Nigeria: 100 Years after Amalgamation

Convener: Dr. O. Igho Natufe (Institute for African Studies, Moscow, Russia); e-mail:

The Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria were amalgamated by British Colonial Governor Fredrick Lugard in January 1914. Several Nigerian scholars and statesmen have expressed contending views about the risks and incentives of this amalgamation. For example, speaking in the Northern House of Assembly in 1952, Sir Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, who later became the Prime Minister of Nigeria (1960–1966), dismissed the amalgamation of Nigeria by the British Government. He declared as follows: “…the Southern people who are swarming into this region daily in large numbers are really intruders. We don`t want them and they are not welcome here in the North. Since the amalgamation in 1914, the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country, but the Nigerian people are different in every way including religion, custom, language and aspiration. The fact that we`re all Africans might have misguided the British Government. We here in the North, take it that `Nigerian unity` is not for us.” (As cited by A. Adeleye, “Amalgamation of 19914: Was it a mistake?” Vanguard, Lagos, May 18, 2012.) In numerous articles on the subject for the past 6 decades, Nigerians have grappled with the problematic of amalgamation. The proposed panel strives to assemble a group of experts – Nigerians and expatriates – to provide insightful analysis on this subject by focusing on the following topics:
- the concept of amalgamation;
- pre-1914 Nigeria: protectorate or colony?
- amalgamation and the national question in Nigeria;
- the socio-economic ramifications of amalgamation.