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A Dangerous Awakening

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Iheanyi M. Enwerem

Chapter One

The Cultural and Colonial Settings

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And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death.
(Macbeth, Act V, Scene v)

The Creation of Modern Nigeria1

  • 1 . For a richer account of the creation of modern Nigeria, see works by scholars such as K.O. Dike, (...)

1The creation of modern Nigeria is traceable to the activities of three different groups, namely, British missionaries, traders, and imperialists. From a chronological perspective, the first of these activities was the British anti-slavery movement which curbed the exportation of African slaves, and the colonization of Lagos between 1851 and 1861, which was expanded in the 1880s and 1890s to create the Colony and Protectorate of Lagos and Yorubaland. The activity of traders and missionaries in the Oil Rivers followed, culminating in the creation of the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria in 1900 (see figure 3). Finally, came the imperialist activities of the Royal Niger Company, after the revocation of its charter by the British Government, which resulted in the creation of the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria in 1900 (see figures 3 and 4).

  • 2 . Okoi Arikpo, The Development of Modem Nigeria (Middlesex, England: Penguin, 1967), p. 25.

2Three landmarks in the eventual development of Nigeria were: (1) the conquest of Northern Nigeria, which was completed in 1904; (2) the amalgamation of the two Southern Protectorates in 1906; and (3) the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914 — thanks to the ingenuity of Lord Lugard, one of the best known agents of British colonial imperialism in Africa. These amalgamations, it should be noted, embraced numerous indigenous ethnic groups. Writing about these groups, Okoi Arikpo rightly noted that it is almost impossible to either fit them into one single whole or divide them into well-defined areas of distinct identities, so diverse are they. This diversity notwithstanding, the identities of the Nigerian peoples ‘are drawn from the same “box of bricks”, though the bricks are arranged in different patterns’ as a result of the ‘variations in the social environment, and the external cultural influences to which the peoples have been subjected.’2

Source: Y. Turaki, 1982, p. 94.

Figure 3. Nigeria 1906 - 1914

Source: Y. Turaki, 1982, p. 94.

Figure 4. Nigeria 1963 - 1966

Source: Y. Turaki, 1982, p. 101.

Figure 5. Northern Nigeria 1902

Cultural Background

An overview

3Definitions of culture vary and in Africa culture is often narrowly defined in terms of dance and music. This is especially so in Nigeria where an official reception of government dignitaries or their foreign counterparts is considered incomplete if there is no traditional dancing. Culture, of course, is much more than music and dancing. Culture is:

  • 3 . Bashir lkara, Welcome Address at the Meeting of Chief Executives of Culture in Nigeria at the Ham (...)

... an embodiment of the people's way of life, the totality of their human experiences in relation to their environment and their complete design for living. It thus includes... their socioeconomic and political organizations, their religious beliefs and philosophies; their languages and literature; their folklore and superstitions; their rules of social conduct and legal systems; and indeed their goals and aspirations.3

4On the basis of the preceding observation, the question may be asked: What is the core aspect of culture? For Africa, religion is the answer. As O.U. Kalu aptly points out:

  • 4 . Ogbu U. Kalu, Religions in Nigeria: An overview, In: JA. Atanda et at. (eds.), Nigeria Since Inde (...)

Religion dominates the roots of the culture areas of Nigeria... Little or no distinction existed between the profane and the sacred dimensions of life. Thus, all activities and instruments of governance and survival were clothed in religious ritual, language, and symbolism.4

  • 5 . Byang H. Kato, African Cultural Revolution and the Christian Faith (Jos: Baraka Press, 1976), pp. (...)
  • 6 .ibid., pp. 5-7.
  • 7 . ibid., pp. 13-31.
  • 8 . ibid., p. 10.

5B.H. Kato's work adds more weight to Kalu's assertion about religion.5Observing that ‘it is in the religious area that Africa has seen the greatest changes’, and that ‘religion is the single most important factor of traditional African life’,6 he goes on to explain how religion is ‘the heart of [African] culture’,7 since ‘every aspect of Africa's life is given meaning and direction by religion.’8 While every expression of culture, including religion — the formal or outward appearances, the value expectations, and even the mythical aspects — may change with time and circumstance, the disposition for religion or the belief in the divine in African culture resists change — a point we shall return to later.

Socio-political organization and outlook

  • 9 . We say this with a note of caution. This is because there appears to be no generally accepted key (...)
  • 10 . Nowhere, perhaps, is this point better concretized than in the case of the Hausa language which, (...)

6The key concepts in understanding the Nigerian socio-political system are the family (including its extended form) and language.9 While language does not only bring about social interaction among diverse backgrounds but also goes beyond this to assist the speakers acquire political dominance over others,10 the family unit grows and extends into the kindred, village, clan, and ethnic units. It is in the course of the growth and extension of the family system that two political systems of authority emerged in Nigeria, namely, centralized and non-centralized authorities, each having a corresponding attitude to power relations.

  • 11 . Michael Crowder, The Story of Nigeria, London, p. 23.

7A general consensus among historians dates the emergence of political organization in Nigeria towards the end of the first millennium. This was when small units, encouraged by a claim to common ancestry, customs, and language, generally began to organize themselves into state-like societies. In southern Nigeria, these small units hardly exceeded a thousand people because of the density of the forest belt. However, in the North, the peoples formed themselves into large political units because the open savannah made communication easier. It is not surprising, therefore, that one of the first states with a centralized government in West Africa, the Kingdom of Kanem-Borno, extended across northern Nigeria through the present Borno and Yobe States into the present day Chad Republic.11

  • 12 . O. Nnoli, op. cit., pp. 130-131.

8Later developments, especially the militant activities by Islamic jihadists early in the nineteenth century, brought the North under a central authority that was vertically hierarchical, despotic in character and highly stratifying of the polity. This was given a sacred sanction by the Islamic religion and remained unchallenged until the time of colonialism.12

  • 13 . M.J.C. Echeruo, 1979 Ahiajoku Lecture (Owerri, Nigeria: Cultural Division, Ministry of Informatio (...)

9In the geographic area generally referred to as the Middle Belt and the southern parts of Nigeria, however, societal organization was clearly different from that in the North, even if there were some similarities. For example, the Tiv, Jeba, and Idoma societies of the Middle Belt, and their Igbo, Efik, Ibibio, and Kalahari counterparts in the South, ran non-centralized political systems. No single leader made decisions for the people. Instead decision making was participatory in orientation; it had a republican character whereby an assembly of the different family heads or council of elders reached a consensus highly responsive to the popular will. These societies, especially the Igbo, lacked a permanent administration and detested any kind of authoritarianism or dictatorship. The Igbo society, with its history of ‘the cult of individual daring’, or, better expressed as the ‘cult of individual ambition for power’,13epitomized this republican character.

  • 14 . O. Nnoli, op. cit., p. 133.
  • 15 . ibid.

10If Igbo society differs from Hausa-Fulani society in the North, the societies to the southwest tend to fall between the extremes represented by the other two major societies.14 For instance, there are in the West, as in the North, centralized monarchical and hierarchical political authorities, in the Kingdoms of Oyo and Benin, for example, both of which trace their ancestry to the parent monarchical Kingdom of Ife. But these polities, like their Igbo counterparts, are not strictly authoritarian. This is in so far as political power/authority in these kingdoms is widely dispersed among partly independent town units, whose leaders are chosen by the people as counterweights to the central authority.15 In addition, the political structure in these southern polities differs from the Hausa-Fulani structure:

  • 16 . ibid.

While the Hausa emir could only be deposed by his overlord, the Sultan of Sokoto, the Yoruba Oba, in spite of the religious aura which surrounded him as a divine King, if found unpopular, could be deposed and ordered to commit suicide by his council.16

11Thus, both Yoruba society and its Benin (Edo) counterpart were neither absolute nor unquestioning in expressing their allegiance to authority, even though they had monarchical administrations to which they owed obedience and loyalty.

Religious outlook

  • 17 . J.S. Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy'(London: Heinemann, 1969), p. 15.

12Over and above the factors of environment, political organization, and outlook of traditional Nigeria, the religious factor remained the major source of inspiration — the catalyst for the people's activities and world view. This was because religion involved the totality of human life, from birth to death, from the visible to the invisible world around and beyond human life. Concretely, this understanding implied that the individual's religious life was not separated from all that made up the individual's personality; one's physical existence and concerns were interwoven with one's spiritual life. Starting from before birth and continuing even after death — in the rites of passage through the life cycle, marriage, sickness and health, education and morality, seasonal changes, economic and socio-political activities — the Nigerian like other Africans, was usually immersed in religious rites, and from them derived his sense of oneness with the universe.17

13African traditional religiosity must be understood if one is to avoid the Western religious stereotype of Africans. One such stereotype perceives the traditional African religious world view as devoid of the concept of the supreme God. To justify this perception, the Western mind, among other things, alludes to the libations and sacrifices which Africans offer to their dead ancestors and their deities. But this understanding of African traditional religiosity is wrong. The traditional African religious world view embodies a clear concept of the supreme God. An adequate sociological understanding of this, and indeed the overall dynamics of traditional African religious beliefs and political practices, require, for a start, that we pay attention to the African conceptualization of the cosmos.

14To understand this cosmos, the setting of a modern office complex offers a helpful analogy. A modern office complex normally consists of sections and rooms of diverse sizes, corresponding to the level of power exercised by the respective occupants. The entire edifice, however, is not seen as dichotomized but as one big complex under the overall charge of the highest officer, the boss. The boss's attention is hardly called for in those matters which junior ranks can handle; it is only when the services of the junior ranks have been exhausted without the desired result that the boss is approached. For the smooth running of the whole complex, an efficient boss interacts with his co-workers and allows them a free hand in taking decisions without their losing sight of who is boss. Naturally, the junior officers look forward to being promoted to the higher ranks so as to enjoy more benefits. To achieve this goal, they must work to the satisfaction of the boss or his lieutenants. This analogy can be applied to traditional African religious belief and socio-political practice.

