Development planning and decolonization in Nigeria

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Other local modernities reflected differences between professions or disciplines, or conflicting interpretations within them over the nature of modernity and routes towards it. The concept of local modernities helps explain Nigerian development projects during decolonisation, and after independence, by making room for both a global development consensus and distinctive interpretations and appropriations of it, that were shaped by the dynamics of Nigerian politics and society.

The impact of colonial development has also been widely debated.

  1. Development planning and decolonization in Nigeria /.
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Ronald Hyam and Sarah Stockwell see British colonial development planning as a relatively short-lived moment with largely superficial achievements. Colonial development is seen as authoritarian, failing to engage with civil society and suffering from a deficit in legitimacy. According to an alternative, contradictory view, the educational institutions of colonial development are portrayed, often in passing, as locations where Africans were successfully inculcated with foreign ideas, routines and identities.

Decolonisation and Neo-Colonialism In , British officials saw colonial development as a way to reinvigorate the empire in Africa pending distant progress towards self-government. In practice, colonial development rapidly segued into schemes to prepare colonies for a much more imminent transfer of power. The reasons for this telescoping of timetables fall into three groups, international, metropolitan and national, each loaded with implications about whose agency was most important to decolonisation. Roberts eds. At this international level of analysis, there seems little doubt that the United States played an important role in decolonisation that is only starting to be understood.

Ronald Robinson and Wm. Roger Louis argue that the late British empire was in fact an Anglo-American co-operative venture with the goal of transforming colonies into new states allied to the west. Universities in decolonising and postcolonial countries thus form sites where the goals and practices of these Anglo-American interventions may be studied. American universities and philanthropic foundations, as well as the state, were involved. Historians stressing the essentially conservative goals of British policy towards Nigerian decolonisation challenge the importance of development policies.

For Martin Lynn, the British formed a tacit alliance with conservative, Muslim Northern Nigerian leaders against radical, developmentalist politicians from the south. Winks ed. V: Historiography Oxford, Other historians stress the importance of the activities of Nigerian nationalists in decolonisation. Universities were crucial sites where Nigerian politicians sought to display their developmental prowess in the context of the ethno-regional rivalries of decolonisation politics.

A mixture of international, imperial and national dynamics affected processes of state formation in decolonising Nigeria. Several astute commentators see the state as crucial to understanding decolonisation. New representative assemblies were created, civil services were indigenised and enlarged, and semi-state organisations such as marketing boards, corporations and universities established. This growth is partly attributable to the relatively small size of colonial states on the eve of decolonisation, and to the distinctive processes of decolonisation itself.

However, it was also part of a global trend, that saw states growing in size as they were expected to perform a wider variety of functions associated with national development and welfare. Across the world, the state was perceived as the prime agent of development, 45 W. Louis and R. Ade Ajayi and A. Roger Louis eds. Universities offer an unusual vantage point from which to consider the state in decolonising Nigeria.

Usually considered part of civil society, Nigerian universities were part of the growth of the state during decolonisation: founded by the state, funded by it, and connected to it in numerous ways. For similar reasons, universities are compelling sites from which to consider the issue of neo-colonialism. There has been general agreement that Britain expected to wield significant influence in Nigeria, and other former colonies, after formal transfers of power. The nature of neo-colonial power in practice has been more contested. Many have seen British aspirations of continuing informal empire dashed by domestic economic weakness and the more competitive international environment of the s.

There is little doubt that the goals of British and American policies towards Nigerian universities had a neo-colonial character. The sphere of built environments has also been associated with enduring neo-colonial influence after formal concessions of independence.

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Space and the Built Environment Development and decolonisation had a spatial dimension. They affected some places more than others, and their intangible presence was deliberately made 49 Darwin, Britain and Decolonisation, , ; Darwin, End of the British Empire, ; Lawal, Britain and the Transfer of Power, , , , Ade Ajayi, Lameck K. Goma and G.


Colonial-era buildings have been abundantly studied, and often interpreted as components in colonial projects of control. McCracken ed.

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    Post-war colonialism is often depicted as an ongoing, coherent project, despite the proliferating challenges it faced. Buildings are also usually studied at the planning stage, when the power of the planners was at its height. Their reception and use is rarely explored extensively. Patel eds. Persuasive arguments have been advanced about the variety of forms of agency involved in constructing the structuring effects of space.

    For Henri Lefebvre, the abstract conceptions of planners are merely one aspect of a conceptual triad of making spatial meanings, which is completed by lived experiences of space and its socially constructed associations. This work often accords better with the ideas of Lefebvre, Giddens and Buchli.

