Imperialism is the act of a larger, stronger country taking over a smaller, weaker country politically, socially, and economically. The 18th and 19th century marked the Age of Imperialism, as European countries strived for more land and power. This was due to many reasons such as economic power, glory, religion, and nationalism. Nigeria is one of the various countries that were imperialized during this time period. Although imperialism happened in 1901, some of its consequences and effects still shape Nigeria today. The long term effects of imperialism in Nigeria include the lack of national identity and terrorism.
Short term effects include the loss of traditional customs and the benefits of unification. Most of the effects of imperialism in Nigeria carried until today are negative. Out of the many effects such as poverty and corruption, the most impactful effects are the lack of national identity and terrorism. However, some argue that imperialism was beneficial to Nigeria. In fact, the country Nigeria itself could not have existed at all if it wasn’t imperialized. After Nigeria formally became a British Protectorate in 1901, it was unified by Lord Frederick, a british governor in 1914. Before, the land of Nigeria included diverse ethnic groups and empires, who in fact, did not get along at all.
However, because Nigeria was forcefully united despite the strong cultural differences and diverse ethnic groups that were not in peace, Nigeria lacks national identity, even today. The main purpose of this idea of nationality is to unite all the social, religious and ethnic groups to make them identify as Nigerians all together despite their distinct differences. This a very hard task for Nigerians to accomplish today for there are many conflicts existing between groups that prohibit them from having peace with each other. Furthermore, this has caused terrorism, especially by Nigeria’s militant Islamist group Boko Haram, who are fighting for their desire of Nigeria being Islamic. This group has caused havoc in not only Nigeria, but also in Africa’s most populous countries, through a campaign of bombings and attacks. Not only has this problem caused many deaths, but is further leading the country into poverty.
If the different groups weren’t forcefully unified to be Nigeria, this state of chaos might have been prevented. Both of these long term effects are very harmful and negative, thus suggesting how imperialism in Nigeria was harmful. Some effects that occurred when Nigeria was imperialized include the loss of traditional customs and the benefits of unification. One of the many reasons why Britain wanted Nigeria was to spread christianity. So when Nigeria was colonized, Britain forced its religion and traditions on Nigerians, converting them into Christians. Furthermore, as before imperialism tribal leaders were elected by its people, chiefs were being appointed by a governor who was appointed by a British.
Thus, Britain was controlling all of Nigerian tribes indirectly through their leaders. This way, Britain forced its traditions and cultures on the Nigerian tribes. There were in fact, some positive effects to imperialism in Nigeria. Because Nigeria was united, it was able to gain its independence from Great britain. One of the reasons why it was so easy for Britain to imperialize Nigeria was because it was consisted of diverse tribal groups who were not unified. But as the groups had the same goal and were unified by the British, with them fighting all together, were able to achieve independence.
However, this is a short term effect for Nigeria’s unification was harmful on the long run, as mentioned in the previous paragraph. I believe that effects of imperialism in Nigeria were overall very negative, for Nigeria does not have a stable government. Nigeria is a federal republic whose government operates as a representative democracy. However, the government only looks out for the wealthy, as they strive for wealth and power, ignoring the country’s serious problems such as poverty, and are weak in fighting the terrorists. Nigeria, due to the effects of imperialism, is in crisis today.
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