  • 18 . Here one cites works like Emile Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, trans, by (...)

15In the traditional religious world view of Africa, the religious universe is one big whole consisting of two major but unequal spheres of existence, namely, the preeminent spirit world and the less eminent physical world. The populace of both spheres is perpetually in mutual interaction, though there is a disparity — a power and status imbalance — in this interaction. In other words, as earlier pointed out, in the African religious world view, there is no dichotomy between the spiritual and the physical worlds; this world view is quite different from that commonly shared by functionalist sociologists of religion.18 While the spirit world, in a hierarchical order of prominence, consists of the Supreme Deity (God), the divinities, the angels, and dead ancestors; the physical world is the abode of human beings and other physical realities. While believing that their existence and happiness are dependent on the goodwill of the Supreme Deity, Africans are mindful of the fact that the whims and caprices of the divinities and ancestors often interfere with God's goodwill. Thus the solicitations made to the divinities or the ancestors are sometimes aimed at appeasing them. But more often than not, the solicitation is made on the grounds that these divinities and ancestors have some power, given their nearness to God, and that one stands to gain if one can use them to achieve one's purpose.

16But should the divinities fail to deliver the desired results, the individual, without giving up on religion, has two options, namely, to discard the divinities or to create new ones. In this connection, one recalls the experience of G.T. Basden, a missionary who lived for a considerable time in Igboland. According to him:

  • 19 . G.T. Basden, Among the Ibos of Nigeria (London: Frank Cass, 1927), p. 214.

On every side one sees ruins of shrines either simply left to decay or from which the ‘spirit’ has been driven out. On one occasion a deputation of men from a neighbouring village waited upon me with the request that I would come and cast out their god Ngenne, on the grounds that too many people had died in the village in spite of the many sacrifices offered. The people had come to the conclusion that their Ngenne was too much of a knave. Either he had no power to avert disaster, or he was of such a sour disposition that nothing would satisfy him, although they had almost beggared themselves in providing sacrifices.19

17The point here is this: traditional African religiosity is very pragmatic and seldom fanatical. As Echeruo eloquently puts it while writing about the Igbo people's religiosity:

  • 20 . M.J.C. Echeruo, op. cit., p. 20.

We keep our gods in our hearts and have only an appropriately respectful attitude to the circumstances that surround them. We respect the gods, but, as the proverb says, we also expect the gods to respect us humans. We acknowledge the power of the gods, and cultivate that power; but when these gods constantly fail to prove themselves powerful, we reserve the right to discard them and seek out new gods.20

18It is only when these gods fail that the African then turns his supplication directly to the Supreme Deity, God, for whom, it is believed, nothing is impossible.

  • 21 . John S. Mbiti, op. cit., p. 9.
  • 22 . M.J. Echeruo, op. cit., pp. 18-19.

19There is an element of a strong belief in, and concern for, life after death in the traditional African religious world view. In this world view, using our analogy of the modern office complex, death is not the end of existence but rather a passage from one section of the office complex to another; whether death results in moving up or down within the ranks, the dead are still within the religious universe and therefore have a chance to interact with other members of the community, whether for good or evil. In other words, there is an inevitable communion existing between the living and the dead in so far as death does not cut off the relationships Africans have with one another. It is within this context, therefore, that the libation and food which the African offers to the dead can be understood. These offerings, as Mbiti observes, are tokens of fellowship, hospitality, and respect; they are symbols of the interaction and continuity that should exist between an extended family's members — dead or alive.21 This interaction has been well described by Echeruo: ‘In fact, the dead are not dead in the Christian sense because, among the Igbo people, there is a continual coming and going from this life to the other and back.’22

20Similarly, in Nigerian traditional religious world views, there is no ‘end of the world’ or ‘end of time’ in the Christian sense. This is because the world is conceived in cyclical terms and time has no end. Thus the Christian idea of bell fire or eternal condemnation makes little sense to the African, given the possibility of one returning to the world, after death, to have a subsequent life on earth. If there is anything like hell fire, it is the inability to return to the world. But even then, one has living relatives or children to count on, or to trouble until, through sacrifices to the Supreme Deity, they smooth one's way to return for another life on earth.

21Tied to this concern for the ‘afterlife’ is the individual's ultimate goal to experience contentment and happiness after death. This is only possible if one, besides maintaining a cordial relationship with the members of the spirit world, leaves behind close ties with one's community while on earth. As we have just said, it is these people that a person, after death, will depend upon for help when and if needed.

  • 23 . The membership of this class includes medicine men and women, wizards and witches, sorcerers, rai (...)

22In this regard, the place and social importance of the priestly class23in the traditional African religious world view becomes quite obvious. Essentially, the members of this class are experts in directing people on how best to remain in the good books of the Supreme Deity. Besides, and perhaps more urgently, they carry out, as intermediaries between individuals and members of the spirit world, the social function of directing individuals towards victory over the whims and caprices of troublesome members of the spirit world. On this point G.T. Basden's missionary experience in Igboland is once again pertinent. In continuation of the narration of his experience with the deputation who came to him with the request to come and cast out their knavish god, Ngenne, he noted:

  • 24 . G.T. Basden, op. cit., p. 214.

I inquired of them why, if this [final dissatisfaction with their god so as to request its excision] was their firm conviction, they did not destroy such a spiteful god? They were anxious to do.so, they replied, but declared that the task was beyond their power.... When I rounded upon them... and told them that I had no wish to be eaten by the ‘Spirit’, or be overwhelmed with disaster, they were emphatic in their declaration that Ngenne could not exercise power over one who prayed to Chukwu (The Supreme Being). These people were pure heathen, wholly untouched by Christian teaching and influence.24

  • 25 . This may be defined as a special kind of reciprocal friendly relationship between two partners in (...)
  • 26 . Richard A. Joseph, Class, state, and prebendal politics in Nigeria, The Journal of Commonwealth a (...)

23The foregoing exploration into Nigeria's traditional religious world view draws our attention to four points which need emphasis in the light of our overall objective. The first point centers around life after death and the kind of relationship that exists between individuals and the members of the spirit world. Clearly the relationship falls in line with a patron-client relationship.25 In the traditional religious set-up the relationship is an avenue to social advancement. An individual without a patron among the divinities, that is, without a personal allegiance to a deity, is not merely a deviant and a rebel but stands disadvantaged in the unknown state of affairs that one must face after death. Thus, as an assurance of a better deal, not only here on earth but more especially in the hereafter, one must owe allegiance to a deity whose prestige and status in the spirit world are enhanced by the number of followers under its command. On the other hand, one must use one's position in life to help, first and foremost, one's immediate family and/or community. The implication is that individuals are judged morally sound as long as they are in good standing with their immediate family and community; individual neglect of, or injury to, the larger and far removed community is not viewed with moral condemnation or is at best viewed with a lesser degree of gravity. Herein we locate a religious background for the complex and growing network of nepotism and the prevalent patron-client relationship in contemporary Nigeria that some scholars have rightly identified as ‘the grid of the country's political life’.26

  • 27 . J.F.A. Ajayi and B. Ikara (eds.), op. cit., p. 12.

24Second, there is the religious value of the wisdom that comes with age. Here we recall the ‘gérontocratie’ pattern of relationship which we noted as characterizing traditional social intercourse. This social intercourse was patterned on the relationship of respectful distance that exists between the Supreme Deity and his junior ranks. He is supreme precisely because he is the wisest and most objective being in the entire universe. Therefore he is held in awe and accorded the highest regard. In the same vein, the ancestors are also held in awe and high regard by traditional Nigerian society, which believes that the power and aura of the Supreme Deity rubs off on those who are close to him. On this basis the traditional pattern of social intercourse found in Nigerian culture is ‘related to age as the elders are considered the nearest to the ancestors and the wisest and most objective members of society.’27

  • 28 . See Richard Olaniyan, African history and culture: An overview, In: R. Olaniyan (ed.), op. cit., (...)
  • 29 . R.L. Sklar tells us how Dr. K.O. Mbadiwe was accused by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of having participated (...)

25Third is traditional society's close attentiveness to both the physical and the spiritual, the visible and the invisible realities of this life.28 By inference, attentiveness means that in people's concern for and pursuit of material interests they are not oblivious of the fact that they need to have their material pursuits grounded on spiritual certitude. For instance, people carry out a system of religious rituals — such as a religious oath taking ceremony — so as to ensure an individual's commitment to a communal cause or to demonstrate one's honesty and trustworthiness.29

26Fourth, is the religious value of tolerance and an abhorrence of fanaticism. We have noted that the traditional African religious world view has an image of a Supreme God who is amenable to change and therefore is not inflexible, especially after receiving the ritual atonement and/or supplication due to him from his creatures. In addition to this flexibility, we have noted also that, although the Supreme Deity is the 'boss' of the entire universe, he is however conceived to be tolerant of the power exercised by the deities which exist with him in the spiritual realm. Thus, the Supreme God in the African religious world view is conceived to be as accommodating of other powers as he is ecumenical.

  • 30 . Y. Turaki, The institutionalization of the inferior status and socio-political role of the non-Mu (...)

27It is this religious belief in the ecumenical character of God, together with his flexibility, that helps us make sense of the welcoming and accommodating character — a spirit of unity in diversity — prevalent in Africa's traditional religion. The imperative is traditional Africa's commitment to the philosophy of tolerance — a live and let live principle. This is epitomized in the Igbo proverb: Egbe bere ugo here; nke si ibe ya ebela, nku kwaa ya (may the eagle and the kite perch; let the one who denies the other the right to perch have its wings dislocated). It is not unusual, therefore, to find members of one family living in peace and unity despite their belonging to different religious faiths. Hence, Turaki rightly argued, ‘the ready acceptance of Western civilization, Christianity,... and Islamic influences proves the fact that the [traditional Nigerian religious world view] was accommodative to others and should not be viewed as primitive or inferior.’30

28As a matter of fact, it is worth noting that people in Africa were not involved in religious conflicts until the intrusion by the Islamic and Christian religions, each claiming to possess the only true god and, consequently, each less than tolerant of other religious world views. With hindsight, especially in view of Africa's contemporary state, it could be argued that it is Africa's welcoming character that spelt and continues to spell, its doom. The validity of this assertion becomes clearer in the next chapter which discusses the foreign intrusions into Nigerian space and the impact they have had on the people.

