraged to see religion as a process in which good acts are rewarded and bad acts are punished unless there is repentance. And if they have a knowledge of History and they are all influenced by religion, they will discover that whatever they are doing will only be for a short time, that there will be an expiry date to all situations, postings and positions; once they see that everything is transient, it is for us to do our own best within the short time that we are given the opportunity to do so, knowing also that at the end of the whole episode, we are not taking anything with us; we came into this world naked, we will go out of this world naked; and  all our certificates, recognitions, businesses, and  awards will die too and sooner or later l we have to face the day of judgment. There is this belief that people name things in order to own them perpetually, can we say that Nigeria is suffering from that belief system considering the fact that 53 years after independence, the country is still toddling and dependent on the west for direction. Well, I am not too sure about that because Nigeria has outlived dependence solely on the West. You remember that during the communist period, we had very strong communist presence in the country, Nigeria had at different times fought against the policy objectives of the west; Nigeria was in anti-apartheid struggle and while the west was insisting, Nigeria said no and that gave the type of freedom that Nigeria has. We also know that in the past, the Nigerian press was not free and critical, but they have gone beyond the expectation of anybody and now the Nigerian journalist can now teach the rest of the world, how to act, write, be investigative, independent and balanced and professional, so the west is not leading in that area. We also know that even the west now respects Nigeria and invite a person to come play some role at some stages knowing that there can be nobody that

has a monopoly of knowledge, and so the west is wise to quick obey that rule that there is quality in diversity, we should commend the west for doing that. Of course, they invest so much in research, pragmatism, and peaceful demonstration and because they are a democratic community who respect and trust one another, there are always in a lot of leadership position, we should not grudge them but partner with them we can benefit from the things that their stability has brought. The centenary has attracted a lot of divergent views. There is this argument that Nigeria should change her name to reflect the local dynamism, do you believe in that? What I think that Nigeria should be doing for this centenary is to try and strengthen all the institutions in the country, which include the universities, press, economy, political system, the military, police, the generality of people as a gain of the centenary. I would want some specific studies carried out about the past. Let the centenary produce some specialist studies based on research, for instance, they can find out what the contribution of the press has been to the development of the nation and then you discover how the Press was very critical of colonial system, as demonstrated by the founding of the Western African Pilot, the Nigerian Tribune, The Lagos Weekly Record, the Daily Express, Daily Times, the Nigerian Chronicle and others, those that really fought on principle and good conscience against those things which they considered unacceptable to Nigeria. For example, The Nigerian Chronicle, in offering a courteous welcome to Lugard on his return to Nigeria in October 1913, “expressed its regret that nobody had yet been allowed to know what was in store for the country”. The paper also proceeded to complain that because the plans were still hidden away in the confidential files of the Colonial Office, it was difficult “to reassure thinking Nigerians who had been alarmed by the two damaging articles in the German and British press”. Let there be that kind of celebration of the role of the press, concrete studies, not propaganda but reliable and verifiable documentation of the role of the press. Then you look at the role of the students union; the very noble roles they played at different stages of their career, look at the role of the judiciary, the military the police, the role of businesses and individuals so that it becomes a multi-dimensional celebration. Then the States would be encouraged to celebrate their cultures and languages: we look, for instance, at what the languages were in 1914, what Yoruba language was in 1914 and how it has triumphed over the years, and we look at the best Yoruba novelists, Fagunwa and Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo runmole, that was classic, then. We would then come to the time of Josiah Soyemi Ogunlesi, the first History graduate and first graduate Editor of the Daily Times of Nigeria and how he was in charge of mass education and how he encouraged the publication of Aworerin; and how Yoruba as a language has triumphed all the way from Edinburgh with Professor Ayo Bamgbose who studied Yoruba at the PhD level and how Yoruba has become a language studied at all levels of the educational system, and theses are being written in Yoruba. That is what the centenary should be doing, celebrating individuals, efforts and not just rejoicing over things that should be making us crying. For me, the name change should by no means be a priority. Look at a country like South Africa which has retained its name after independence, in spite of the fact that many people believe that the name should change because having South Africa gives the impression that there should only be four countries in Africa – South Africa, East Africa, West Africa and North Africa. Instead of wasting our own time changing our name, we should change our attitude values, perception, orientation, dreams, and visions as a people; we should change whatever is not healthy to the political, social and economic development of our country. Not the name of the country, but ourselves. In the build-up to the centenary celebration, your name came up as a great historian and Nigerian to anchor certain aspect of the activities, but suddenly we didn’t hear anything about that again, what really happened? I was invited by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation after the approval by the President of the country to serve on the committee to plan the celebration. We made proposals for the writing of a book to mark the celebration.  I am still a member of that committee and I have not received any communication informing me that I am no longer a member of the larger Committee. At any time I am invited to the meeting of the Committee, I will ask the Lord for the grace to honour the invitation. We must also remember that the celebration is not limited to 2014:  it will continue beyond that date. So let us continue to pray for good health, joy and peace of mind:  it is a continuing process. I am still committed to the work of the great planning committee that the President kindly set up and I must congratulate the presidency for that thoughtfulness of bringing that committee together and making me one of the membership. In the meantime, I am enthusiastically working with Kogi State which is playing a leading and creative role in the celebration of the amalgamation of Nigeria and which is thanking God for the gift of the Niger and Benue and the position as Confluence State from where the first

