It is possible that you have reservations against the colonialism of Nigeria. More so, Walter Rodney in his book “how Europe underdeveloped Africa” highlighted some negative impacts Colonialism have on Africa. However, the colonialism of Nigeria by Great Britain wasn’t bad in its entirety. There are some good things that were made possible through Colonialism. Doubt it?
Here are the top ten greatest advantages of colonialism to Nigeria
1) Amalgamation of Nigeria
Before Colonization started, the Nigeria of today was a Protectorate. The northern and southern Protectorate were amalgamated by Sir Lord Lugard the governor-general at that time. Unification of Nigeria was made possible through colonization, now we are better off as one indivisible Nation than a mere Protectorate.
2) Birth of Christianity
A majority of the Christian population in Nigeria view the introduction of Christianity in Nigeria by the British as a welcomed part of colonialism. Before colonization, Nigerians had their local traditions and religions. Most of the things we call taboo today including the killing of twins and female genital mutilation were a constant practice before colonization.
It will interest you to know that the number of gods that only Yoruba people serve were more than the population of Ghana. However, when colonization started in 1900, Christianity came into Nigeria and many Nigerians parted away with their traditional beliefs and clung to the Bible.
3) Western Education
Western education remains one of the greatest advantages of colonialism to Nigeria. The advent of colonialism birthed the establishment of modern schools in Nigeria. And this helped stop many barbaric practices of the Nigerian people. Although the government has done little to improve education in Nigeria, the benefits of western education can’t be denied.
The birth of western education and religion gave room for the speedy civilization of Nigeria and her people. We adopted some of their cuisines, their style of dressing and some of their practices. This helped in abolishing some of the barbaric practices of most tribes in Nigeria. However, some argue that Nigeria had it’s own kind of civilization prior to the invasion by the British.
5) Introduction of Science and Technology
It is worthy of note that the black race are quite stronger in nature than any other race in the world. We rely mainly on our strength to get hard tasks done. However, the nature of the white man is highly inquisitive. They always want to know why things are the way they are and which is the model of science. Consequently, they make use of those knowledge that has been acquired to make tools that reduces the need for human exertion. Some of these innovations were brought into Nigeria at the time of colonization. For instance, Nigerians began to use mechanized farming implements on their farms.
Earlier, technology had crawled into Nigeria. But colonization paved a broad entrance for technological advancement into Nigeria, and made it easily accessible.
6) Establishment of Hospitals and Health Facilities
Africans are one of a kind! What hardly makes us sick is often a death trap to the white men, for instance, malaria. Little wonder they called Africa the white man’s grave. This was due to the harsh atmospheric condition of some parts in Nigeria, coupled with the still undefeated mosquitoes that cause malaria. Colonial Masters came with health facilities that helped cure many ailments our herbal practitioners had no answers to.
Before then many Africans died from ignorance. What we considered to be Ogbanje pikin, Abiku and the likes were caused by lack of pre-natal care and infant immunization. Colonialism brought about the establishment of health centers which provided vaccination of young children to prevent reoccurring infant death in families.
7) Colonization gave Nigeria a structured form of Government
Nigerians learned a new style of government through colonialism by Great Britain. The Judicial council which was the hope of the common man was fully effected, thanks to Colonization.
For instance, Hausa operated a highly centralised system of government. The emir stood as the mouthpiece of God and whatever he uttered was divine. There were no checks and balances or any rule called separation of power. Absolute power resided with the emir. The remaining two tribes operated different forms of government as well. However, colonization brought about a new style of government. A system of government that made the rulers accountable to their people.
8) Colonization reduced tribal conflicts
There is no doubt that Nigeria was her biggest enemy before colonization. The fact that there were people of different culture and belief inhabiting a geographical entity was a problem. Consequently, different tribes began to build an empire from the destruction of another tribe. Battle of supremacy amongst tribes became the order of the day.
However, things took a new turn during colonization. Absolute power was taken from traditional rulers of each tribes. Great Britain adopted the indirect rule system in Nigeria, this helped in reducing bloody tribal conflicts. However, today this has been replaced by terrorism born out of religious and political conflicts.
Having integrated different tribes together, Nigerians began to socialize with one another. Yorubas were free to travel to the East for business, Igbos were free to come to West for schooling. Also, this helped Nigerians to learn more about themselves. Many Nigerians traveled abroad for education, majority of them were able to learn different foreign languages. Similarly, the colonial Masters learned some languages in Nigeria too.
10) Colonization gave Nigeria a Unified Identity and Language
Before colonization started, the country Nigeria was two protectorates apart. The Northern and Southern Protectorate never saw themselves as one Nation, hence, they had different identities. Northern and Southern Protectorate were changed into one country named Nigeria in 1914 by Lord Lugard. This birthed a Unified Identity.
Also, should there be nothing called colonization, Nigeria would have been strongly divided by lack of effective communication. All the tribes speak different languages. However, the colonial Masters taught Nigerians their own language (English) as a means of communication among themselves and across National boarders. Communication among different tribes was solidified through colonialism.