Foreign Intrusions

The arrival of Islam

  • 31 . J.S. Trimingham, The Christian Church and Islam in West Africa (London: SCM Press Ltd., 1956), p. (...)
  • 32 . M.A. Al-Hajj, The meaning of the Sokoto Jihad, In: Studies in the History of the Sokoto Caliphate (...)
  • 33 . R. Olaniyan, Islamic penetration of Africa, In: R. Olaniyan, (ed.), op. cit., p. 42.
  • 34 . J. Trimingham, op. cit., p. 11.
  • 35 . R. Olaniyan (ed.), op. cit., p. 42.

29Coming through the Islamic North African countries, Islam arrived in Nigeria sometime between 1000 A.D. and 1100 A.D. Its progress, similar to that in the rest of West Africa, may have been very slow.31 With time, however, this religion became spread to most of present day northern Nigeria, including its administrative institutions.32 But as widespread as the religion appeared to be in those areas, the generality of the people did not rush to renounce their traditional religion.33 Trimingham made similar observations while speaking in the context of West Africa.34 People kept their traditional religion while, for pragmatic reasons, they accepted Islam in their concern for ‘peaceful coexistence' and 'assured social harmony’ with the conquerors.35

  • 36 . For details see M.A. Al-Hajj, op. cit.; Yusufu Abba, The 1804 jihad in Hausaland as a revolution, (...)

30Islam's most rapid and extensive advance in Nigeria was from 1804 to 1810. This was the period of the jihad (holy war) when Shaikh Uthman dan Fodio and his followers unleashed a reform movement aimed at bringing the State and its populace to the purity of Islamic religiosity in accordance with the Qadiriyya version of the Muslim faith. Dan Fodio's message coincided with the people's lived experience of oppression, exploitation, and injustice at the hands of the ruling Hausa families of the time. Most of these had removed themselves far from the religious, political, and socio-economic imperatives of the Islamic faith they claimed to believe in.36

31In a matter of six years, the movement was victorious over a very large territory constituting most of what is now known as Northern Nigeria and parts of Niger Republic, the Cameroun, and Burkina Faso. This is not to say, however, that the jihad's territorial success was absolute. The contrary is the case. For instance, the Maguzawa, a large Hausa community which was faithful to its traditional religion, successfully resisted the jihad. The bid to conquer the Kanem-Borno empire and thus bring it into line with the jihadists' vision of Islam met a similar result. In addition, the movement's drive to the South was halted around the outskirts of Ilorin and never reached the south-eastern parts of the country. Furthermore, even the jihadists' victory over the Middle Belt areas of the country was partial at best, and these areas have continued to resist, to the present day, whatever their victors stood for.

  • 37 . See, for details, M.A. Al-Hajj, op. cit., p. 16.
  • 38 . See the entire collection in Y.B. Usman (ed.), op. cit.; Y. Turaki, op. cit.; H.A. Adamu, The Nor (...)
  • 39 . See ibid., especially Turaki, Usman, Okonjo, and. Adamu, for their various responses to the quest (...)

32With victory, and in light of the religious objective that necessitated the jihad, it was only to be expected that Uthman dan Fodio would impose on the conquered societies an administration in consonance with his vision of Islam. This he did. With Sokoto as his capital and the Hausa language as the lingua franca, Dan Fodio, and more especially his children, firmly imposed on the conquered territories an Islamic theocratic state and the application of the Shari'a law in all its ramifications.37 As for the socio-political relations that followed the jihad victory, a number of works have, together, provided enough detail to warrant no repetition.38 However, what is of interest here is the extent to which the new order, in practice, maintained the ideals for which the jihad movement was launched, especially regarding social justice. The question is still under debate.39 One thing that can be said with certainty is that after the death of Dan Fodio, whatever ideals for which the jihad was fought began to lose their intensity.

  • 40 . See P.E. Lovejoy (ed.), The Ideology of Slavery in Africa (London: Sage Publications, 1981).
  • 41 . Here we question the weakness of Yusuf Abba's defence of the Fulani ruling class. He vigorously a (...)
  • 42 . For a detailed account of the history, beliefs, and practices of this group, see Ian Linden, The (...)

33By the turn of the 20th century there was a climate of corruption that had eroded the legitimacy of the late 19th century leaders of the emirate North (see figure 4) — a point which P.E. Lovejoy and his colleagues have highlighted in writing on slavery in Africa.40 The pursuit of their leaders' economic and political interests had led to systematic policies of slavery, compulsory labour, hereditary succession of emirate thrones,41 and high and unjust taxation. Anyone who resisted was summarily killed. Undoubtedly, this scenario was indicative of how disillusioned the masses of the people were over a failed liberation from the pre-jihad state of injustice and oppression which had caused many to join the jihad. The common people's restive reaction against this unjust state of affairs in the emirates is perhaps best reflected in the emergence, beliefs, and practices of the Isawa, or ‘the Children of the Israelites’. This was a Muslim group which emerged about the mid-19th century and was linked to the Ningi (town) polity, the most prominent haven for those opposed to the Islamic emirate leadership of the time.42Given this scenario, Hausaland was fertile for any redemptive message.

The arrival of Christianity

  • 43 . J.F.A. Ajayi, Christian Missions in Nigeria, 1841-1891: The making of a new elite (Evanston: Nort (...)

34Ajayi and Ayandele in their classic works43 give detailed accounts of the earliest effective and enduring Christian missionary penetration into Nigeria. Both authors trace these earliest beginnings to about the mid-nineteenth century and to the town of Badagry. While Ajayi focused on the Christian origin of the first group of Nigerian elite, Ayandele focused on the country's political and social modernization. Here, credit is due to the Christian zeal of the liberated Africans, former slaves, who had been christianized during their stay in Europe. With the abolition of slavery in 1833 many of them headed for Africa. Most of these former slaves settled in Sierra Leone where there was already a settlement of ex-slaves who had been liberated from slave ships. Those who could trace their roots in Nigeria emigrated back to their homeland, and Sierra Leone became the ‘nursery’ for missionary penetration into Nigeria.

  • 44 . See E.P.T. Crampton, Christianity in Northern Nigeria (Zaria: Gaskiya Corporation, 1975); and F.K (...)
  • 45 . R. Hickey, A History of the Catholic Church in Northern Nigeria (Jos: Augustinian Publications, 1 (...)
  • 46 . Raymond Hickey, op. cit. pp. 9-13.

35Two other important writers on early missionary activity were Crampton and Ekechi.44 Crampton concentrated on Christianity in the North; Ekechi looked at the activities of the Christian missionaries in the south-east. Other authors,45 writing from the point of view of Roman Catholicism, provided further detail about this most successful single Christian mission in Nigeria. In this connection, it was possible to highlight the fact that the earliest attempts to establish Christianity in Nigeria were by the Roman Catholic missionaries from Portugal, Italy, and Belgium. While the Portuguese operated in the Delta areas in the South between the 15th and 16th centuries, the latter two groups worked around the areas of Kano, Katsina, and Borno in northern Nigeria between the 17th and 18th centuries.46 But for these earliest attempts, none of which was successful, not much was known of Christian missions until about the middle of the nineteenth century.

  • 47 . This assertion is moderated by an acknowledgement of the dualistic role colonialism played in Nor (...)

36All we can say with absolute certainty is that it was not until the first decade of the 20th century that the Christian religion successfully penetrated the entire South of the country and also reached the Islamic North. In fact, it was the intrusion of colonialism and the restrictive policies imposed on Christian missions in Northern Nigeria47 by the generally anti-Christian colonial administrators, that halted the missions in their campaign to christianize the entire country.

The colonial intrusion

37Modern Nigeria was created by the installation of a British colonial administration in the country. One aspect of this process which is relevant to our interests is the colonial state's attitude to the religions it found in Nigeria.

  • 48 . F.L. Baumer, Modem European Thought: Continuity and change in ideas, 1600-1950 (New York: Macmill (...)

38Both the colonialists and the Christian missionaries were products of the New Enlightenment Age characterized by a belief in progress. This explains the Christian missionaries' commitment to the material, moral, and political advancement of so-called unenlightened or uncivilized peoples. By the mid-19th century, the New Enlightenment Age had spawned the evolutionary world of Darwinism, so much so that, towards the turn of the century, the idea of evolution in its various forms had claimed dominance over European thought. The idea informed a racialist gradation of races. Social historians like F.L. Baumer described the race gradation of the period as meaning that the ‘“best endowed” obviously meant Homo Europaeus, who were at that time carving out empires all over the world.’48

  • 49 . See G.T. Goldie, The future of Nigeria, The Independent, May 5, 1899, as quoted by E.A. Ayandele, (...)
  • 50 . ibid., p. 198.
  • 51 . The import of this assertion can be appreciated when one recalls that Lugard's path to greatness (...)

39The British colonialists in Nigeria shared in the beliefs of the Darwinian World. Evidence for this assertion can be discerned from the idyllic picture of Nigerian people painted by early imperialists like Sir George Goldie and Lady Lugard (nee Flora Shaw),49 both of whom had a great impact on the life and thinking of Nigeria's foremost colonialist, Lord Lugard.50 He perceived the North, in contrast to the South, as the location of the finer races, from which the lighter-skinned Fulani race was specifically chosen, not only as superior to other ethnic groups, but also as having the right of leadership in Nigeria. Islam, the religion of the so-called finer race (the Hausa-Fulani), was a better form of paganism than the fetishism of the savage South.51

  • 52 . Lady Lugard, op. cit., pp. 316-321.