Omolewa flag of British rule was hoisted on January 1, 1900. In your view, what are the prospects of Nigeria remaining indivisible entity in the next 100 years? It is too late in the day to break up the country on whose unity there has been the shedding of blood, sacrifice has been made and everyone is aware of the advantages of large population such as what has made countries like the United States, Brazil, India and China important and powerful countries. But again please let me limit myself to just five issues! First, Nigeria is so mixed now that it is not possible to have a peaceful separation, it’s not possible, and so many people in my own state for instance, a large portion of the land is owned by non-indigenes of my state, so how do you separate this. What of marriage, there is so much inter-marriage that has made us one? Then there is so much interaction among people, market women, businesses, students; Nigeria is a creation of the divine God himself. Look at the resources, they complement one another, the fish in one part compliments the yam in another part and the oil and the cotton, rubber in another part and that is the greatness in diversity. Nigeria is a Godgiven project even though there is so much fear of break up, I think from the studies we have, five historians, including Prof. Tekena Tamuno have studied the separatist movement from the east, north, west and south at different times and we have remained as one country. Eminent Emeritus Professor Prof. J. F Ade Ajayi has made it clear that Nigeria is not just the creation of the British, but has been welded together in customs, tradition, attitudes, histories, development that while they were building the Caliphate in the north, the Oyo Empire was building its own empire and everything came together. Anger, jealousy are part of the process to a healthy relationship and we should thank God we are experiencing that, as my mother said if you are just going through a straight line and you don’t have bumps, you are likely to have an accident but when you have a bump, you wait, you divert, think and reflect and it keeps you conscious of where you are going and it makes for safe ride and security.  What is your final word on centenary? When Canada was celebrating 100 years of its establishment, all the children born during that year were given scholarship and given the special status as centenary children. The country also went ahead to provide some visible signs of the celebration, and did more of heritage repairs, identifying more of heritage sites for Canada to celebrate their own history. I believe that what Canadians did can also be done for Nigeria: we can identify some cities such as Lokoja, Calabar, Zungeru and Lagos and invest in structures and heritage sites identified in those places, we can revisit institutions such as the earliest secondary schools including the CMS Grammar School, King’s College, Government Colleges and the pioneer Grammar schools and Colleges for renewal projects, we can celebrate the children that are born in 2014, celebrate individuals, institutions, economy and politics, celebrate the heritage. It should be a year of reflection, meditation, hope, courage, commitment, renewal, transformation and on-going increase and growth. For me, I hope I will be able to write more articles, more books, do more research, teach more students to write and explore the Nigeria project, challenges, failures, and hopes, and pray more fervently for Divine favour and fresh anointing.

When Canada was celebrating 100 years of its establishment, all the children born during that year were given scholarship and given the special status as centenary children. The country also went ahead to provide some visible signs of the celebration, and did more of heritage repairs, identifying more of heritage sites for Canada to celebrate their own history. I believe that what Canadians did can also be done for Nigeria: we can identify some cities such as Lokoja, Calabar, Zungeru and Lagos and invest in structures and heritage sites identified in those places, we can revisit institutions such as the earliest secondary schools including the CMS Grammar School, King’s College, Government Colleges and the pioneer Grammar schools and Colleges for renewal projects, we can celebrate the children that are born in 2014, celebrate individuals, institutions, economy and politics, celebrate the heritage.


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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NIGERIA @ 100

Calabar… Turning to the past

Old Residency, now National Museum , Calabar

By Anietie Akpan ALABAR, my Calabar, is history personified. As the country celebrates 100 years of amalgamation, trappings and relics of that era dot everywhere. There are Eyo Honesty House in Creek Town (Eyo Honesty was the king of the Efiks then); the Egbo Egbo Bassey House 1886 (where the first Catholic mass was held in Calabar); the Old Residency, which was the colonial government house now housing the National Museum; the present Governor’s residence; the St Margaret Hospital (the first General Hospital in Southern Nigeria established in 1897, which incidentally, is former temporary site of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital); the first General Post Office in Nigeria; Hope Waddell Institute where the great Zik of Africa and many others attended; the first Military Barracks in Nigeria built in 1903 now housing the 13 Amphibious Brigade and the first Supreme Court in the protectorate, which was later gutted by fire in December 2012 in a suspicious manner while handling election cases as an Appeal Court. Others are the first Maximum Prison (Brickfield Prison) that was built in 1890, which then Oba of Benin, Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi, was imprisoned in Calabar, where he eventually died in 1914; the 1960 Independence stone at Marina; the European Cemetery at Duke Town; Mary Slessor House in Okoyong; the Slave market in Esuk Mab otherwise known as the ‘Point of no Return’ in the days of slavery in Akpabuyo Local Council near Calabar (it was so called because no slave ever got there and came back) and few others are all signs and symbols of the early contact Calabar had with the colonial masters. Unfortunately, some of these structures have been pulled down or upgraded for private residents of some former top government officials in the regime of Donald Duke while few others had to give way for the current Governor’s official residence and the Presidential lodge. In fact, Rev. James Luke, who introduced it, first played the game of football in Calabar at the Hope Waddell Institute in 1902, and in 1903, a Jamaican teacher and headmaster of the school, F. A. Foster, introduced the game of cricket. It is a common thing to see streets of Calabar go by the name Foster, Goldie, Anderson, Fosbry (now Nelson Mandela), Webber, Gibson, Duncan, Hewett, Myne Avenue and many others. The streets are named after the colonial masters. Today, the Old Calabar still remain rusty and undeveloped with many dilapidated structures and rusty brown rooftops doting the colonial environment. Many mud houses and raffia roofs are still there. It lies on the hill facing the 97-kilometre Calabar Port shallow channel that yawns for major and maintenance dredging, which successive administrations at Federal level have toyed with. First contact to Calabar by sea from Europe, America and other parts of the world is the Old Calabar comprising Duke Town, Cobham Town, Henshaw Town and Obutong otherwise known as Old Town. This has been a major hindrance to the rapid development of the business enclave of Calabar, and its environ, as heavy ocean liners can’t navigate the shallow channel else the vessels get

