The Structure of Ijaw Political Economy in the Colonial Administration, C. 1900-1960s: An Assessment
As expected, the colonial economic activities were tailored toward a fulfillment of the British imperial goal. The British colonial power no doubt established certain merceneries in order to build the metropolitan economy in the United Kingdom. The Nigeria territory was meant to provide the needed raw materials for their growing industries with little to develop the colony. Based on this premise, this paper examines the structure of the Ijaw political-economy during the British colonial administration. A particular attention is equally paid to, the continuation of palm oil production, the Colonial Welfare and Development Act of 1945 and local agitation and resistance to mineral ordinance on land matters. Other significant developments discussed included the 1957 Henry Willink Commission of inquiry. This paper employed both primary and secondary sources of data for critical analysis of issues raised. It argue that since the main reason for the establishment of the colonial administration in Nigeria was to increase the supply of manufactured raw materials to UK, the paper suggests that various polices put in place by the British government was not done to accelerate the internal economic growth of the Ijaw people of Niger Delta province, but to the satisfaction of the colonial power. On the other hand, it could be said that though the colonial economic policies seemed draconian, it has laid the foundation for future development of Nigeria. The government is expected to use the available natural resources toward the advancement of the country both in terms of man power and infrastructural facilities. It concludes that, only then would the dreams of founding fathers of Nigeria at independence for rapid socio-economic and development be attained.
Keywords: Colonial Economy, Britain, Niger Delta, Native government, Development.