40Whatever may have been the other reasons for this choice, it can be understood in part within the context of the colonial ideological policy to create the local basis of state power in Nigeria. It was a policy maintained on the assumption that a conjectured light-skinned race, who unfortunately got themselves mixed up by marriage with the darker races, were the country's natural rulers.52 Accordingly, the colonial task was, on the one hand, to enhance the natural right of rulers hip of these higher races, and through them, on the other hand, to move Nigeria into the highest level of civilization, the British mould of the international capitalist economy. Herein lies the foundation policy of 'Indirect Rule'. According to its mentor, Lord Lugard, it means, among other things:

  • 53 . Lord Lugard, Political Memoranda: Revision of instructions to political officers on subjects chie (...)

To rule indirectly through the Native Chiefs, and in the North to maintain, strengthen, and educate the Fulani and Kanembu ruling races, so that the regeneration of Nigeria may be through its own governing class and its own indigenous institutions.53

  • 54 . See the Methodist Mission Archives, Report of the Committee for the Consideration of Establishing (...)
  • 55 . Lady Lugard, op. cit., pp. 316-321.
  • 56 . Cf. T.F. Buxton, The African Slave Trade and its Remedy, as cited in J.F.A. Ajayi, Christian Miss (...)

41Christian missions could live with the hierarchical conceptualization of religion noted above, given that many missionaries shared a perception of Nigerian people similar to the racialist gradation of races held by the colonialists.54 Thus it could be inferred that Christianity, the religion of the finest race (the Europeans), was superior to both Islam and paganism.55 In any case, the South, by and large, has been brought into Christian religious hegemony. With the successful opening of the Niger as a highway to the interior where the finer race was located, and with the subsequent subjugation of and mastery over this race in 1903, what was of utmost interest to the Christian missions was to dislodge Islam in the North so as to unify the entire country in the Christian faith. If this so-called finer race and the natural rulers of the country could be christianized, the Christian missions reasoned, then the purer European civilization would have been implanted on surer ground. From the time the British flag was hoisted in Badagry in 1842, and following largely the spirit of T.F. Buxton's ‘remedy’,56 the British Government, Christian missionaries, and those in commerce generally were working together in the civilizing mission to Nigeria.

  • 57 . For a detailed presentation and analysis of these realities see E.A. Ayandele, op. cit., pp. 117- (...)

42But realities, most of which will become clear later in our study, easily subverted this joint effort.57 The colonial state, supported by many Europeans engaged in commerce, opted to work with and through the local rulers rather than the Christian missions. Hence, from about 1904 in the North, and extending to the entire country throughout the colonial period, official colonial policy was geared towards strengthening the power and prestige of traditional rulers, be they emirs, obas, chiefs, district or village heads. The Christian missionaries took offence at this development, mainly because it impinged on their capacity to preach the gospel without any restriction. This new development, by implication, encompassed a delineation of the country into zones of influence, namely, the Islamic North and the Christian South, with little or no contact between them. What became even more offensive to the missionaries was that there were many Europeans, especially within the ranks of the colonial administration, who would have preferred to see a Nigeria without indigenous Christians.

  • 58 . Note that Lady Lugard's Tropical Dependency was written as early as 1906.

43Two streams of thought embodied the view just noted. Both were reflections of the emerging spirit of tolerance in the Britain of the period. This spirit was based on the rejection of the belief that Christianity had, and must give, all the answers to anything and everything, and that loyalty to Pax Britannica was possible only if one-were a Christian. The contrary was increasingly becoming the case, thanks to the writings and experiences of seasoned adventurers like Lady Lugard.58 Thus, representing one stream of this spirit of tolerance, Major A.G. Leonard, a colonial official with over ten years of service in southern Nigeria, could declare:

  • 59 . Cf. West African Mail, March 28, 1907.

[The British] have strayed like lost sheep... In this way we have subverted the entire order of natural routine and evolution into a revolution of blind emotions. Thus it is that we have treated the natives as savages incapable of good until converted into Christians.59

  • 60 . E.P.T. Crampton, Christianity in Northern Nigeria (Zaria: Gaskiya Corporation, 1975), pp. 50-51.
  • 61 . E.A. Ayandele, op. cit., p. 128.
  • 62 . ibid., p. 142.

44Leonard's advocacy implied that the natives were good by nature and so, by inference, was their indigenous religion too. Another representation of this new spirit of tolerance was advanced by those Europeans who believed that the natives should be converted only to Islam. This was believed to be more suitable for them than Christianity, membership of which must be reserved exclusively for Europeans.60 In the light of the preceding views, it would appear that many of the Europeans in the country, their Christian background notwithstanding, were merely nominal Christians. For instance, Lugard ‘was not a Christian or a churchman’61 even though he was the son of a clergyman and rightly claimed to be the representative of the ‘Most Christian Nation’ in the world of his time.62

45The preference of Islam to Christianity by Lugard and his colleagues hinged more on their perception of the colonial mandate than on their religious persuasion. Lugard was quite honest and unequivocal about this. In reiterating the colonial State's intent and purpose for colonialism in Nigeria he stated:

  • 63 . Lord Lugard, The Dual Mandate, p. 617.

Let it be admitted at the outset that European brains, capital, and energy have not been, and never will be, expended in developing the resources of Africa from motives of pure philanthropy; that Europe is in Africa for the mutual benefit of her own industrial classes and of the native races in their progress to a higher plane... and that it is the aim and desire of civilised administration to fulfill this dual mandate.63

46The Christian missions, on their part, supported colonialism but with a mandate quite at variance with those of the colonial state. For them, the colonial project was understood to have been founded on a spiritual or divine mandate. Thus, as Boer has so aptly summarized:

  • 64 . J.H. Boer, Christianity and Islam Under Colonialism in Northern Nigeria (Jos: Institute of Church (...)

Colonialism is a form of imperialism based on a divine mandate and designed to bring liberation — spiritual, cultural, economic and political — by sharing the blessings of the Christ-inspired civilization of the West with a people suffering under satanic forces of oppression, ignorance, and disease, effected by a combination of political, economic, and religious forces that cooperate under a regime seeking the benefit of both ruler and ruled.64

47Nowhere was the clash between these diametrically opposed colonial values or mandates better demonstrated than in the area of education.

The colonial beginnings, the politicization of religion

  • 65 . Compare Lord Lugard's view on education and society in his books, The Dual Mandate, pp. 425-426, (...)
  • 66 . We take note of M.M. Tukur's very strong argument against the general interpretation that it was (...)
  • 67 . Lord Lugard, Political Memoranda, p. 136.

48The causal relationship between the colonial mind-set and Darwinism is akin to Plato's philosophy of education and statecraft. For instance, just as Plato calls for a class-based education for a class-structured society where individuals must aspire to remain in their prescribed class, the educational policy of the colonial state was similarly structured and intended.65 Thus, it would be incorrect to say that the colonial state was against education per se.66 Rather, it was against any form of education, Christian and Muslim alike, not geared towards the realization of the colonial state's agenda. Hence, the colonial state neither destroyed nor developed the Islamic education system, though it appropriated the cultural and socio-political ethos of the Islamic faith it met in Nigeria to serve its interests. Similarly, the colonial state neither destroyed the Christian missions in Nigeria nor spared them from restrictions even though the State, to sustain itself, relied heavily on the services of the products of Christian education system. In place of both the Islamic and the Christian education systems, the colonial state initiated a secularized system of education. It was secularized mainly because religion was made an appendage — something merely recognized ‘somewhat tardily’ — rather than the hub of the colonial state's education policy.67

49Measured by the yardstick of the colonial state's policy, the Christian missions were subversive, especially with regard to the foundation on which colonialism was built. It must not be forgotten that ever since Christianity made its most effective presence in Nigeria, its adherents had nursed the hope of becoming catalysts for change. In effect, Christian mission centers became breeding grounds for nationalistic sentiments within and even beyond the confines of the churches. Christian-educated Nigerians like James Johnson and Mojola Agbebi emerged, whose religious nationalism became a scourge and a judgment against both European missionaries and the colonial state.

  • 68 . E.A. Ayandele, op. cit., p. 250.

50The rise of religious nationalism was not without cause. It was an offshoot of the racist attitude of Christian Europe towards Africans. Not even those christianized Africans who faithfully imitated the cultural traits of the white man were spared. In the case of Nigeria, non-missionary Europeans saw these white imitators as fakes and a laughing stock — a perception which was shared even by many European Christian missionaries. These opposed the indigenization of the Christian faith and clergy in Nigeria. Thus, by 1895, Ayandele tells us, Africans came to believe that the allegation of white imitation was true, and therefore they turned to their indigenous culture to establish their true identity and emancipation.68

  • 69 . ibid., pp. 175-203.
  • 70 . Lord Lugard, The Dual Mandate, pp. 78 & 429.

51The anti-European feelings of the cultural nationalists were not without some historic benefits to Nigeria at both the religious and political levels. At the religious level, cultural nationalism matured into the establishment of indigenous independent Christian Churches. These, together, have grown to be a force to reckon with in religious circles in modern Nigeria. More importantly perhaps, at the political level, were the vision and activities of the cultural nationalists that prepared the way, as Ayandele has rightly argued, for the eventual emergence of political nationalism in the 1920s.69 This was epitomized in the National Youth Movement (NYM), the radical incubator of anti-colonial nationalism in Nigeria. Lugard was alluding to this when he accused Christianity of being potentially disruptive and intolerant.70

  • 71 . J.H. Boer, Missions: Heralds of Capitalism or Christ? (Ibadan: Daystar Press, 1984).

52Thus, the Christian missions' greatest offence was not that their educational policy was unfavourable to the Government's economic interests; Christian ‘missions advocated capitalism as the economic cure for Africa.’71 Christian education was, however, fundamentally aborting the very myth on which colonialism stood; the white man's superiority. With specific reference to Nigeria, Christian education was providing, to the so-called ‘savages’, avenues through which they could possess in a short period what it took Europeans centuries to acquire. Consequently, Christian-educated individuals could now have the audacity to look the white man in the face, challenge his authority, aspire to his status, and what is more, know what the white man knows, if not even more! As Paul Staudinger, a German colonial etymologist and expeditionist, puts it:

  • 72 . P. Staudinger, In the Heart of the Hausa States, Vol. 2, trans, by J.E. Moody (Ohio: Ohio Univers (...)