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stocked. All vessels to Calabar must navigate through this channel to Calabar Port. Lying adjacent or parallel to the Calabar River channel is the long stretch 5-kilometre marina road, which used to be the hustle and bustle of Nigeria for commerce in the colonial era. Today, it’s a shadow of itself. What is left are ramshackle structures and abandoned colonial business premises with inscriptions such as Elias J. Solomon & Sons (Mount Libanon Merchants), Lever Brothers, John Holt, CFAO, abandoned vessels and many others to tell the story of the first capital of the Southern Protectorate after 100 years. The ever-bustling marina with investors from Europe is gone. Local fishermen, traders, boat operators, the indigenes, Ekpe shrines, Afe Asabo (where the Obong of Calabar is crowned traditionally) and few others are common images and features at the marina popularly known as bayside. It is a safe heaven for criminals, undesirable elements and all sorts of characters making life difficult for the residents of Old Calabar. But thanks to the government of Senator Liyel Imoke, most of the well laid out narrow streets with small drainages fashioned after the style of then British style road construction, have been tarred while work is ongoing in others. The administration of Duke added so much to a part of the Marina by creating the famous Slave Museum (Fort Matilda), a sea side hotel, Recreation centres and the open theatre, which Imoke upgraded to a Cinema hall for movies and shows. Part of the Marina, which leads to Essien Town, has been blocked and taken over by the Nigerian Navy and now designated as security zone. That axis of the road is only opened at festive periods such as the Christmas Carnival for traffic flow. Directly opposite the Old Calabar, across the Calabar River, is the sleepy swampy forest that could be harnessed into a tourism heaven creating beautiful beaches and hotels for tourism. This is the site for the much talked about Energy City that has remained on the drawing board since the days of Duke. “Old Calabar is an abandoned area,” declared Orok Eyo Effiong of 17 Boco Street, an indigene of the area and grandson of Egbo Egbo Bassey. According to him, “Egbo Egbo Bassey House was built in 1886 by our grandfather on 19 Boco Street, Old Calabar, but willed to the National Museum when he died. Now this place is deteriorating and the building may collapse because there is no maintenance. You can see the staircase; I just managed to hold them together. Everything is giving way. My problem is that they have neglected this place and the entire old Calabar. The boys’ quarters are gone with the winds. Last time, strong wind came with thunder and threw off one of the lightening protectors that almost killed my child. The pieces are there even with the sea house. In this Old Calabar so many people do not have toilets. They just defecate in the river or anywhere they like. We need the government to do something. At least, we are happy for the roads, much more should be done.” From public opinion, the government of the state and Nigeria should declare the whole of Old Calabar historical

site. They argue that most of the contacts with the Europeans first started here: the old structures, all speak for themselves. “We know there are so many ancestral graves and Ekpe shrines, but we know there is a way the government can discuss with the people and change the face of Old Calabar, which is the first point of contact with the outside world by sea without destroying completely the relics,” said Effiong. Commenting on relics and landmarks that are left after 100 years of amalgamation, the granddaughter of late Chief Egbo Egbo Bassey, Mrs. Ukpoho Edet Nsa of 12 Mesembe Avenue, Calabar South, said, “my father died and donated the house to the museum, but unfortunately, they are not making good use of it. The house has so much deteriorated and it is an eye sore. I intend to write to them. I’m even tempted to invite the Catholic Church to come and take over the building because that was where the Church had its first mass in the shores of Calabar. My father did not know that National Museum would not take care of the place else he would have given the building to the Catholic Church. But he gave it to people that do not know the value. National Museum has not done anything to improve or maintain the building except taking people to go and see it.” Nsa, who is the Pastor of Land of Deliverance Church in Calabar, declared her intention to sue the National Museum for neglecting the property, saying, “I will sue them and claim damages. I visited the then curator, who promised that something would be done about it, but up till now, nothing has been done. I’m going to sue museum and get the documents back and claim damages,” she said, adding, “my father donated the building as a free will donation so many years ago. However, they promised to assist members of the family in terms of employment, but up till now nothing has been done. National Museum should fix the building and restore it as a historical artifact and stop playing pranks. She continued, “I have fixed new roof in some areas to avoid its total collapse because the entire structure is wood work. I want the Federal Government to step in and fix the house, or else they should hands off the building so that I can hand it over to the Catholic Church because they will take care of it knowing fully well that the first Catholic mass held there. Even when the Catholic Church celebrated their 100 years, they went there. Yet, the government has said it is tourism site, but there is nothing to show for this. If they are serious, they should step in before the building collapses.” Talking about development of Old Calabar and the impact of the 100 years on the people, she said, “government has been planning an industrial area in the old Calabar, but nothing is on ground to show for it. Most of the houses here are aged and taken over by giant rats. Government should come and demolish them and make old Calabar fine, if they are serious, not minding the usual resistances by the locals who will claim their ancestral graves are there. The government is not serious. My father and grandfather’s grave are there and it is expected that if the building is maintained, the graves will be maintained. If you see colonial houses in Badagry they are well maintained, but here in old Calabar there is nothing.” Comparing historical artifacts in Nigeria and Israel vis-à-vis the neglect of tourism potentials in Calabar, a historian and an indigene of the area, Andy Andinam JP, said, “in the course of my pil-

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NIGERIA @ 100

Before Nigeria, there was Badagry Recently, a partnership Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has selected Badagry as one of the coastal cities for development. Among the nine tourist towns in Africa, it is the only town selected from Nigeria. Other countries are Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Seychelles, and Tanzania. “This should have alerted a serious government to take the development of this town seriously and invest in its tourism potentials. But what you see is cheap politics at the expense of development,” said Olaide-Mesewaku. If only they know Badagry more, perhaps they would find reason to develop this town, he said. In a document presented at a conference by the Royal Council of King of Akran of Badagry in 1994, the Council stated: “The real Town in South Africa and Abu Dhabi in UAE. “Badagry is the true history of today’s Federal Republic of Nigeria will not be comgateway to Nigeria, and the amount of made by Nigeria govern- plete until the history of Badagry has been correctly assembled to identify the ancient city as the cradle of civilisation in Nigeria, ment through this town is far bigger than what they made in the Canterbury of Nigeria, the first town to be urbanized in some other parts of the country.” President of Badagry Tourism Club, Mr. Peter Olaide-Mesewaku Nigeria and of course, the most natural and modern tourism said the town has always been referred to as “Pillar of Tourism in spot of the nation.” Twenty years after, the town is still yearning for attention of Nigeria.” Badagry festival, he said, exemplifies the creative government. Now, the natives want government to invest in the power of history, reconstructing the tragic contextual features town that brought Western civilisation to Nigeria, the town of the past history of a people for celebration of freedom and that accounts for the sizable yearly income generated by the emancipation. He said the beauty that set the place apart from country.  Would their appeal get the attention of those who alloother towns in Nigeria is still there. The Badagry beaches are cate resources? Time will tell. among the few clean beaches in Africa.

