COLONIAL ECONOMY OF IBI AND WUKARI DIVISIONS, 1900-1960

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COLONIAL ECONOMY OF IBI AND WUKARI DIVISIONS, 1900-1960

 

ABSTRACT

 

This study analyses the impact of the Colonial Economy on Ibi and Wukari Divisions during the period 1900 to 1960. It examines the history of change in the economies and societies that make up Ibi and Wukari Divisions. Thus, it focuses on the socio-economic impact of the various British colonial economic policies on the area of study and how they undermined the process of growth and consequent development in the local economy by turning industrial and agricultural production to fend for the capitalist need for raw materials and markets for European products. The work argues that this particular development in the history of the states and societies in the Middle Benue Basin, south of the Benue River, such as Wukari State, Takum and Donga Chiefdoms, was central to the state of socio-economic challenge that bedevilled the area. The socio-economic backwardness of the area is the springboard of the social disturbances that have engulfed this region, which other works have attempted to offer explanation. However, no substantive economic explanation has been given to explain this social development in the area. In fact, to the best of the present writer‟s knowledge, no historical piece has emerged to assess the reality of the colonial history of Ibi and Wukari Divisions to explain the state of development in the area. Motivated by this reason, this study begins by providing the economic and geo-political condition of the area before the advent of British colonialism and further displays the role of the pre-colonial economy in state building and development. It views the connection between agriculture, industry and trade in the pre-colonial economy as fundamental to especially, Kwararafa Confederacy and Wukari State, which were able to wield political power over other states in the Middle Benue valley through the benefits from these sectors of the economy. The position of this work is that the domination of the local economy by British colonial tools of exploitation, that is, colonial economic policies, as well as the activities of the colonial trading companies, crippled the industries and redirected agricultural production and trade towards capitalist mode of production. Therefore, the pre-existing economy, which depended largely on salt mining and textile production, was forced, under the domination of an imperial power, to produce export crops, exerting pressure on land. Land, the basic unit of production, was commoditised. It became conspicuous and very important in the colonial economy and attracted the attention of the people. This marked the beginning of the land question in Ibi and Wukari Divisions. Thus, at the end of British colonial domination, not only that the local economy was disarticulated but also the industrial turned peasantry were impoverished leading to a state of socio-economic challenge in the area of study. To get this argument clear, the work makes use of qualitative and quantitative value judgement as the method of analysis. Oral sources from people who were directly or indirectly affected by the colonial economy form the major source of evidence in the research. The research also uncovers a good number of archival records to understand the philosophy behind the policies of the British colonialists in Ibi and Wukari Divisions. Other secondary works on the subjects of colonialism, imperialism and colonial economy were consulted to get the substance of their arguments. Those which discuss the socio-economic history of the area of study are also consulted.

 

COLONIAL ECONOMY OF IBI AND WUKARI DIVISIONS, 1900-1960

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