The main aim [of the missions should have been] to educate people to be useful members of human society, and not... with the conceit of the black race, think themselves above the white man while in reality they are lower than the pagans as far as moral standards are concerned... To put the blackman prematurely upon the same level as the white man is nonsense and may have the direst consequences.72

53Herein lies the subterranean reason for the anti-Christian attitude among the colonial administrators, especially in northern Nigeria, and their preference of Islam to Christianity.

  • 73 . Ijomah has an excellent discussion on this matter, especially given Morel and Temple's more equit (...)
  • 74 . For instance, although the Edo (Benin) and the Kanuri peoples had historically a longer presence (...)
  • 75 . See Governor Hugh Clifford's observations on, and unsuccessful debate against, the Indirect Rule (...)

54By the time Lugard left Nigeria in 1918, the secularized educational policy of the colonial state and its antecedents, the Indirect Rule Policy and the 1914 amalgamation of Nigeria, were already firmly established. So too was the administrative division of the country into three unequal groups of Provinces. This was to the advantage of the favoured Islamic North in comparison with its Western and Eastern counterparts in the Christian South.73 Besides, in each broad group of provinces (later called regions), an ethnic group was elevated to a superior status over others on the basis of numerical strength.74 With all these arrangements in place, what was needed then was to have the entire colonial system consolidated. This was to be the task for the 1920s — a task which the colonial administrators in the North, and the retired Lugard and Vischer, now at the Colonial Office, made it their interest to watch over and to defend despite its glaring shortcomings and failures.75

  • 76 . See A.T. Balewa's confirmation of this view in Legislative Council Debates (Nigeria, March 4, 194 (...)
  • 77 . This is a corruption of the Igbo word for ‘give me water’.
  • 78 . These regional and religious rivalries, and the battle of offensive words they generated culminat (...)
  • 79 . See A.B. Fafunwa, History of Education in Nigeria (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1974), esp. pp. (...)
  • 80 . Here, we call to mind the activities of the Ahmadiyyah Movement — a Muslim group which, to its cr (...)
  • 81 . The late Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu's National Muslim League is a good example here.

55By the mid-1930s and the 1940s the colonial system had become firmly consolidated. Given the barest minimum of contact between the different parts of the country, especially between the North and the South, it was not surprising that the colonial system spawned, in the religious and socio-political life of the country, animosity, suspicion, and all sorts of divisive practices. For instance, while the Islamic North perceived the Christian South as ‘invaders’76 and inferiors and labelled them with derogatory terms such as nyamiri,77 the Christian South generally looked down on the average Northerner as unintelligent, conservative, a zombie in the hands of British colonialists, and, therefore, a clog in Nigeria's progress.78 Non-Muslims, especially those from the South, were forced to live in the segregated areas (the Sabon Gari quarters) of the northern cities. The minority ethnic and religious groups within the regions became pawns in the hands of their regional overlords. For instance, the northern indigenous Christians were perceived as traitors to the Northern system; especially their religious affinity with the Christian south which was perceived as posing a political threat to the Fulani-Islamic hegemony. Hence, in the Fulani-Islamic leadership's attempt to counter the threat, the Christians in the North, especially the northern indigenous Christians, became victims of oppression and injustice at the hands of the Islamic leadership. In the East, the animosity was based more on intra-religious differences between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism than on the nationwide demands for independent statehood by minority ethnic groups in the Regions. In the West, the Muslim minority perceived themselves to be so much discriminated against79 that, to redress the situation, they soon formed a number of Muslim-based philanthropic80 and political organizations.81 From the point of view of national politics, the colonial administration in the North, unlike that in the South, had congealed into what came to be known as the ‘Northern System’; that is, the Anglo-Hausa-Fulani Islamic hegemony. The Governor, Sir Donald Cameron (1931-1935), in the face of stiff opposition from the Northern Residents, was so unimpressed by the system that he described the Region as:

  • 82 . D.R. Boyan, Educational policy formulation in the North of Nigeria, 1900-1969, Unpublished Ph.D. (...)

... the Sacred North, a land apart, suspended in place and time... [which]... held up development in the Region and kept it in an exotic backwater, attractive to its British protectors but administratively ineffective, corrupt, and insensitive to the needs of its own peoples, especially the non-Muslims and non-northerners.82

  • 83 . See Farrant's December 16, 1929 document on Antagonising the Christian Church as cited in J.H. Bo (...)

56With the successful implantation and consolidation of the Northern System, Christian missions had to find a way to survive in a hostile environment. Part of their survival mechanism was to undertake ecumenical meetings either to counter the restrictions imposed on the missions by the Indirect Rule Policy or to seek avenues of compromise with the colonial administration. The earliest of such meetings were the 1910 and the 1913 Conferences of Missions in Northern Nigeria, both of which were held in Lokoja. Notwithstanding the great restriction imposed on the missions by the colonial State, Christian missions felt strong enough since they ‘have now occupied so much of the pagan areas’ as to believe that ‘lasting benefits accrue to a Church which grows up in opposition.’83

  • 84 . Citing C. Logams, who is a Birom, Kukah notes that rahol kannang is a Birom expression which mean (...)

57With a perceived feeling of strength, the missions decided to make forays into the political terrain. Thus at the 1948 Bukuru meeting — the Rahol Kannang Meeting84 — of Christians from various churches, the Christians formalized their ecumenical meetings into what could be described as a Northern Christian Movement. But the nomenclature was not as important as the decisions taken at this meeting. There, the Christians elected officers to ensure the execution of their resolution to begin to raise the political consciousness of their people and to mobilize them against the political challenge posed for them by the Islamic ruling class in the North.

  • 85 . O.U. Kalu, The shattered cross: the Church Union Movement in Nigeria, 1905-66, In: The History of (...)
  • 86 . For details on the CCN vis-a-vis the efforts for ‘Union Church’, see O.U. Kalu, op. cit., pp. 340 (...)

58Christian ecumenical meetings were also taking place in the South, even though the concern and objectives were rather different from those of the North. This was understandable since the imperatives of Indirect Rule on Christian missions were not as strict in the South as in the North. Hence, while on the one hand, Christians in the North were more concerned with how to survive the threats of Islamization under the guise of colonial administration; on the other hand, Christians in the South, after the initial pursuit of the ideal of ecumenism ‘on the evangelical front’ at the turn of the century, ‘shifted the ideal from mere cooperation to that of “organic unity” [of the Christian churches], possibly involving the whole nation.’85 The failure of such a Utopian adventure accounts for the formation, in the thirties, of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), a forum of largely mainstream Protestant churches. Besides being ‘an ecumenical defense mechanism’ against the more viable Roman Catholicism in Nigeria, CCN retains a desire for ‘Church Union’, one whose theoretic objective was akin to the nationalistic agenda to purge the Nigerian polity of any Euro-cultural baggage.86

59A highly respected Islamic scholar, M. Mangin, has noted the advantage which Islam enjoyed in the colonial State's administration. According to him, Lugard's 1903 promise to Sokoto Caliphate leadership was:

  • 87 . As cited in H.R. Adamu, op. cit., pp. 15-16.

... made to respect the Moslem customs and (religious] spread to all fields covered by the Koranic law, that is to say, the constitution of the Fulani theocratic institutions and civil and criminal law. The placing at the disposal of the Emirs of the resources of an ordered [colonial] State inevitably strengthened and developed all Moslem institutions in Northern Nigeria.87

  • 88 . H.R. Adamu, ibid., p. 43.

60With this obvious advantage which the Hausa-Fulani Islamic leadership in the North enjoyed from the colonial State, in comparison with the inferior status to which Christian missions were relegated, one would expect that the Islamic leadership would have used its position of power within the Northern system to oppose the secularized education advanced by the colonial State or to even make the effort to organize, modernize, and improve its Koranic schools in the face of new challenges. None of these happened. The failure occurred, not necessarily because, as we are told, Muslims were culturally resistant to change, or because of the close identification of Western education with Christianity, or the existence of the grassroots traditional educational system (the Koranic school), or the lukewarm support for education in the Caliphate on the part of the Colonial State.88 As valid as these reasons may appear to be, they mask more than they reveal. We are inclined to believe that it is probably because the ruling class in the Caliphate and emirates had become so comfortable in the exalted position granted it by the colonial state that it trusted the colonial administrators and, in fact, accepted, or at least tolerated, their claim to racial superiority and the Utopian character of their educational policy in Nigeria.

  • 89 . G.N. Barclay, Yola Provincial Report No. 9 for July, 1902, Yolaprof Al, NAK.
  • 90 . As of 1950, he was editor of the powerful Hausa-language newspaper, Gaskiya ta fi Kwabo, a major (...)
  • 91 . Nigerian Citizen, July 1, 1949 (author's emphasis).
  • 92 . H.R. Adamu, op. cit., p. 50.

61For instance, as early as July 1902, even long before the institutionalization of the Indirect Rule Policy, the Qadi of Yola Emirate acquiesced in this British claim to racial superiority on the ground that ‘whatever the Government chose to do was good and [therefore] he would cooperate to the best of his ability.’89 This option remained a viable one for the average member of the Islamic ruling class even after many years of colonial experience — an option which Abubakar Iman, an influential member of the class,90 would re-echo in 1949. While claiming to be speaking for the common people of the Region, he unequivocally wrote: To tell you the plain truth, the common people of the North put more confidence in tbe whiteman than in either [of] their black southern brothers.’91 All this goes to show that the Islamic ruling class, in its preoccupation with maintaining its political power over the rest of the population — thanks to the policy of Indirect Rule — failed to see that ‘the future battle of leadership of Nigeria was going to be fought with education... [and that political power is fragile if its foundation is] without a comparable effort at mobilising the population for educational advancement.’92

62By the 1940s, the southern-educated elite had advanced so far due to their education, that they were able to reap the fruits of the 1951 ‘Nigerianization Policy’ — thanks to the efforts of the Christian missionaries in the early years of Nigerian history. In the North, because of the strict application of the policy of Indirect Rule by the colonial administration, Christian missionaries had to concentrate their activities in the non-Muslim areas, even though they were determined to extend similar activities to the Muslim areas whenever the opportunity presented itself. As far as the missionaries were concerned, the entire North had become, more or less, a battleground for souls between Islam and Christianity.