Badagry. District Officers’ office and Residence were built in Badagry, a fishing and agricultural community is one of Badagry in 1863 and 1870 respectively. Badagry was then used not only for the transportation of the old towns through which slave traders, colonialists slaves but also for missionaries’ journeys to and from African th and missionaries entered into Nigeria in the 17 century. towns in 18th and 19th centuries. Traders, explorers and missionThe coastal town was a key port in the export of slaves to ary used the creek to get to the different part of Nigeria. It was of the Nigerian earliest gateways to international trade. the Americas, and also served as one of the administrative one Ajose said, “Till date the Federal Government generate large headquarters of the Southern protectorate before the income from import duties through this town.” amalgamation of 1914. AJIBOLA AMZAT visited Badagry A Forgotten Town recently to explore the rich history of the town and found N spite of the significance of Badagry to Nigeria, the natives believe that it is a neglected place. They believe the governrelics of slave trading and Christian evangelism that ment of Nigeria spares little thought for the border town. authenticate the significance of Badagry, a town the In their views, Badagry should have been developed into a natives said has been neglected in the history of Nigeria. tourist town like Florida or Miami cities in United States, Cape

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Memories of Badagry

T the roundabout leading to Badagry town, a statute of the Sato drummer stood tall. The half-naked man stood frozen behind a giant drum, unmindful of the hustle and bustle around him. It was 9am, and commercial activities were already in full throttle. Sedentary hawkers were everywhere, selling food, drinks, and sundries; taxi drivers were calling out to Semebound passengers, and motorcycle taxis, aka Okada, were as usual at breakneck speed, whirring their way into the heart of the Badagry town. Centuries ago, Badagry was a market town where slave traders haggled about prices of slaves. The town served as major port for the Atlantic slave trade in the 17th century, which was stimulated by the need for labour in the mines and plantations of the New World. Through this town, hundreds of black Africans were shipped to Bahia in Brazil, Cuba, Salvador, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago and the United States of America. It was no surprise that occupation of Badagry by the British led to the discovery of Lagos harbor and the consequent annexation of the city of Lagos. Today, vestiges of slave trade are still visible at different places in Badagry. The Vlekte slave market where the buying and selling of slaves took place still exists, though the marketplace is under re-construction at present. The market was first opened in 1502, the town record says. There is also a one-room museum in the palace of Chief Sunbu Mobee located on Marina road, Boekoh Quarters where shackles, chains, padlocks, branding knifes and other paraphernalia used by slave traders were on display. Images of slaves featured prominently on the wall of the museum, each telling stories of suffering and deprivation to which slaves – women, men and children – were subjected. Few meters further is the Baracoon (a Portuguese word for jail) built by the Brazilian slave merchants in 1840 and handed over to a local slave trader, Chief Seriki Williams Abass. Each cell room, windowless, held 40 slaves at a time, says a tour official of the museum, Stephen Olaniyan.   

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Town with a record of firsts

N spite of the tragedy inflicted on Badagry, and the burden of Iremembered history borne by its people, the natives prefer Badagry to be not merely as a slave port, but as an important part of the Nigerian history. As Nigeria celebrates centenary anniversary, Badagrians want their town to be remembered as the place where the seed of the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates resulting into what is today known as Nigeria was planted. In an interview with Akran of Badagry Kingdom, De Wheno Aholu Menu-Toyi I, he said the chain of events that took place in Badagry prepared way for the existence of Nigeria as a unified political entity, and therefore, the history of Nigeria cannot be understood in its full context outside the history of Badagry. The King listed a catalogue of first achievements in Nigeria, which was recorded in Badagry such as the construction of the first church building (1842), the first primary school building (1843), and the first storey building (1845). “Remember also that the first Christmas Service in Nigeria also took place in Nigeria under Agia tree in 1842 and that Bishop Ajayi Crowther translated the local bible used in many Nigerian homes today in Badagry,” the king said, authoritatively. The people of Abeokuta, another town where Bishop Crowther sojourned, have, however, contested this claim several times in the past. At political level, the fate of Nigeria has also been tied to that of Badagry.  Babatunde Ajose, a Badagry prince, who reinforced the statement of Akran of Badagry, said the history of Nigeria is incomplete without the history of Badagry. He said to understand the complexity of Nigerian history within the context of the amalgamation policy of Sir Lord Lugard, there is a need to first understand the history of Badagry. In his book, Welcome to Badagry: The Haven of Tourism, he wrote that the Union Jack flag was first hoisted in Nigeria at Ahovkoh Quarters, Badagry, which heralded the beginning of British administration in the country. The British with whom the eight chiefs of Badagry signed the abolition treaties in 1852, presented them canon guns to fight the slave traders and to further check other European especially the Spanish and Portuguese. “You can say that Badagry is the Nigerian first naval base,” he noted. As the major slave port within the region, Badagry began to decline in importance following the abolition of slave trade and discovery of Lagos harbor. The Queen of England signed the treaty of cession with Badagry on July 7, 1863 giving birth to Badagry District, which extended up to Ilaro in the present day, Ogun state. District officers were posted from England to Badagry because the town was directly under the supervision of Her Majesty the queen so as to discourage other European nations who were interested in taking over the economy of

Calabar and the story of amalgamation CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12 grimage to Israel, my findings and understanding is that the economy of Israel relies mostly on tourism if you consider the number of tourists that flock into the city all year round, you can actually come to the conclusion that yes there is tourism actually in practice. One fascinating aspect is that the relics are constantly being retouched, rehabilitated and renovated all year round. If you look at them, consciously, though some of them are old, they still have a pinch of modernity due to proper maintenance. If tourism is to be boosted in Nigeria, I think it is high time government stopped sponsoring pilgrims to holy land purely for prayers, but equally to tap from what such places — Israel and Saudi Arabia— have to offer, especially in the area of tourism and agriculture because if you look at Israel as a country, they nearly do not import anything about food item. “Everything is grown there in the desert and how this is done becomes a wonder. You find out that though water is scarce in the desert, they have a way of converting every amount of water at their disposal to the advantage of agriculture. Sewage, disposal and all sorts of water are recycled and channeled into feeding the soil for the benefit of the people.” He said, “if you look at Calabar and the history of amalgamation since 1914 by Sir Lord Lugard, which the country is celebrating 100 years of its existence, Calabar is fast depreciating, though there is an element of modernity that appear to have swallowed the ancient days. But in a bid to boost tourism, which interestingly, government has keyed in, because it has comparative advantage, however, the level at which the artifacts are maintained and rehabilitated are very poor. “Most of the artifacts are fast depreciating and fast dis appearing from the surface of the earth, and you will find out that by the time the next generation comes in, you will find it difficult to tell them that indeed Calabar was the first capital of the Southern Protectorate prior to the amalgamation of 1914. “So, it is now very inevitable for the state government to find a way of converting the tourism department of the bureau into a

