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AN ASSESSMENT ON THE IMPACT OF COLONIALISM ON MODERN POLITICAL SYSTEMS

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AN ASSESSMENT ON THE IMPACT OF COLONIALISM ON MODERN POLITICAL SYSTEMS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Colonialism refers to the complete and direct control of one nation by another, when the governing authority is held by a foreign entity. An example of this is the complete and direct control of Nigeria by Britain from 1900 to 1960. The primary aim of colonialism is to establish political hegemony (Ahmed and  Stasavage, 2020). The second purpose is to facilitate the exploitation of the colonised nation. Colonialism in Africa refers to a historical phenomena that occurred from the 1800s to the 1960s. It is an inherent aspect of another phenomena known as imperialism. Colonialism is, in reality, a direct manifestation of imperialism. Hence, the commonly held notion that "every instance of colonialism is a form of imperialism, but not every instance of imperialism is colonialism" is often expressed. Colonialism originated from shifts in Europe's method of production, such as the advent of the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution introduced a new mode of production to replace the previous economy that relied on slavery (Bangura & Joseph, 2017). The industrial revolution was a transformative phenomenon in human history. The issue of lubricating machinery arose with the advent of the industrial revolution. By now, the slave trade and slavery had successfully served their primary purpose of supplying the initial money. The pursuit of investment opportunities for amassed money and the want for raw resources prompted the colonisation of Africa (Bolt and Leigh, 2020).The European powers colonised Africa due to many imperative circumstances. One significant element was the advent of the industrial revolution, which led to a rapid transition in the socio-economic and technological aspects of European nations. The industrial revolution resulted in a surge in output. The advancement in the business outpaced the advancement in agriculture. The agricultural sector was facing growing challenges in meeting the demand for raw materials needed by businesses (Butcher, Charles, Ryan&Griffiths, 2020). Hence, the European countries, such as the British, had a need to seek supplementary raw materials outside their own borders. Moreover, due to the decrease in agricultural output, there arose the issue of ensuring sufficient or satisfactory food supply to sustain the rapidly expanding urban population. To clarify, the rural regions in Britain, for instance, were encountering growing challenges in generating sufficient food to sustain the expanding metropolitan populace (Eldredge & Elizabeth, 2015). Furthermore, there was a need for a market, not alone for the extraction of natural resources, but also for sustenance of the growing population. Due to the rapid advancement of technology, there was a surplus of new things that exceeded the pace at which people could get rid of them. The enormous population of Africa provided a readily accessible market for these items (Eldredge & Elizabeth, 2018). In addition, because to the cheap salaries provided to labour, industrialists were able to accumulate profits at a quicker pace than they could reinvest. During this period, Europe had a lack of efficient use of capital and a need to identify suitable destinations for investment and utilisation of these funds in order to generate new goods. Imperialism arose as a result of investing excess capital.

