Has Nigeria Fared Better in the Hands of the British colonial Government than Crop of its indigenous Rulers?

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December 6, 2016
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December 6, 2016

The Nigerian situation in the hands of our own leaders has shown that even our former colonial governments performed better. Our freedom fighters such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello, Obafemi Awolowo, Ivan Ikoku, Herbert Macaulay, Mokwugo Okoye and Anthony Enahoro etc fought to win independence for us but only little did they realize that one day history would prove the British more capable. They mistakenly have asserted the opinion that the nation would fare better in the hands of its indigenous rulers but how disappointed they have become. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe lived to witness the civil war, series of military coups, downturn economy, electoral malpractices and finally in his dying years, evidences that a section of the country may not allow the rest to have a share in the leadership of the nation.

For Dr. Obafemi Awolowo, the sage cried fowl after the 1979 presidential election in which he believed his party was out rigged. His experiences did not end there, it continued with inability of the military leaders that took power to restore normalcy in the socio-economic problems that confronted the nation, weighing it down completely. The worst had not been seen by the icon whose advice only captured the wrong ears. He lost the patience he never recovered and must have felt that power was wrestled from the British and given to the wrong hands. Herbert Macaulay never lived to see the eventual situation of the country he fought so hard to win independence for, but the father of nationalism must have at least noticed the ugly situation that awaited the nation from the lot of betrayals he experienced in the hands of his fellow freedom fighters.


In 1960, baby Nigeria was born with promises but her condition has remained worsened by her parents and senior family members who will do nothing worth it to make her citizens grow. Nearly fifty years afterwards, Nigeria is still a crawling baby with feeble legs incapable of making her stand. Nearly fifty years after her doubtful birth again, no one can ably guess her sex and every argument in this regard have yielded anything positive. Citizens are now like slaves and the youths without any future. The condition of the country can best be described as recyclable for the worst.

All the freedom fighters that fought one way or the other to win independence for the nation must be utterly disappointed in today’s Nigeria which has given birth to nearly 200 million people. Every road to Nigeria is leads to disappointment. Nigeria is walking along a dangerous path where even America has found so hard to predict since every national policy of the nation is meant to promote the interest of the privileged rulers. Surely, the nation needs to be rescued by its people irrespective of what its leaders think for it is usual to here them comment and blame faceless and non-existent enemies of the country for the woes. Blaming the outside world officials of the nation is like the second national anthem of Nigeria. The people are used to it anyway.

The British colonial government only chose a particular political system of government upon which the nation of Nigeria was founded but a more modern history of the nation since our leaders took over badly tells it all. Parliamentary system of government has had its way unsuccessfully; the military have come and gone with guns and other forms of ammunition, yet nothing changed for good and now democracy is fast failing the nation proving too expensive in the eye of the ordinary masses who gain nothing in return with astronomically improving corruption.

Although, academic books and indigenous propagandas have condemned the British colonial government to the extent that no achievement is often credited to it, the much taunted “ancient government” can be effectively compared to what the Nigerian leaders past and present have given the people, and has fared better by far. The British chose particular policies and implemented them to the later bearing in mind that perfection only exists in words and humans should be treated with dignity. The British in power were not perfect but made a lot more laudable achievements more than any indigenous government or all of them put together. Let us not deceive ourselves, laying foundations are much more tasking than raising and perfecting them. From what is seen of our own leaders with their own kind of governmental policies, the British scored high points in building the country.


Hospital such as National Orthopaedic hospital, Igbobi, Lagos and Messy Hopital, Lagos and more built by the British governments can still stand the test of time if proper funds are genuinely channeled into them because they are better and more purposefully built than what our leaders have given us inside local government compounds. But what can they offer us anyway?

A look at the institutions of learning established by the British colonial government shows that they were better political players with more concern for the Nigerian citizens than all other indigenous Nigerian governments put together. Even secondary schools built by them were spacious, with facilities put in place for learning conveniences plus good standard of education guaranteed, in the years that arrived with the Nigerian indigenous leaders followed poultries as schools. I learnt from them (the British) that a secondary school should have missions built inside them. We often hear of the “good old days”, Was Yaba College of Education, Lagos originally set out as a full-fledged University? No but when our leaders could not do more, it became a university over night.