full fledge ministry that will have a budgetary allocation on yearly basis. Equally, knowledge and experiences of experts in tourism are tapped to the fullest, and more importantly, that the tourism thing should not only be tied to the Calabar Festival to showcase the heritage value of the state. After all, the carnival itself attracts people to the museum and few historical artifacts that are maintained. “The development of the slave museum by the state government is a magnificent step towards such tourism we are talking about. The major slave market, which trade by barter, still thrives till today in Esuk Mba, Akpabuyo Council and few other places, should be maintained and developed. By so doing, that aspect of development will receive a further boost.” Besides the slave musuem, the Mary Slessor residence and a few others, the Cross River State government said it’s doing much to protect its historical sites. Only recently, the state began move to make the first General Hospital in Nigeria, that is, the former University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) after the colonial era, is to become a historical heritage. The state’s Deputy Governor, Efiok Cohbam, who gave the hint while declaring open the 45th yearly General Conference of Paediatrics Association of Nigeria (PAN) in Calabar, said the state would do the best it can to maintain and develop its numerous artifacts. Cohbam, speaking on the backdrop of the final relocation of UCTH to its permanent site, said the state wants to preserve the first general hospital in Nigeria for future generations. His words: “It is the oldest hospital in the country, and actually, we want to use it for a heritage site. There is so much history about that property.” He said that the state was not going to add anything to the structure that had existed since the colonial days but would only beautify the structures to restore their natural settings.


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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NIGERIA @ 100

By Tope Templer Olaiya HIS fact is indisputable in pre-amalgamation, pre-independence and post-independence era, that whenever Lagos sneezes, Nigeria catches cold. Even after Lagos was ceded to the British in 1860 and declared a Crown Colony the following year, the system of governance along the West African coast was miles ahead of other colonies and protectorates. Lagos had its own governor, legislative and executive councils. Attempts by Frederick Lugard to reduce the powers of the colony in 1906 by submerging Lagos into the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, while operating from Calabar, did little to diminish the status of Lagos. Furthermore, what it lacked in quantity (size and landmass), it made up for in quality (enterprise of the mixed bag of population). During the 1850s, there was a large influx into Lagos of educated Africans, who had earlier been sold as slaves, from Sierra Leone, Brazil and Cuba. Their return profoundly affected the history of Lagos. The Sierra Leoneans were known as Akus or Saros, the Brazilians and Cubans as Agudas. The Agudas were mainly Catholics, skilled artisans and craftsmen, who had purchased their freedom and returned home to their “country” of origin. The Akus or Saros were slaves (or descendants of slaves) rescued by the British naval squadron that patrolled the high seas. In the 1880s, there were four distinct groups in Lagos – the Europeans, the educated Africans (Saros), the Brazilians and the indigenes. The town was physically divided into four quarters corresponding to these groups. The Europeans lived on the Marina, the Saros mainly west of the Europeans in an area called Olowogbowo, the Brazilians behind the Europeans – their quarter was known as Portuguese Town or Popo Aguda – and the indigenes on the rest of the island – behind all three. The composition of populations in Lagos in the 1880s was: Brazilians 3,220; Sierra Leoneans, 1,533; and Europeans 111, out of a population of 37,458. Of these, about 30 percent (11,049) were engaged in commerce as merchants, traders, agents, and clerks; 5,173 were tradesmen, mechanics, manufacturers and artisans; 1,414 were farmers and agricultural labourers. The top social class of Lagos of the 1880s was dominated by the Carter Bridge was completed in 1901 and rebuilt in the 1970s. The Lagos Steam Tramway ran on the bridge. It is named after Sir Gilbert Thomas Carter, who was Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Colony of Lagos from 1891–1897. Europeans – merchants, missionaries, and civil servants. The Saros tried to gain admission into this class. The criteria for secretariat, Cathedral Church of Christ, State House Marina, and I have heard he kept a most luxurious table.” membership were education and wealth. In this sense, the eduLagos House Marina, among others. The governors themselves testified to the high level of civilised cated elite, both black and white, could be considered as memOf these historic edifices, the Cathedral Church of Christ, society in Lagos. Governor Young in 1885 said Lagos was his first bers of the same social group. which is the oldest Anglican Cathedral in the Church of contact with civilisation since he left England. The administraThey lived like Victorian gentlemen. Christmas was a season of Nigeria Anglican Communion and also one of the finest of Victorian festivities. As one newspaper editor enthused: “Balls are tors of Lagos found it impossible to keep up the high level of cathedrals in Africa, towers above the rest in the preservation social entertainment Lagos demanded. And requests for announced and concerts and athletic sports, dinners, with the of the pre-amalgamation legacy. The famous church, with its increase in table allowances and salaries were frequent. accessories of plump turkeys, minced pies, plum puddings and imposing grey-coloured cathedral, had long celebrated its cenOne-time Governor of the colony, Griffith described Lagos as Christmas trees. Fineries of all sorts and conditions. All the elite tenary, specifically in 1967. “the Queen of West African settlements”. He went on: “no single seemed to lack was snow. Their dressing and eating habits were The foundation stone of the cathedral was laid on Friday, settlement on the West coast can compare with Lagos in public predictably Victorian.” March 29, 1867 by the then Administrator of Lagos Colony and Most of them were profuse in their loyalty to the queen. In 1881, expenditure, imports, and exports, in population or in activity, its dependencies for Queen Victoria, John Hawley Glover. The enterprise, and wealth of her mercantile community. the Lagos Times prayed for the success of British arms in Ashanti. church was later dedicated for use in 1869. Before then, the “Her merchants are unbounded in their hospitality. They It declared: “we are so jealous of the Power of British arms that place of worship was only mud and thatch. The church revoluentertain liberally and place the choicest and most expensive we would not have it suffer the slightest reverse.” The Imperial tionalise brick building in Lagos. services on their tables. Even the natives will offer champagne to Federation League found enthusiastic support in Lagos. According to available facts gleaned from church library, the visitors. They keep open house and everywhere a cordial welLifestyles among the indigenes continued as before. They ate estimated cost of building was 1,100 Pounds, which was concome awaits a stranger.” the normal Yoruba dishes of maize, cassava, yams and Yoruba Griffith asked for horses and a carriage because both the white tributed from both England and Lagos. At the church’s opensauces. They dressed in the same large flowing cloak, called ing service, James Lamb, the first minister, was assisted by two and black merchants had them. The Colonial Office, in one of Agbada, and baggy trousers. The Saro educated elite wore the late churchwardens, Henry Doherty and John Ogunbunmi. those priceless minutes, thought mules and a carriage would London fashions – stiff collars and heavy woolen suits. The tradiMembers of the congregation, comprising elites in Lagos suit the deputy governor best. tional elite continued to dress as they had always done but had and school children sand to the hymn The Stone To Thee In Faith Since the ages, Lagos has therefore been predominantly a comdeveloped new drinking habits. We Lay, paving the way for the inaugural sermon preached by mercial city. The city of Lagos grew from Lagos Island. The An observer described Oba of Lagos, Dosunmu as “a good temBishop Ajayi Crowther, known in history books as the man Marina was the “posh” part of the city. The British lived on the pered, easy going man, much given to pomp …(he) possessed a who translated the Bible from English to Yoruba language. Marina and it was also the center of government. Walking down hundred wives and innumerable suits of apparel. Visitors are Marina today, relics of post-amalgamation still exist in the old always regaled with Champagne whenever they go to see him

