Virtual Kollage: Why Indirect rule was adopted by the British

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Why Indirect rule was adopted by the British



WHY INDIRECT RULE WAS ADOPTED BY THE BRITAIN IN WEST AFRICA
Problem of finance
The British West African territory was a vast area and therefore to employ British personnel from the Metropolis to effectively administer it needed a lot of money to execute. The personnel had to travel from Britain and be accommodated in the colonies. It was thought that the funds needed to do this were too huge to find. That was why they use of local people to accomplish the job.

Lack of personnel
Even if the funds were there to pay the personnel, the personnel themselves were not availing themselves to be employed. The average British saw the colonies as a harsh environment where they could die of malaria or other diseases so they were unwilling to come and work there. This created the shortage of critical personnel in the colonies. The British were therefore forced to use local people, leading to the adoption of Indirect Rule.

Language barrier
The British could not speak the local language of the people and majority of the people could not speak English. There was therefore a communications problem. It was thought that getting a few people local people who could speak both English and the local language could solve the problem. The answer was the introduction of Indirect Rule.

Poor road network
The road network was not well developed at the time therefore the colonialists could not easily travel from place to place to proper supervision. Communication systems like telephones were also not very common back then so the only way out was to let the natives themselves do the work. This was another reason for the introduction of indirect Rule.

A successful administrative system was already in place
In Northern Nigeria, where the system was first introduced, there already existed a centralized system of administration, coupled with an efficient system of tax collection. So the British just adopted what was already there and used it to achieve their purpose.

Success of the system elsewhere
By the time Lord Luggard was introducing the system of indirect rule in Northern Nigeria, the system had already been successfully practiced in India and Uganda. The experiences gathered in India and Uganda convinced Lord Luggard that Indirect Rule could thrive in West Africa.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. Highlight six reasons why indirect rule was adopted in West Africa? [12 marks]

2. a. What is Indirect Rule? [2 marks]
    b. Account for five reasons why Indirect Rule was introduced in West Africa? [10 marks]

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