  • 93 . E.P.T. Crampton, op. cit., p. 115.
  • 94 . W. Miller, Have We Failed in Nigeria? (London: Lutherworth Press, 1947), p. 106 (author's emphasi (...)

63The standard of Christian civilization was undoubtedly a threat to the Northern Emirate and consequently the colonial interest too, given that each reinforced the other's hegemony. Three developments brought the threat of Christianity nearer home to the Islamic ruling class. First, there was the emergence of a class of educated Northerners, products of the earliest successful Christian missionary efforts, not just in Hausaland itself but also in the entire North. These individuals were described as ‘a most respected group in the North [with] many positions of responsibility.’93 It included people like Dr. R.A.B. Dikko, the first medical doctor from the North, and Dr. Ishaya Audu, the first Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, the first and most renowned university in northern Nigeria. Miller must have been prophetic when he predicted ‘the time not far from hence, when educated christianized [Nigerians] will lead the way... and even encircle the more obstinate and conservative Muslim emirates.’94

  • 95 . A. Feinstein, African Revolutionary: The life and times of Nigeria's Aminu Kano (Enugu: Fourth Di (...)
  • 96 . M.H. Kukah, op. cit., p. 17.

64The second development was the emergence, in the forties, of anti-authority politics in the North. It was led by those who had passed through the colonial education system and were in touch with the radical politics in the South. One of these was Sa'adu Zungur, the father of radical politics in Northern Nigeria. While a student at the historic Yaba College of Technology in the South, he got involved with the anti-colonial nationalism of the National Youth Movement (NYM). Back in the North, Zungur and others initiated the ‘political discussion circles’ found in many northern Nigerian cities. These discussion circles gave birth to radical and militant northern political activists like Aminu Kano, Abubakar Zukogi, and Ma lam Lawan' Danbazzau. These groups organized themselves into the first real political party in the North, the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), among whose membership were the commoners, the talakawa. As a party of those whose slogan is ‘We don't agree’95 it was not surprising that these northern political activists became audacious enough to denounce the emirates as bastions of injustice. The threat posed by these activists is better appreciated when one recalls that, in the pre-colonial North, commoners dared not attack the members of the ruling class directly or show disrespect for authority. Moreover, in the traditional Islamic North, the holding of traditional office or title was the core of power and authority, and was kept within the exclusive domain of ‘those born to rule’, who, at their discretion, would ‘coopt others of lower status into the orbit of the ruling class.’96

  • 97 . Granted that this assertion is found neither in the Koran nor in the Prophet Muhammad's sayings, (...)
  • 98 . See Crampton, op. cit., pp. 177-178.

65The third development that clearly aroused- the fear of the ruling class was the emergence of political ambition among the indigenous Northern Christians. Incidentally, about the same time as the members of NEPU were denouncing the ruling class, Dr. R.A.B. Dikko, a Fulani Christian, had founded a political organization, Jamiyar Mutanen Arewa (Association of Northern People, JMA). It was bad enough that Muslim commoners nursed political ambition; what was even worse was that Christians living in an Islamic society revealed similar ambition, given the Islamic abhorrence of non-Muslim rulership over Muslims.97 This particular development was perhaps most worrisome to the Islamic ruling class, especially when one recalls that by this time, in the North, the numerical strength of indigenous Northern Christians was growing rather than decreasing. Compared with the 1921 census figure, which showed Ilorin Province as the only province in the North where more than one percent of the people were Christian, the 1953 census figures indicated a 2.7 per cent increase in the Christian population in the North, despite all the restrictions imposed on Christian missions by the Northern System.98

  • 99 . Ahmadu Bello, TheSardauna of Sokoto: My life (London: Cambridge University Press, 1962), p. 66.
  • 100 . Gaskiya ta fi Kwabo, February 18, 1950, as cited in F.A.O. Schwartz, Nigeria: The tribes, the nat (...)
  • 101 . B.J. Dudley, Parties and Politics in Northern Nigeria (London: Frank Cass, 1968), p. 74.

66Concerned about these developments, especially in the light of the Christian character they had assumed, the Islamic ruling class determined to counter them, or, to put it in the words of its foremost politician, Ahmadu Bello, after his 1949 visit to Lagos, ‘to take politics seriously.’99 A two-pronged strategy was adopted. First, the ruling class had to project a credible image of itself to the people. To do so, the blame for the backwardness of the North was shifted from the British to the Christian Southerners, especially those domiciled in the North. As Abubakar Iman put it: ‘There are Europeans but, undoubtedly, it is the Southerners who have the power in the North.’100 For the ruling class to state otherwise — that is, to blame the British — would have implicated the members of the Islamic ruling class, who were the obvious beneficiaries of the Northern System.101

  • 102 . Besides the alliance which NEPU had with the NCNC — a southern political party — at the time, the (...)
  • 103 . B.P. Tanko, op. cit., p. 114.
  • 104 . C.F. Mallam, L. Danbazzu's argument that the British colonialists created NPC, Nigerian Standard, (...)

67The second strategy was to dislodge the NEPU politicians as well as stifle whatever political ambition the Christians might have. This strategy was carried out on two levels — religious and political. The religious level involved a depiction of the NEPU politicians as hypocritical Muslims in so far as they fraternized with unbelievers and innovators and sought worldly benefits from them.102 The political level involved a portrayal of the Christians as unbelievers (Kaftrai) who, in the specific situation of the Islamic North, were ‘southerners’ at heart but dressed in northern ‘sheep's clothing.’103 In this connection, the Islamic ruling class, aided by the British colonial officers, hijacked Dikko's political organization and transformed it into a political party, the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC).104

  • 105 . The import of the Sultan's status in the NPC is realized when one recalls that there is no dichot (...)

68This move was necessary lest Dikko, being a Christian, were to translate his political ambition into something un-Islamic, or abortive of the Anglo-Hausa-Fulani hegemony. Under the full control of the Islamic ruling class, the NPC had to be transformed into a religious party, at least covertly. Dikko, the founder of the party, was marginalized. The Sultan of Sokoto, the grand patron and religious leader of Nigerian Muslims, also became the patron of the NPC.105 Its leadership went to Ahmadu Bello, a product of the colonial state's school system and — it must not be forgotten — a descendant of Uthman dan Fodio, the leader of the Islamic jihad of 1804 and founder of the Sokoto Caliphate.

  • 106 . Here we call to mind the formation of political parties like the Non-Muslim League (NML) which, o (...)
  • 107 . Compare Abubakar Tafawa Balewa's 1947 statement about the northern politicians' intention to cont (...)
  • 108 . B.P. Tanko, op. cit., p. 114.

69With the NPC fully under the control of the Islamic ruling class, the next task — for most of the 1950s — was to consolidate the party for national politics and move towards capturing power at the center. Meanwhile, the party was confronted with challenges arising not only from the encroachment into Northern space by the Southern-based political parties, but also from political assertiveness by the highly politicized non-Muslim indigenous communities in the North.106 On the advice of Sharwood Smith, the incumbent Governor of the North in the 1950s, the party had to assume an ecumenical face not only for it to live up to its motto of ‘One North, One People’ but, more importantly, for it to achieve its national objective. The party stalwarts had to tone down their political rhetoric107 and use Government resources to win over representatives of the various ethnic and religious groups in the North who were prepared to work under the Islamic character and leadership of the party. Thus, indigenous Northern Christians like George Ohikere, Michael Audu Buba, Reverend David Lot, Jolly Tanko Yusuf, Peter Achimugu and others were brought into the NPC fold.108 Soon the party became the major political nursery for most of the northern Nigerian elites.

70The colonial state had to groom these elites to champion the cause of its Northern System, and, it hoped, to model independent Nigeria accordingly. By 1958, two years prior to the country's independence, the ‘system’ was still

  • 109 . Colonial Office, Nigeria, Report of the Commission Appointed to Enquire into the Fears of Minorit (...)

... behind the protective wall of the Colonial Government as an Islamic society, singularly unaffected by change in the rest of the world; (where] Islamic law of the Maliki school is administered, purdah is observed by women and Western innovations are in some quarters regarded with disfavour.109

71That the NPC was able to assume the leadership of the country's first post-colonial government demonstrated quite clearly the ingenuity of the Anglo-Hausa-Fulani hegemony. Meanwhile the stage was set, and the signal given, for the politicization of religion in post-colonial Nigeria.

Notes

1 . For a richer account of the creation of modern Nigeria, see works by scholars such as K.O. Dike, Trade and Politics in the Niger Delta, 1830-1835: An introduction to the economic and political history of Nigeria (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959); A.E. Afigbo, The Warrant Chiefs: Indirect rule in southern Nigeria, 1891-1929 (London: Longman, 1972), esp. pp. 1-77; and O. Ikime (ed.), Groundwork of Nigerian History (Ibadan: Heinemann, 1980).

2 . Okoi Arikpo, The Development of Modem Nigeria (Middlesex, England: Penguin, 1967), p. 25.

3 . Bashir lkara, Welcome Address at the Meeting of Chief Executives of Culture in Nigeria at the Hamdala Hotel, Kaduna, March 25, 1981, p. 4.

4 . Ogbu U. Kalu, Religions in Nigeria: An overview, In: JA. Atanda et at. (eds.), Nigeria Since Independence: The first twenty-five years, Vol. IX (Ibadan: Heinemann, 1989), p. 11.

5 . Byang H. Kato, African Cultural Revolution and the Christian Faith (Jos: Baraka Press, 1976), pp. 13-31.