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NIGERIA @ 100

Dilapidated, crumbled and overgrown by weeds... the famous house where Frederick Lugard signed the amalgamation of Nothern and Southern protectorates

Elegy to Zungeru, the forgotten capital By Gregory Austin Nwakunor N the bank of Kaduna River lies Zungeru in Wushishi Local Council. It is about 56 kilometres away from Minna, the Niger State capital. A laidback town with rustic realities, the serenity of the environment, the friendly ambience and wondrful people are salvation tunes for anybody looking for where to relax in a place close to nature. For a writer, creative juice flows in the town because there aren’t much distractions. On a market day, the town is sure to breath life. It welcomes everybody, as people come from far and wide to trade. This Wednesday afternoon, light poured in on the town brilliantly, as traders haggled and bargained. The wealth of this town is from its history: The star attractions being the house that Lord Frederick Lugard lived in opulence, and where, indeed, he signed the amalgamation document. The town holds a great deal of significance to the Nigerian state, as it was the birthplace of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first Nigerian Senate President and later president of the country; the current Senate President, David Mark; and Biafran warlord Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. It equally has the reputation of being the burial place of the founder of Nigerian Scout Movement, Australia-born Henry James Speed. Unfortunately, there is little in the town today to show that it had once served as the fulcrum of the nation’s history.  But unfortunately, the town has not preserved its history as to make the desired income. These monuments have crumbled and decayed and their images are washed out like faded photographs of a distant forgotten era. The town is now a patchwork of both splendid moments, tragedies of funereal black, and darkly coloured vignettes. RIOR to the advent of British colonisation, the region now known as Nigeria, at a time a geographical expression, comprised several contiguous nationalities, each having its distinctive structure, political, economic and social systems that defined relationship with outside world. But the extortion of agreement by Britain and forced institutionalisation of a barbaric colonial system ensured the emergence of a town like Zungeru as an administrative and commercial town. In the early 20th century, Zungeru was one of Nigeria’s most important towns. It was the capital of Northern Protectorates between 1902 and 1916. It was gathered the village was densely populated because of the concentration of federal civil servants, especially railway workers. With the high presence of Europeans, as well as the native colonial soldiers, commercial activities increased. Most of the soldiers made their shopping in the village market. According to oral history, when the British colonialists came, their inability to call the place Dunguru brought about the corrupted form Zungeru. British forces occupied Zungeru in September 1902, which was then populated by the Nupe tribe. Lugard chose the town as capital of Northern Nigeria over Jebba and Lokoja due to its central location. It grew from an almost virgin territory of small scattered settlements of the indigenous population, mostly Nupes, Hausas and the Gwaris, to a town of over 35,100 residents. The population comprised the British, artisans from other West African British colonies and clerks from the Southern Protectorate as well as labourers and traders from Hausa, Nupe, Kanuri, Fulani and other tribes in the Northern Protectorate. Being a railway town, with sparse and scattered settlement of the indigenous people, Britain couldn’t have got a better bargain. They cleared the forest and established a market, military barracks and hospital, among other things. Thus, Zungeru became

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one of the most peaceful, cosmopolitan and politically important towns in Northern Nigeria. The movement of administrative headquarters from Zungeru to Kaduna in 1916 was like plucking the goose to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing. But in a way, this decision led to the town’s gradual descent, which is evidenced in the neglect and lack of interest on the part of government and the citizenry to preserve national heritage. To fully understand the extent of this neglect, a journey through the community tells some revealing stories. Zungeru, the forgotten capital of Northern Nigeria, by Bamtsoho Mohammed, a retired Brigadier General of the Nigerian Army, best capture it. Government House at Zungeru, where Lugard once ran his government and which was declared one of Nigeria’s national monuments, is gone. The site was declared a National Monument on February 13, 1962, and the building was erected in 1902, the year that Frederick Lugard established the administrative headquarters of the Northern Protectorate. Not even its foundation stones remain. What’s left of Lugard’s office and residence are ruins. With the exception of its columns and the structure’s concrete foundation, the House was completely dismantled in 1916, when the seat of government relocated to Kaduna. Aside from the remnants of the building itself, this particular national monument also includes 100ft of land on either side of the crest of the hill on which the house stood Zungeru’s first church, the United Mission Church was built in 1905, but has been mostly washed away by erosion. Though the church’s original bell and furniture are still in use, the structure is in need of attention. The house and its surroundings are a testament of the neglect and vandalisation that have coloured the heritage. Stripped of its original fittings and all, what remains is a carcass nestling among weeds and thorns. Other historical sites such as the railway terminus, the steam generators that provided 24-hour transmission of electricity and water to colonists’ homes, and the Officers Mess are still existing; but are badly damaged. The head offices of pioneer multinationals John Holt, the Royal Niger Company and UAC are also visible, but only as ruins. The ‘dungeon’, an underground prison dug deep into the ground like a well but without the water. Here, the British lords lowered offenders as punishment. They are lowered into the deep end with a long rope and lifted out with the same rope once they’ve served their term, so to speak. Lamentation, just as it is in the Holy Bible, rents the air. The people are not really happy with the situation of things in the community on this market day, as many wondered what would have become of the town if Kaduna had not replaced it as favoured land. A motorbike rider, Alhassan Musa, who spoke to The Guardian, said. “we are not happy that government has neglected Zungeru. There is nothing to write home about here, in terms of development, from the time the country’s headquarters was moved from the old railway town to date. He also complained about the nonchallant attitude of successive administrations toward preserving the historical monuments. Last year May, President Goodluck Jonathan kick-started the N162.9 billion Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Project in Niger State. According to the President, the hydro dam project, when constructed, will generate 700 megawatts of electricity for the country. Benefits of the dam President Jonathan listed employment opportunities, agricultural development and tourism as benefits from the dam.

