17 Pages


WithArthur Norton Cook

A program of colonial expansion proved to be popular with the public because of the emotional appeal inherent in nationalism and a sentimental desire to improve the condition of the colored races. British enterprise in Nigeria was motivated to a large degree by the economic forces that gave rise to imperialism. The significance of British investments in Nigeria is more difficult to appraise. Vicious practices such as cannibalism, twin murder, human sacrifice, and fetish worship contributed little to the happiness of the native population of Nigeria. The Nigerian land system was not seriously challenged, and the efforts of the late Lord Leverhulme to substitute the plantation system were defeated by Lord Lugard’s successor. The root of the difficulty would seem to be with the capitalistic system rather than with the particular policy employed in Nigeria. The evolution of the system of indirect rule is, perhaps, the most important contribution which can be credited to British policy in Nigeria.