Has the Nigerian government not destroyed St. Thomas’ Teachers’ Training College, Ibusa, Delta State one of the first higher institutions of learning in the whole of Nigeria and the pride of Nigeria? Certainly, the volunteer Corps who arrived from America and other parts of Europe in 1945 to instruct in the institution will be surprised to hear that the once higher education set up by one of their own in 1929 is now a Girls Secondary School. A certain American citizen and one of the volunteer corps that taught in the institution in the period stated once contacted me to inquire on what has become of the institution; I told him that the once glorious institution and citadel of learning he was enquiring about had become an all sex female institution and he fearfully screamed. These things happen only in Nigeria. I further told him.

Have you realized that our grand-fathers who schooled under the colonial government speak better and flawless English language than those with Ph.D Degrees hurriedly trained and graduated from poultries called schools built by our leaders? How many new generation of good writers has the country produced since independence besides Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and a few others of the old generation? How many more good scientists besides Augustine Esogbue and Philip Emeagwali? Ask yourself. Has Nigeria progressed or regressed? Don’t be deceived with endless National Merit Awards and senior Advocates of Nigeria awards hurriedly conferred on themselves because if the nation is able to produce at least 5 true National Award winners, things will turn around in the country for good. Know it today that we have more honourary and traditional chiefs than the so-called National Merit award winners.  

What is more surprising to the British than that 6 years after handing over to Nigerians the acclaimed original owners of the land, meaningless and baseless crisis erupted leading to an unnecessary civil war which claimed millions of lives. Should postulate that Nigerians like other Black leaders in Africa cannot rule themselves bring succor to their fellow Blacks? The Blackman loves violence more than anything else in seeking to achieve results which never come anyway.

Today the situation has become indescribably worst than any human being on earth can imagine. Everything is wrong with us as a nation. Our leaders have obviously demonstrated incompetence in ruling us. They lack the wherewithal to give us even joy; we live in a country where our lives are being wasted on a daily basis. The leaders of the nation easily forget that life is but once as they amass public monies available and selfishly move them to develop other countries while the common masses are left to die in a country where there are no standard hospitals with standard equipment. Little wonder why our leaders travel out for mere medical check-ups to India, China, and Indonesia etc while the poor are left to die at the corridors of ill-smelling hospitals in the country.

Nigeria is one of the few nations in the world where leaders emerge without elections, yet poor citizens are either made to stand all day in the sun or rain to fulfill the righteousness of the mighty politicians. The Ekiti scenario best describes how the government of the country has fared in organizing election. There public office holders who speak in this country and no one bothers to listen to them. Electoral chiefs are some of them.

No policies favour the generality of the citizens because it is a taboo to see the masses smile. Electoral reform story can be better imagined than expected. Acting according to the will of the people is also a taboo. Information Bill story is also has taken more time to deliberate before the National Assembly because it will do the masses good if passed. Motions to remove oil subsidies are more hastily considered because of the harm it will cause the people.

Oh Britain! Create another country for us. We are tired of living with our leaders in this country called. We are now ready to move out to found our own country like one of them recently advised us. After all, Nigeria is for only the wealthy not for people like us. What can our leaders do for us? Do a hungry people see? Why stop us from importing frozen chickens, “moi-moi”, apples, bread, “chin-chin” and “akara” from Republic of Benin when we cannot find them here. Remember that a hungry man will desperately look for what to eat no matter how far illegal it may be termed because he must survive.  

When the bible said that the love of money is the root of all evils it definitely referred to Nigeria because it is a country that everyone wants money without hard work. What more is expected in a country where employments are hard to find. Everyone also live in darkness because it is impossible to provide constant supply of electricity in this modern age. It is a country where generator sets may outnumber the citizens in terms of population. At nights, the noise generated by these generator sets makes the environment appear like a large factory and everyone sick.

Who has fared better, the British Colonial government who first lit up the country or the nation’s indigenous leaders who many decades later cannot keep pace with what foreigners in started in our own country? I, for sure prefer the British colonial government because they gave us all we wanted especially food and I will vote for them in any credible election any day. The British colonial government, I doff my hat for you.

Source by Emeka Esogbue

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