The Zungeru Dam was conceived about 30 years ago and the first feasibility study done on the project was by Messrs Chas T. Main International of USA.

Zungeru’s abandoned historical sites

• Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe Centre, a gigantic structure that was initiated during the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. It was built in memory of the late Azikiwe. The edifice was well-conceived and brilliantly structured to house the administrative and library blocks of the centre. Today, it is absolutely abandoned. • Dr. Azikiwe Primary School is the elementary school that Dr. Azikiwe attended as a boy. And it is still standing. • Colonial bridge, built by colonial masters is in existence, but rarely used. • Museum in Zungeru houses excavations of items used by the colonialists. Many of such items can also be found in the state’s museum at Minna. Such items include guns and bullets used by the colonialists, the telephone used by Lord Lugard when he was in Zungeru, the bottles used for storing water and wine, colonialists’ head wears, among others.

The country we all need, by Uya problem with Nigeria is not amalgamation. s activities marking Nigeria’s The real problem is our fail100 years of existence simure to manage the Nigerian mer down, with the loud argu- state so that every unit of it ments on the merits or othercan have a sense of belonging. wise of such celebrations still That is the real issue and not raging, what is evident is that amalgamation. the country is yet to attain the Unfortunately, we have not dreams of its ordinary citizens. been able to address that, This was the submission of the frontally. What everybody is chairman of the country’s forcrying of is a country where mer electoral body, National every person can feel a sense Electoral Commission (NEC), of belonging, where every perProf. Okon Edet Uya. The profes- son can be motivated to sacrisor of African and Africanfice for the survival of the American History is also sadcountry. The kind of country dened by the disdain the coun- we need is where the ordinary try accords its national memory, man is not a victim of the saying a country that does so is elite, politically, economically incapable of moving forward. and what have you. What is Uya, who was responding to that kind of country? This is issues around the Centenary cel- something I have continued ebration just held, said the to say in the past 30 years now amalgamation is a historical and each time I say it people fact that cannot be erased, and say you are talking ideology. I that Nigeria’s problems did not am not talking ideology; we stem from it, but that of inabili- must have a philosophy of ty of managers of the common- governance for this country wealth. He noted that until the and that takes into consideraordinary man frees himself tion our diversity, the from political victimhood from strength of the various parts the elite and enjoys a sense of of the country and the weakjustice, the country would con- nesses of the various parts of tinue to flounder. the country. According to him, “So, the real

By Anote Ajeluorou

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THE GUARDIAN www.ngrguardiannews.com

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NIGERIA @ 100

NEWS

‘Nigeria will remain indivisible entity’

Stories by Kabir Alabi Garba OR Nigeria’s centenary celFimpact ebrations to have deep and meaning, distinguished historian and Emeritus Professor Michael Omolewa has suggested borrowing a leaf from Canada. “When Canada was celebrating 100 years of its establishment, all the children born during that year were given scholarship and given the special status as centenary children,” Omolewa said. Adding, he said, “the country also went ahead to provide some visible signs of the celebration, and did more of heritage repairs, identifying more of heritage sites for Canada to celebrate their own history.” Omolewa, who also was Nigeria’s former Permanent Delegate to UNESCO therefore expressed the belief that “what Canadians did can also be done in Nigeria: we can identify some cities such as Lokoja, Calabar, Zungeru and Lagos and invest in structures and heritage sites identified in those places, we can revisit institutions such as the earliest secondary schools including the CMS Grammar School, King’s College, Government Colleges and the pioneer Grammar schools and Colleges for renewal projects, we can celebrate the children that are born in 2014, celebrate individuals, institutions, economy and politics, celebrate the heritage.” According to him, “it should be a year of reflection, meditation, hope, courage, commitment, renewal, transformation and on-going increase and growth.” For Omolewa, he hopes “to write more articles, more books, do

N spite of the country’s IProfessor multifaceted challenges, of History and

The Centenary celebration at the weekend in Abuja

Canada example could have enriched our centenary package, says Omolewa more research, teach more students to write and explore the Nigeria project, challenges, failures, and hopes, and pray more fervently for Divine favour and fresh anointing. I would have felt fulfilled by the end of the year and beyond.” While praising the inauguration, by the Presidency, of the high-powered panel that coordinated the centenary

what the contribution of the Press has been to the developcelebrations, which climaxed ment of the nation and then yesterday with a church serv- you discover how the Press was ice in Abuja, Omolewa is opti- very critical of colonial system, mistic that the proposal that a as demonstrated by the foundbook should be written to ing of the Western African Pilot, mark the celebration will still the Nigerian Tribune, The Lagos be accepted and pursued. Weekly Record, the Daily Express, “I would want some specific Daily Times, the Nigerian studies carried out about the Chronicle and others, that past. Let the centenary profought on principle and good duce some specialist studies conscience against those based on research. For things which they considered instance, they can find out unacceptable to Nigeria.