6 .ibid., pp. 5-7.

7 . ibid., pp. 13-31.

8 . ibid., p. 10.

9 . We say this with a note of caution. This is because there appears to be no generally accepted key concept for an understanding of the Nigerian traditional social system. For J.F.A. Ajayi and G.J.A. Ojo the key concept is the family — see J.F.A. Ajayi, Factors in the evolution of political culture in Nigeria, In: Evolution of Political Culture in Nigeria, J.F.A. Ajayi & B. Ikara, eds. (Ibadan: University Press, 1985), p. 11; and G.J.A. Ojo, Yoruba Culture (London: University of London Press, 1966), p. 56. For Nnoli and Afolayan, however, the key concept is language — see O. Nnoli, Ethnic Politics in Nigeria (Enugu: Fourth Dimension, 1978), p. 127; and A. Afolayan, African languages and literature in today's world, In: African History and Culture, R. Olaniyan (ed.) (Lagos: Longman, 1982), pp. 174-175 — while for others it is 'the corporate group'— see J. Solanke, Traditional social political institutions, In: R. Olaniyan (ed.), op. cit., p. 27.

10 . Nowhere, perhaps, is this point better concretized than in the case of the Hausa language which, with time, has acquired not only the status of a leading unifying tool in the interaction between the Hausa states and their neighbours in Nigeria, but also of becoming a major instrument of communication in most of the West African countries. This is so much so that ever since the victory of the Fulani-led Islamic Jihad over Hausaland the language has been adopted, for pragmatic political expediency, as the lingua franca of the Fulani-led Islamic states of northern Nigeria. See O.I. Temple & C.L. Temple (eds.), Notes on the Tribes, Provinces, Emirates and States of the Northern Provinces of Nigeria, 2nd Edition, (London: 1965), p. 406, and Mahdi Adamu, The Hausa Factor in West African History (Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University Press, 1978), p. 2. Today, the Hausa language is perceived in Nigeria as synonymous with the north of the River Niger, although that perception is wrong.

11 . Michael Crowder, The Story of Nigeria, London, p. 23.

12 . O. Nnoli, op. cit., pp. 130-131.

13 . M.J.C. Echeruo, 1979 Ahiajoku Lecture (Owerri, Nigeria: Cultural Division, Ministry of Information, Culture, Youths & Sports, 1979), pp. 22 & 24.

14 . O. Nnoli, op. cit., p. 133.

15 . ibid.

16 . ibid.

17 . J.S. Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy'(London: Heinemann, 1969), p. 15.

18 . Here one cites works like Emile Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, trans, by Joseph Ward Swain (New York: The Free Press, 1965), pp. 52-53; Mircea Eliade's The Sacred and the Profane, trans, by Willard R. Trask (New York: Harcourt, Bace and World, 1959).

19 . G.T. Basden, Among the Ibos of Nigeria (London: Frank Cass, 1927), p. 214.

20 . M.J.C. Echeruo, op. cit., p. 20.

21 . John S. Mbiti, op. cit., p. 9.

22 . M.J. Echeruo, op. cit., pp. 18-19.

23 . The membership of this class includes medicine men and women, wizards and witches, sorcerers, rainmakers, diviners, magicians, palm readers, etc.

24 . G.T. Basden, op. cit., p. 214.

25 . This may be defined as a special kind of reciprocal friendly relationship between two partners in which the one with a higher status and power (the patron) uses his or her position to ensure provision for the protection and needs of the partner with a lower status (the client) who, for her or his own part, reciprocates by guaranteeing support and assistance for the patron.

26 . Richard A. Joseph, Class, state, and prebendal politics in Nigeria, The Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, Vol. XXI, No.3 (November 1983), p. 28.

27 . J.F.A. Ajayi and B. Ikara (eds.), op. cit., p. 12.

28 . See Richard Olaniyan, African history and culture: An overview, In: R. Olaniyan (ed.), op. cit., p. 9.

29 . R.L. Sklar tells us how Dr. K.O. Mbadiwe was accused by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of having participated in a plot to kill him. To re-establish their trust in each other, the two men, with all their education and political prominence, agreed to have their village relatives arrange a traditional religious oath-taking ritual between the two of them. Mbadiwe's last minute refusal to go along with the arrangement made Azikiwe place him in perpetual suspicion as one never to be trusted, declaring: ‘I shall forever be suspicious of him.’ See Sklar's Nigerian Political Parties: Power in an emergent African nation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963) pp. 222-223-

30 . Y. Turaki, The institutionalization of the inferior status and socio-political role of the non-Muslim groups in the colonial hierarchical structure of the Northern Region of Nigeria, Ph.D. thesis, Boston University, p. 51.

31 . J.S. Trimingham, The Christian Church and Islam in West Africa (London: SCM Press Ltd., 1956), p. 9.

32 . M.A. Al-Hajj, The meaning of the Sokoto Jihad, In: Studies in the History of the Sokoto Caliphate: The Sokoto seminar papers, Y.B. Usman (ed.), (Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University, 1979), p. 7.

33 . R. Olaniyan, Islamic penetration of Africa, In: R. Olaniyan, (ed.), op. cit., p. 42.

34 . J. Trimingham, op. cit., p. 11.

35 . R. Olaniyan (ed.), op. cit., p. 42.

36 . For details see M.A. Al-Hajj, op. cit.; Yusufu Abba, The 1804 jihad in Hausaland as a revolution, In: Y.B. Usman (ed.), op. cit., pp. 20-33; H.A.S. Johnston, The Fulani Empire of Sokoto (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 1-17.

37 . See, for details, M.A. Al-Hajj, op. cit., p. 16.

38 . See the entire collection in Y.B. Usman (ed.), op. cit.; Y. Turaki, op. cit.; H.A. Adamu, The North and Nigerian Unity: Some reflections on the political, social and educational problems of northern Nigeria (Lagos: Daily Times Press, 1973), esp. pp. 7-14; M.G. Smith, The Affairs of Daunt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), esp. pp. 143-227; M.G. Smith, Africa, Vol. 29 (1959), pp. 239-252; E.R. Yeld, British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 2 (I960); I.M. Okonjo, British Administration in Nigeria 1900-1950: A Nigerian vieuw(New York: Nok Publishers, 1974), esp. pp. 4-12.

39 . See ibid., especially Turaki, Usman, Okonjo, and. Adamu, for their various responses to the question.

40 . See P.E. Lovejoy (ed.), The Ideology of Slavery in Africa (London: Sage Publications, 1981).

41 . Here we question the weakness of Yusuf Abba's defence of the Fulani ruling class. He vigorously argued against identifying Dan Fodio's jihad with any particular ethnic group, the Fulani, to be more specific. See Y. Abba In: Y.B. Usman, op. cit. esp. pp. 25-28. However, as partially true as his argument may be — given the fact that the jihadists cut across class, family, and religious persuasion — Abba is not convincing enough. This is insofar as he does not provide us with the rationale for the continued domination of the Caliphate and emirate thrones by Fulani blood ever since the time of Dan Fodio, himself a Fulani.

42 . For a detailed account of the history, beliefs, and practices of this group, see Ian Linden, The children of the Israelites in northern Nigeria: Islam and change in Nigeria, 1850-1918. Seminar paper on religion and change in African societies, April 27-28, 1979 at the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, pp. 1-22.

43 . J.F.A. Ajayi, Christian Missions in Nigeria, 1841-1891: The making of a new elite (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1965); E. Ayandele, The Missionary Impact on Modem Nigeria, 1842-1914: A political and social analysis (New York: Humanities Press, 1967).

44 . See E.P.T. Crampton, Christianity in Northern Nigeria (Zaria: Gaskiya Corporation, 1975); and F.K. Ekechi, Missionary Enterprise and Rivalry in lgboland, 1857-1914 (London: Frank Cass, 1971).

45 . R. Hickey, A History of the Catholic Church in Northern Nigeria (Jos: Augustinian Publications, 1981); A.O. Makozi & A.G.J. Ojo (eds.), The History of the Catholic Church in Nigeria (Lagos: Macmillan, 1982); and The Catholic Church in Onitsha: People, places and events (1885-1985), V.A. Nwosu (ed.), (Onitsha: Etukokwu Press, 1985).

46 . Raymond Hickey, op. cit. pp. 9-13.

47 . This assertion is moderated by an acknowledgement of the dualistic role colonialism played in Northern Nigeria by way of assisting the spread of the Christian religion through colonial conquest but restricting the spread by colonial regulations in the area.

48 . F.L. Baumer, Modem European Thought: Continuity and change in ideas, 1600-1950 (New York: Macmillan, 1977), p. 351.

49 . See G.T. Goldie, The future of Nigeria, The Independent, May 5, 1899, as quoted by E.A. Ayandele, The missionary factor in northern Nigeria, 1870-1918, In: The History of Christianity in West Africa, O.U. Kalu (ed.), (London: Longman, 1980), p. 134.

50 . ibid., p. 198.

51 . The import of this assertion can be appreciated when one recalls that Lugard's path to greatness as one of Britain's foremost colonialists was set in motion by Sir George T. Goldie who, by employing him in the Royal Niger Trading Company, brought Lugard into his first contact with Nigeria. As for Flora Shaw, she, it must be recalled, gave Nigeria its name; and besides being wife and closest confidant to Lord Lugard, she was also a highly revered 'female phenomenon' within ‘the political and fashionable circles’ of her time. See Lugard's The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa (Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1965), pp. xxvii-xxviii.

52 . Lady Lugard, op. cit., pp. 316-321.

53 . Lord Lugard, Political Memoranda: Revision of instructions to political officers on subjects chiefly political and administrative (London: Frank Cass, 1970), p. 317 (author's emphasis).

54 . See the Methodist Mission Archives, Report of the Committee for the Consideration of Establishing Missions in Hausaland, February 15, 1899 as quoted by Ayandele, The Missionary Impact on Modern Nigeria, p. 124.

55 . Lady Lugard, op. cit., pp. 316-321.

