If you have been wondering how colonialism affected Nigeria positively and negatively, this article is for you. Today, you will be educated on the positive and negative impacts of colonialism in Nigeria. Consequently, i enjoin you to read this article till the end so that you will be able to grasp everything contained in it.
One of the first questions every Nigerian who has become political conscience and developed a certain mindset of patriotism asks is “How was Nigeria formed?” This leads us to the term Colonialism.
What then is colonialism? The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary 8th Edition, defines colonialism as the practice by which a powerful country controls another country or other countries.
To what extent can a powerful country control another? what scale can the control be measured? what if the control is of more harm than good? All these questions creates a thesis for this article.
In our present Nigerian society, students are taught at schools about their civic duties and obligations which is a shadow of what pertains to our colonialism. Today, we will be bringing an imaginary scale in measuring the negative and positive impacts of colonialism in Nigeria.
Apparently, Nigeria was colonised by the British. The scramble for Africa was so intense that the Europeans were plunging into a war among themselves. This led to the German Chancellor, Otto Von Bismarck convenying a conference in Berlin.
The conference had in attendance, Britain, France, Belgium, Portugal , Spain and Italy. Nigeria was a partition to Britain. From 1900 – 1960 the British had a leadership and colonialism that has been made headlines now and in centuries to come, introducing lots of practices both good and evil and even not until 1963 can it be said that Nigeria attained full independence. On this note we will be using Nigeria as a Case study.
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Positive Impacts colonialism in Nigeria
1. Introduction of Christianity
The import of colonialism helped religiosity a lot. Before colonialism, the worship of gods was invoke, poeple sacrificed animals including humans to unknow and illusionary objects. Some worshipped their trees.
Others engaged in practices that are in human and against good conscience all in the name of culture and tradition. The colonialist missionaries brought a Peace loving God who needed our attention and thanksgiving than a God who needed our hens and goats. They replaced our fetish practices for true worship.
A new level of education was imported during colonialism in Nigeria. Before colonialism, Africans had a notion of education that was basically informal and men friendly alone. The introduction of a formal and class learning education was a new dawn for an African society. When it was first introduced, some parents would rather die than see their children attend such, some called it names.
Well, others saw it as anvaswered prayer. A few embraced it at the initial. But today we are on in that same train of getting educated. Funny enough. It was men friendly, the ones who finally did embrace it saw it as a men business but a non woman’s duty. They would rather send a nonetity of a boy than a vibrant young girl.
Thanks Goodness today we have a different story even though there are few are still places and poeple who do not still believe in formal education.
3. Infrastructural development:
Infrastructures were not left out. Before the colonial era in Nigeria, we had tattered roads, mud houses and no structural planning at all. But colonialism brought a change in taste and view. Modern ways of doing things were introduced other than our primitive style. It was colonialism that Nigeria man yearned to school abroad and get degrees. Our style of dress was also affected
Those days some cultural attires was no different from being naked, even though some will argue that we have copied wrongly. Let us not undermine the fact that there was a value placed on Nigerians when it comes to fashion and design. design though we have misused it.
4. Technological and scientific development:
There were introduction of machines that made life easier and stress free. Almost every sectors had an impact. Eg, Agriculture, seeds and plantation, fertilizers, mechanized farming and even Health.
Acess to orthodox drugs that were produced in the Laboratory untypical with the one’s Native doctors and individuals prepared by themselves. Other health facilities was introduced especially as regards women and children. The Nigeria’s cliche of validating an act to be that of a fore fatyer or witches had scientific research and validations.
Persons like Chinua Achebe, Chimaamanda Adiche saw themselves into the Nigeria literature.
5. Socioeconomic development:
Socio-economically there was an advanced way of thinking and view of the Nigerian society with the introduction of colonialism. Nigeria men were triggered into politics, from the secondary schools to colleges advocates were rising. What are about the killing of twins? Many argue that colonialism brought no good at all and we were better of before they came.
Our transportation system improved. Our Entertainment industry also had a more beautiful space till we started copying! Hygiene, counselling, moral instructions were enhanced by colonialism.
Negative impacts of colonialism in Nigeria
The Negative of colonialism are thus;
During the colonial erra, there was massive exploitation on resources of Nigerians. Resources ranging from Crude oil, iron ore, coal etc, were shipped in barrels daily to European countries and the end products were sold back to Nigeria.
Lands were taken especially communities were resources were found. Persons who opposed them were killed vehemently! These were persons supposedly to be protecting rights.
2. High level of corruption:
Believe it or not, corruption we all complain to be the biggest problem of Nigeria today, was inculcated by the colonial Masters. Colonialism orchestrated and watered a mindset that made way for intense embezzlement and violence especially among leaders and political officers.
Every sphere of Nigeria was affected by the menace. They sowed the seeds of inequality among national divisions of the country and that is the reason why there is an edge of a Geo-political zone over another. The easterns complain of a little share of the national cake.
3. Moral decadence:
The Moral Decadence of Nigerians have rapidly increased by virtue of colonialism. Indecent dressing, loss of national values and disrespect. This has become the order of the day.
4. Slavery and racism:
Could it be said that those who control you hate you? I will leave that for you to answer. The whites displayed racism to the maximum. In as much as they made us believe they had our interest. They had a different story for their white counterparts abroad. No wounder Chimamanda Adiche in her Tedtalk “The danger of the single story” narrates her own ordeal.
What about those who stories were never heard? Those who died in the process? The development scale wasn’t great, in as much as the white brought some infrastructural advancement, the truth is that they used our resources to develop themselves. We still lived in poverty despite our rich resources.
Poverty is getting higher and higher. This is so because some fellow Nigerians have continued where our colonial masters stopped. They have been given the batons and they act like Britain’s in Nigeria instead of Nigerians in Nigeria. Our over dependence on a source of revenue other sectors have been mishandled and under utilised.
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Remember you still got the imaginary scale with you, with all things said and done your assessment will be correctly yours. Do you think Colonialism did more good than harm, it is a fair question, would you say like Walter Rodney that Colonialism was merely a system of exploitation whose essential purpose was a repatriation of profits to the subduing power or would you rather be positive minded.
Whichever your answer is don’t forget that we can make a great change in our society now.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.