Let there be that kind of celebration of the role of the press, not propaganda but reliable and verifiable documentation of the role of the press. Then you look at the role of the students union; the very noble roles they played at different stages of their career, look at the role of the judiciary, the military, the police, the role of businesses and individuals so that it becomes a multidimensional celebration.” The renowned educationist/historian faulted the call for changing the name of Nigeria as being championed by some critics. “Instead of wasting our own Apart from the magazine despite all odds and obstacles, time changing our name, we Issues, there will be a release change is still possible by of short films and exhibitions should change our attitude, learning from history to see in honour of the people, look- values, perception, orientaamazing characters who ing at the cultural and histori- tion, dreams, and visions as placed the love for the land cal angle. The first Issue, which a people; we should change higher than their personal cravings and life. We are cele- is the Legend of Queen Amina whatever is not healthy to the political, social and ecobrating people who exhibited of Zazzau, is available on the nomic development of our website. great leadership traits while Colourful wallpapers are also country. We need not facing the British and who available for download on the change the name of the made sure their people did website. country, but ourselves.” not suffer.”

Brand unveils pre-centenary figures By Tope Templer Olaiya

Tagged Celebration of the Titans, the publication will focus on the celebration of preTOP brand promoting centenary figures, men and Nigerian cultural heritage and history is releasing women who did amazing a special centenary issue in exploits in their different honour of men and women regions and geo-political zones who have fought and stood of the country. According to the project profirm for the development of the Nigeria project. The vehi- moter, Mr. Damola Ogundele, cle for this centenary project “the essence is to allow people around the world learn that is Asiri Magazine.

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Director, Centre for Peace and Security Studies at the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, Kyari Mohammed has expressed faith in the continued existence of Nigeria as one indivisible entity. “I am very optimistic. Nigeria ought to, and should prosper in the next 100 years,” he said, warning however that “the prognosis looks grim; steps to achieving that are not being taken at all. Nations that have prospered, that we are looking up to, did not fall from the sky, they were built on solid foundations of justice, equity, accountability and good governance. These are issues that need to be settled and taken for granted for any society to progress. Ethnic, religious, communal or sectional posturing for narrow political and/or economic gains will not take us there. Nigeria has the potential to survive and become great in the next 100 years and beyond but these potentials need to be harnessed, otherwise we will continue to be a nation of potentials.” The historian wants Nigeria to survive as one nation based on equity, justice and mutual understanding among its different nationalities. “But this wish has to be nurtured consciously, it cannot happen by chance,” Mohammed asserted. He continued, “With proper democracy and democratic ethos, good governance such that Nigerians can trust their government to do the right thing, irrespective of what party or who governs the country, yes Nigeria may see the next 100 years in its present form or something akin to it.”

Why I mark my birthday with Centenary celebration, by Oyeweso HEN Prof. Siyan Oyeweso clocked 53 W recently, the occasion was marked with a colloquium tagged 100 years of

But he has been marking his birthday with this intellectual approach since he turned 49. “In that year (2009), the theme of my birthday lecture was on Benin Society after the Restoration of the Monarchy, 1914-1939. The lecture was delivered by Dr. Victor Osaro Edo, the current Head of Department of History, University of Ibadan. “At 50, the topic of my birthday lecture was The Political Economy of Electoral Contest: Helping INEC and Nigerians overcome Crisis of Confidence, and it was delivered by Prof Ayandiji Aina, the former ViceChancellor of Adeleke University, Ede. The event also featured a colloquium on Nigeria’s Security Challenges with a keynote address by Dr. Fredrick

Fasheun, national leader, Odua Peoples’ Congress, and with participation by Dr Kemi Rotimi, the Police historian, Prof. Charles Dokubo of NIIA, Lagos, late Prof. Kunle Lawal, Dr CBN Ogbogbo, and Prof. Tayo Adesina. “When I clocked 51, I marked the event with a colloquium titled Emeka Ojukwu: the End of an Era? The colloquium was chaired by Prof. Charles Tayo Adesina of the Department of History, University of Ibadan, and it attracted such eminent scholars as Prof. Francis Egbokhare, Dr Dhikrullah Yagboyaju, Prof. Akin Alao, Dr Abimbola Adesoji, among others. “At 52, Prof Hakeem Tijani delivered the lec-

‘Amalgamating’: Illusions and Realities of Nation-Building in Nigeria. Held at Western Sun Hotel, Ede, Osun State, the programme attracted scholars, intellectuals, policy makers, government functionaries, family friends and professional colleagues from far and near. But why would Oyeweso choose to mark his private occasion this way? “I am a professional historian by calling, and by my profession I have a duty to talk about the history of my society. History is the study of society in time perspectives. And as a social individual, I am concerned by what Published by Guardian Newspapers Limited, Rutam House, Isolo, Lagos Tel: 4489600, 2798269, 2798270, 07098147948, 07098147951 Fax: 4489712; Advert Hotlines: happens in the society. I have tried to show Lagos 7736351, Abuja 07098513445; Circulation Hotline: 01 4489656 my concern through my birthday celebraAll correspondence to Guardian Newspapers Limited, P.M.B. 1217, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria. tion by reflecting on the events that are gerE-mail letters@ngrguardiannews.com; www.ngrguardiannews.com mane to nation-building in Nigeria,” he reaABC (ISSN NO 0189-5125) Editor: MARTINS OLOJA soned.

ture titled Towards making a world Class University. And, at 53, I chose to review the unification of Nigeria with a colloquium titled: 100 years of ‘Amalgamating’: Illusions and Realities of Nation-Building in Nigeria. “The last colloquium is a review of the past and present realities in the nation building process of Nigeria. It examines several views on the amalgamation. Many have referred to the exercise as a mistake, while others believed it is a fraud. The colloquium held that whether it was a mistake or not, Nigerians should allow its architect, Lord Lugard to rest. The mistake made in 1914 is rectifiable and correctable. If our leaders lack the political will to correct the “mistake of 1914”, we the people can force them to come up with the “correction of 2014” if we are not comfortable coexisting as a nation. This can be the national answer to the national question. We cannot continue to blame the dead for what the living can correct.”

Wed 05 March 2014  

The Guardian Nigeria

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