The Warrant Chiefs: indirect rule in southeastern Nigeria, 1891-1929 (Ibadan history series)

The Warrant Chiefs: indirect rule in southeastern Nigeria, 1891-1929 (Ibadan history series)

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Preface extract: 

The failure of the system is not primarily, as
is usually thought, an adverse commentary on the political
organisation of the Ibo and their neighbours, but on the ability of
i the British in the first four decades of their rule to understand and
solve the administrative problems presented them by Ibo, Ibibio,
Ijo and Ogoja society. To some extent, however, it also reflected
the failure of the natives to modify their indigenous system enough
to meet the needs of the changed times.
There are indeed at least two aspects to the process generally
known as colonial conquest of which military subjugation is only
one. In a general sense the British could be said to have subdued
the Ibo and their neighbours militarily by 1914. The other aspect
is the attempt by the colonial power to master and control the
institutions which regulate the life of the colonised or failing that
to supplant them. This book could be seen as a study of British
attempts to achieve this second stage of colonial conquest over
Southeastern Nigeria and of the resistance offered by Ibo, Ibibio,
Ijo and Ogoja society. At the end of the period covered by the
work, the British had to confess failure and more or less start
trying afresh.

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The book thus seeks to explain why this attempt at total
conquest through institutional control failed for over three
decades. The question is approached from two main perspectives.
Firstly, an attempt is made to bring out clearly what the British
did in the field of local government in the Eastern Provinces
in the period 18g1—1929. Secondly, the light in which the Ibo,
Ibibio, Ijo and Ogoj a peoples saw and reacted to the policy is fully
discussed. No more emphasis is laid on the one or the other side
of the question than is considered necessary for a balanced and
effective treatment of the subject.
The main material for this work comes from the official records
of the period. However, this source has been supplemented substantially with oral evidence collected from various people in the
field. Material from the latter source has been used mainly to
throw light on those aspects of the Warrant Chief System on which
i there is very scanty material in the oilicial records. The thesis out
of which this work grew carries an appendix which gives the date
and place of each interview as well as the name of and other
necessary details about each informant. It has not been thought
necessary to include this in the book. 

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