Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation was formally colonized in 1900 with the proclamation of the two protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria that were later joined in 1914 to form a single territory of Nigeria (Falola, 2003, p.83)…
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The Nigerian freedom struggle was a multidimensional effort that involved various Nigerian communities, popular classes, the intelligentsia, labor groups, youth, traders, and market women in order to securer political, economic, and cultural independence from the British colonial masters (Johnston, 2000). The Nigerian freedom movement achieved its goal in five wide phases: first phase (1880s to 1900), second phase (1900s to 1930s), third phase (mid-1930s to the 1940s), fourth phase (mid 1940s to early 1950s) which was a continuation of 1930s developments, and the final phase (1950s to 1960 independence).
The first phase (1880s to 1900s)
The early anti-colonial struggle was led and organized by the intelligentsia that were mainly descendants of former slaves who had returned to their homes in Lagos and other parts of western Nigeria . The intelligentsia was mainly educated elite who were socially and politically active, and mostly, they promoted their struggles through framework of ideas (Falola, 2003 p.83). At this stage, the nationalist intelligentsia advocated for grievances of various groups such as traders, ordinary citizens, and workers who being oppressed by the colonial masters, thus they mobilized social groups and formed political associations, pressure groups, nationalist movements and even formed political parties (Aborisade & Mundt, 2002). Among the notable events of this period was the religious and cultural nationalism between the 1880s and 1900s, through which the nationalist intelligentsia sought assertion of the normalcy and validity of African cultural usages, social norms, religious beliefs and practices, since the European Christian and colonial imperialist devalued African culture, viewing it as evil, inferior, and primitive (Coleman, 1971, p.175). Through their enlightenment, some African clerics objected to the Europeans missionaries’ view of African religious and spiritual beliefs. Thus, they opted out of the European controlled churches and even formed African independent church movements such as the United Native African Church (1883) and African Church Inc (1901), while other advocated for appreciation of African history and heritage, with people like Reverend D.B. Vincent changing his name to Mojola Agbebi (Coleman, 1971, p.175). The second phase (1900 to 1930s) This was period of early reformist political nationalism in which nationalist intelligentsia focused on struggle for political and civil rights, protesting against specific colonial policies and initiatives; thus, they were calling for reforms within the colonial system. The independence movements at this time mainly focused on changes within the established colonial system, while the call for self-rule and political independence was more of a long-term goal. The first independence movements emerged including the People Union (PU), the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (APRS), and the Nigerian Reform Association (NRA), and they mainly championed a single matter rather than the broad aspect of colonialism. During post 1914 period, nationalist also used the Press to attack the colonial rule, with journalist such as Horatio Jackson and others constantly and
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