    John Michael Vlatch and Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch have suggested in different ways that the West African coast saw the formation of local forms of urban modernity before the advent of formal colonial rule. Their work has revealed colonial-era architecture from a new perspective, with the buildings of post-war colonial development appearing as interventions in ongoing negotiations with modernity rather than wholly intrusive schemes.

    Colonial building projects were most extensive in the last years of empire, which would be odd if these buildings did indeed uphold colonial power. Mark Crinson puts decolonisation at the centre of the story of colonial modern architecture, initiating the exploration of the variety of responses to colonial building projects 61 Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, trans. Nicholson-Smith Oxford, , Baker Princeton, Also see: Garth A. These understandings could be further advanced by more systematic study of the everyday ways in which spaces are used.

    Culture and Everyday Life Everyday encounters can bring into play big ideas. In the apparently banal world of the everyday we can see what larger phenomena such as development ideas, decolonisation or buildings came to mean in practice. Everyday life at UCI and other Nigerian universities had a particular significance. As the forging ground for a new elite, everyday life at Nigerian universities was of national importance.

    Like colonial-era buildings, colonial-era culture has often been interpreted as one of the tools of colonial power.

    Decolonization and Nationalism Triumphant: Crash Course World History #40

    Bhabha, Locations of Culture London, Frank Trentmann argues that politics flows out of as well as into everyday life, however, suggesting the way the agency of individuals and groups can reshape larger structures. Many other studies have explored the mixing or coexistence of everyday cultures under colonialism. Attempts by colonial authorities to define cultural categories can therefore be viewed as one of many interventions seeking to establish social boundaries.

    Long before UCI, West African elites wore western or indigenous styles of dress on certain occasions to make carefully calibrated points about their social position. Some scholars have been tempted to argue that Africans adopting dress or other 68 Apollos O. Ogundele Bayreuth, Conrad suggests they may be better seen as part of larger structures of entanglement that form part of systematic change at a global level. The spread of cultural styles associated with modernity, therefore, may not solely be an expression of western political and cultural power, but the product of more variegated interactions.

    As with buildings, research has focused primarily on colonial-era culture rather than explicitly addressing decolonisation, leaving lacunae that are only starting to be filled. Alternatively, Homi Bhabha has suggested that colonial-era categories were in some ways fragile, always struggling to contain the complex hybridity of the phenomena they sought to classify. Isolating the specific effects of decolonisation on culture at a time of multivalent political, social and economic change is therefore difficult.

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    One approach is to explore the cultural effects of specific processes associated with decolonisation. The classic work of the political scientists Kenneth Post and Michael Vickers on Nigeria offers a clue as to how this may be done. The first group included senior civil servants, police chiefs and army officers, who derived their status from the state and tended to value impartiality and efficiency.

    Elected politicians, who owed their status to direct relationships with Nigerian society that were cemented by patronage, dominated the second group. Post and Vickers suggest, therefore, that the styles of the groups were shaped by the nature of their contrasting relationships with decolonisation processes. Nigerian universities are a good site for this kind of study.

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    They were prestigious, symbolically powerful organisations from which Nigerians had often been excluded under colonialism. Like Nigerian civil students and politicians, students were a novel group that emerged during decolonisation. Indeed, many students aspired to be civil servants and politicians. Universities were important centres in the making of new elite cultures during decolonisation. Cultures of everyday life therefore form another case of local modernity as an arena where the particularities of locality meet and interact with larger historical forces.

    For the concept of performed styles see: Ferguson, Expectations of Modernity, Structure and Agency The relationship between structure and agency is fundamental to these questions. Many of the foregoing debates hinge on how widely meaningful agency is shared, with one side of the argument seeing agency as wielded by a small minority. Development is seen as defined and controlled by a small group of western experts and elites, the importance of the metropole in decolonisation and neo-colonialism is emphasised, the role of architects and planners is stressed in analyses of space, and western and colonial categories are seen as defining colonial-era cultures.

    There is a good reason for this. Colonised people clearly encountered particular forms of structure produced by colonial overrule, including political and economic systems from which they were largely excluded. Colonial institutions like schools and universities also had structuring effects as institutions that influenced ways of life. It is possible to push this argument still further by emphasising structures that act virtually independent of human agency, such as the geographical environment, built environments after construction, or phenomena like decolonisation that are so complex as to seem beyond the control of even the most powerful individuals.

    Ultimately, this reflects a judgement that this approach better explains the evidence that has been examined. This study does not seek to ignore the asymmetries and depredations of colonial rule. Nor does it intend to ignore the choices that remained open to colonised people, although these choices were limited. Colonialism provoked resistance and revolt as well as collaboration and consent. Indeed, this thesis covers a period that saw huge structural changes, not least decolonisation, in which the agency of many individuals and groups played important roles.