Colonialism has had a significant and enduring influence on Nigeria's contemporary political structures, resulting in lasting repercussions for the country's political framework. The British colonised Nigeria from the late 19th century until its independence in 1960 (Eldredge & Elizabeth, 2015). During the period of European colonisation in Africa, the colonial powers established boundaries in a haphazard manner, disregarding the ethnic, linguistic, and cultural distinctions among the indigenous populations. Nigeria is a nation characterised by its multi-ethnic and multi-religious nature, including numerous communities. This has resulted in difficulties in the process of constructing a country and governing it, since many ethnic groups possess unique cultural and historical origins. Furthermore, the British implemented a centralised administrative structure in which the nation was divided into regions and indirect administration was established via traditional leaders. Nigeria's federal system, characterised by a central government and states, has a historical heritage that has undergone changes in terms of the number and boundaries of these states (Karekwaivanane & George, 2017). Furthermore, the British implemented and established certain political frameworks and procedures throughout the period of colonisation. The legislative form of government, public service, and election processes were passed down from the colonial era. These institutions have had influence in shaping Nigeria's political terrain. Therefore, the researcher sought to assess the impact of colonialism on modern political systems.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Nigeria's present political structures have been significantly and enduringly influenced by colonialism. One of the issues arising from the colonial heritage is that the colonial powers, especially Britain, established arbitrary boundaries without taking into account ethnic, linguistic, or cultural factors. Consequently, the establishment of multi-ethnic states in Nigeria has resulted in the emergence of ethnic tensions and conflicts in the present day (Kelly & Jill, 2015). The colonial powers enforced Western political and judicial systems that may not have corresponded with the pre-existing traditional arrangements. This has resulted in difficulties in governing and conflicts between conventional and contemporary systems. Furthermore, the economic strategies used by the colonial powers were often focused on exploiting resources to serve the interests of the colonial rulers. The historical practice of exploiting resources has resulted in economic disparities, corruption, and conflicts over resource ownership in contemporary Nigeria. The governance of colonial administrations was often marked by autocratic governance, and this heritage has had a profound impact on the political ethos in Nigeria (Parcells, 2018). The nation has seen episodes of military governance, characterised by regular military interference in political affairs. Moreover, the economic and political frameworks built during the colonial era often resulted in Nigeria's reliance on foreign forces and international enterprises. This interdependence has constrained the nation's capacity to exercise complete authority over its resources and choose its own path of progress(Parcells, 2018). To tackle these issues, it is necessary to implement extensive measures in governance, economic progress, and social integration. It is crucial to make concerted efforts to foster national unity, provide effective governance, and implement inclusive policies that take into account the different needs of the people in order to overcome the issues that have their origins in Nigeria's colonial past. Hence, the study assess the impact of Colonialism on Modern Political Systems.

1.3       Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to assess the impact of Colonialism on Modern Political Systems. The specific objectives is as follows

i.          Assess the the factors responsible for the Europeans to come colonize Africa (Nigeria).

ii.        Examine the various political systems that were in place before the colonization of  Africa (Nigeria).

iii.      Find out the impact of Colonialism on Modern Political Systems in Africa (Nigeria).

1.4       Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study

i.          What are the factors responsible for the Europeans to come colonize Africa (Nigeria)?

ii.        What are the various political systems that were in place before the colonization of  Africa (Nigeria)?

iii.      What is the impact of Colonialism on Modern Political Systems in Africa (Nigeria).

1.5       Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant to political parties, citizens of Nigeria and academia in the following ways

Historical Understanding: Studying colonialism helps scholars and researchers understand the historical roots of contemporary political systems. It provides insights into the formation and evolution of modern nation-states, governance structures, and political ideologies.

Power Dynamics: Colonialism often involved the imposition of power structures, exploitation, and hierarchical systems. By studying these dynamics, academics can analyze how power relations established during colonial periods continue to influence present-day politics, including issues related to governance, inequality, and human rights.

Institutional Legacy: Many modern political institutions, legal frameworks, and administrative systems have their roots in colonial structures. Examining this legacy is crucial for understanding how institutions function today, as well as the challenges and opportunities they present.

Cultural and Social Impact: Colonialism significantly impacted cultural and social identities. Researching this aspect helps in understanding how colonial policies shaped identities, created social divisions, and influenced cultural norms. This knowledge is essential for addressing contemporary issues related to identity politics and cultural diversity.

1.6       Scope of the study

The study focuses on  the Impact of Colonialism on Modern Political Systems. Hence, the study will assess the the factors responsible for the Europeans to come colonize Africa (Nigeria), examine the various political systems that were in place before the colonization of  Africa (Nigeria) and find out the impact of Colonialism on Modern Political Systems in Africa (Nigeria).

1.7       Research Methodology

Research methodology deals with the different ways or methods the researcher applied in order to carry out the research as well as the instrument used for gathering the data. There are several research methodologies appropriate for answering the research questions. The type of research methodology used in this research to gather data and relevant information is the historical research and the study will adopt descriptive method of data collection. This will involve the collection of materials from secondary sources, such as books, journal articles, magazines, internet sources, international and national conference proceedings, published and unpublished articles.

1.8       Definition of terms

Colonialism: the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.

Political system: the set of formal legal institutions that constitute a government or a state


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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