56 . Cf. T.F. Buxton, The African Slave Trade and its Remedy, as cited in J.F.A. Ajayi, Christian Missions in Nigeria, pp. 10-11.

57 . For a detailed presentation and analysis of these realities see E.A. Ayandele, op. cit., pp. 117-152.

58 . Note that Lady Lugard's Tropical Dependency was written as early as 1906.

59 . Cf. West African Mail, March 28, 1907.

60 . E.P.T. Crampton, Christianity in Northern Nigeria (Zaria: Gaskiya Corporation, 1975), pp. 50-51.

61 . E.A. Ayandele, op. cit., p. 128.

62 . ibid., p. 142.

63 . Lord Lugard, The Dual Mandate, p. 617.

64 . J.H. Boer, Christianity and Islam Under Colonialism in Northern Nigeria (Jos: Institute of Church and Society, 1988), p. 7.

65 . Compare Lord Lugard's view on education and society in his books, The Dual Mandate, pp. 425-426, and Political Memoranda, pp. 130-131, with Plato's views on the same subjects, as found in Plato's Republic, G.M.A. Grube, trans., (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1974), esp. Books VI-IX, pp. 141-238.

66 . We take note of M.M. Tukur's very strong argument against the general interpretation that it was resistance from the people and the traditional authorities that caused the slow pace of the growth of Western education in northern Nigeria. For him, the blame should be placed on the British because, ‘in absolute terms and in comparison to the proliferation of such negative institutions as prisons, police, wardens, tax collectors, British performance in introducing Western education… was abysmally poor.’ See his papers, The .nature, extent and essence of British social policy in the emirates: 1900-1914 (Zaria: ABU, no date), p. 17 — an adapted version of the eleventh and last chapters of his Ph.D. thesis, The imposition of British colonial domination on the Sokoto caliphate. Bomo and neighbouring states: 1897-1914: A reinterpretation of colonial sources (Zaria: ABU, 1979).

67 . Lord Lugard, Political Memoranda, p. 136.

68 . E.A. Ayandele, op. cit., p. 250.

69 . ibid., pp. 175-203.

70 . Lord Lugard, The Dual Mandate, pp. 78 & 429.

71 . J.H. Boer, Missions: Heralds of Capitalism or Christ? (Ibadan: Daystar Press, 1984).

72 . P. Staudinger, In the Heart of the Hausa States, Vol. 2, trans, by J.E. Moody (Ohio: Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1990), pp. 118-119.

73 . Ijomah has an excellent discussion on this matter, especially given Morel and Temple's more equitable regional boundaries, which they suggested to Lugard, but were rejected. See B.I.C. Ijomah, Nationalism and socio-political integration (The Nigerian situation). Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Northwestern University, 1969, pp. 22-25.

74 . For instance, although the Edo (Benin) and the Kanuri peoples had historically a longer presence in Nigeria than their respective Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani counterparts, the Edos were put in the Western Region, under the Yoruba, and the Kanuri were put in the Northern Region, under the Hausa-Fulani.

75 . See Governor Hugh Clifford's observations on, and unsuccessful debate against, the Indirect Rule Policy in Nigeria, as aptly discussed in I.M. Okonjo, op. cit., pp. 83-124.

76 . See A.T. Balewa's confirmation of this view in Legislative Council Debates (Nigeria, March 4, 1948), p. 227.

77 . This is a corruption of the Igbo word for ‘give me water’.

78 . These regional and religious rivalries, and the battle of offensive words they generated culminated in the 1953 Kano disturbances — the first of the series of religious riots that would become, more or less, a common phenomenon from the 1980s. See Report on the Kano Disturbances, May 1953, especially p. 21.

79 . See A.B. Fafunwa, History of Education in Nigeria (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1974), esp. pp. 50-72.

80 . Here, we call to mind the activities of the Ahmadiyyah Movement — a Muslim group which, to its credit, made the first concerted effort to challenge Christian dominance of education in Nigeria, and continues its effort. For the history, doctrine and activities of this group, see H.J. Fisher, Ahmadiyyah: A study in contemporary Islam on the West African coast (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963); for specific reference to Nigeria, see pp. 91-116 & 169-184.

81 . The late Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu's National Muslim League is a good example here.

82 . D.R. Boyan, Educational policy formulation in the North of Nigeria, 1900-1969, Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, The University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1972, p. 107.

83 . See Farrant's December 16, 1929 document on Antagonising the Christian Church as cited in J.H. Boer, Missions: Heralds of capitalism or Christ? (Ibadan: Daystar Press, 1984), pp. 63-64.

84 . Citing C. Logams, who is a Birom, Kukah notes that rahol kannang is a Birom expression which means ‘the hill of secret conclusions’. He adds that the idea of secrecy regarding the meeting could have been a reflection of the fear, on the part of the participants, of possible reprisals by the Northern Islamic ruling class. See M.H. Kukah, op. cit., pp. 62 & 79.

85 . O.U. Kalu, The shattered cross: the Church Union Movement in Nigeria, 1905-66, In: The History of Christianity in West Africa, O.U. Kalu (ed.), (London: Longman, 1980), pp. 342-343.

86 . For details on the CCN vis-a-vis the efforts for ‘Union Church’, see O.U. Kalu, op. cit., pp. 340-364.

87 . As cited in H.R. Adamu, op. cit., pp. 15-16.

88 . H.R. Adamu, ibid., p. 43.

89 . G.N. Barclay, Yola Provincial Report No. 9 for July, 1902, Yolaprof Al, NAK.

90 . As of 1950, he was editor of the powerful Hausa-language newspaper, Gaskiya ta fi Kwabo, a major tool through which the Islamic ruling class reached the grassroots. In the ‘Northern System’, one does not occupy such a strategic position unless one belongs to the ruling class whose interests are served by the newspaper.

91 . Nigerian Citizen, July 1, 1949 (author's emphasis).

92 . H.R. Adamu, op. cit., p. 50.

93 . E.P.T. Crampton, op. cit., p. 115.

94 . W. Miller, Have We Failed in Nigeria? (London: Lutherworth Press, 1947), p. 106 (author's emphasis).

95 . A. Feinstein, African Revolutionary: The life and times of Nigeria's Aminu Kano (Enugu: Fourth Dimension, 1987), p. 152.

96 . M.H. Kukah, op. cit., p. 17.

97 . Granted that this assertion is found neither in the Koran nor in the Prophet Muhammad's sayings, yet its fundamental assumptions are derived from these authoritative foundations. For, it must not be forgotten that the ultimate goal of Islam was to establish peace within the territory brought under its theocratic hegemony and to expand this to the rest of the world. See Majid Khadduri, The Islamic theory of international relations and its contemporary relevance, In: Islam and International Relations, J.H. Proctor (ed.), (New York: Praeger, 1965), p. 25. To realize this goal, it is imperative that leadership of the state be shouldered by a committed Muslim. After all, we are told, ‘affiliation to Islam is often regarded as a condition for certain higher posts in the administration of the state.’ See Jan Hjarpe, The contemporary debate in the Muslim world on the definition of ‘Human Rights’, In: Islam: State and Society, K. Ferdinand and M. Mozaffari (eds.), (London: Curzon Press Ltd., 1988), p.30. Thus, Muslims perceive any attempt at leadership by a non-Muslim in an Islamic polity as a threat to the realization and/or maintenance of the Islamic theocratic objective.

98 . See Crampton, op. cit., pp. 177-178.

99 . Ahmadu Bello, TheSardauna of Sokoto: My life (London: Cambridge University Press, 1962), p. 66.

100 . Gaskiya ta fi Kwabo, February 18, 1950, as cited in F.A.O. Schwartz, Nigeria: The tribes, the nation, or the race — Politics ofindependence (Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1965), p. 71.

101 . B.J. Dudley, Parties and Politics in Northern Nigeria (London: Frank Cass, 1968), p. 74.

102 . Besides the alliance which NEPU had with the NCNC — a southern political party — at the time, the Islamic ruling class, obviously, was not oblivious of the fact that NEPUs brand of politics was traceable to Sa'idy Zungur's involvement with southern politicians during his student days in the South.

103 . B.P. Tanko, op. cit., p. 114.

104 . C.F. Mallam, L. Danbazzu's argument that the British colonialists created NPC, Nigerian Standard, November 2, 1988, pp. 5 & 7.

105 . The import of the Sultan's status in the NPC is realized when one recalls that there is no dichotomy between religion and politics in Islam. Given, in the case of Nigeria, that the person and office of the Emir or the Sultan embody the political and religious powers, it goes without saying that the NPC was a religious party. As such, and in fairness to its leaders, it had to be directed accordingly.

106 . Here we call to mind the formation of political parties like the Non-Muslim League (NML) which, on its demise, was replaced by the Middle Zone League CMZL) and later by the more effective United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC), each of which was an attempt by the non-Muslim minorities of the North to redress their long years of victimization and oppression at the hands of the Islamic ruling class.

107 . Compare Abubakar Tafawa Balewa's 1947 statement about the northern politicians' intention to continue the ‘interrupted conquest to the sea’ (see Legislative Council Debate, March 24, 1947, p. 212) with Aliyu Makaman Bida's 1952 admonition to his fellow Muslims ‘to be less quick to see in every public demonstration of the Christian faith ... a calculated attack on [Islam and] be less prone to deny the many Christian citizens of [the Northern] region the comforts of the religion which they have of their own choice embraced’ (see Nigerian Citizen, May 25,1952), or with Ahmadu Bello's 1958 emphasis that his government was for northerners, both Muslims and Christians alike, and that he favoured religious freedom — see his speech to the representatives of the Protestant missions in Jos on 22nd Nov. 1958, and the Catholic hierarchy in Kaduna, as cited in Crampton, op. cit., pp. 79-81.

108 . B.P. Tanko, op. cit., p. 114.

109 . Colonial Office, Nigeria, Report of the Commission Appointed to Enquire into the Fears of Minorities and the Means of Allaying Them, July 1958, p. 55.

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