Trends and Issues in the Social and Political History of Okunland, North-Central Nigeria: 1840-1960

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PREFACE

Very few attempts were being made by historians to study the peoples of the Niger-Benue Confluence Region of which the Okun people are an integral part. The probable reason for this includes population status in the Nigeria polity. Secondly, their lamentable situation of being outside the confines of powerful states such as Sokoto Caliphate, Yoruba Kingdoms, Benin Empire etc. which provided attractive land marks to students of history. As a result the people of this area are usually regarded as ‘mini’ states or ‘stateless’ society, because they lacked centralized system of government, they are thus neglected. Against this backdrop Professor K.O. Dike advised that “fervent efforts should be made to redress the situation by paying assertive attention and efforts by studying areas considered as ‘mini’ or ‘mini’ states which Okun land belongs. This work can be seen as a response to the challenge of this neglect, we have taken up the responsibility of bringing this social history of Okun people to the fore, with the aim of providing added knowledge about a people whose history has been long neglected. In the same vein, most works emphasize on western colonialism to the neglect of internal colonialism which Okun land suffered during the Nupe rule that started 1840 only to be terminated by the British force in 1897, when the British finally forced the Nupe army out of Okun land. Subsequently, the British declared the Northern Protectorate in 1900. We have therefore demonstrate in this work the Nupe colonialism of our area of study and its devastating effects on the lives of the people which has not been done before now. In this work, attempts are made to draw a comparism between the two regimes which had varying effects and approach, although both have the same motive of exploiting the human and material resources of Okun land. The nature of this study is an attempt to examine socio-political developments and other issues over a fairly long period of time, have highly conditioned the methodology and approach in writing this dissertation. The very nature of the information used for this work encouraged the descriptive method rather than the quantitative. However, bits of the quantitative have been employed. On the whole, we employed the methodology of marrying oral evidence to available writing sources.

Contents

Chapter One : General Introduction

Chapter Two : Socio-Political Survey Of Okun-Land Before Nupe Rule Introduction

Chapter Three : Nupe Rule in Okunland, 1840-1897

Chapter Four : The Advent Of British Colonial Rule

Chapter Five : Indigenous Reactions To The British Colonial Policies, 1934 – 1945.

Chapter Six : Okun Elite and The Radical Post-War Developments: 1945-1960

Chapter Seven : Summary and Conclusion

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