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The Politics of Tradition: Continuity and Change in Northern Nigeria, 1946-1966

The Politics of Tradition: Continuity and Change in Northern Nigeria, 1946-1966

Copyright Date: 1970
Pages: 576
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    The Politics of Tradition: Continuity and Change in Northern Nigeria, 1946-1966
    Book Description:

    Taking Northern Nigeria during the years 1946 to 1966 as an example, Professor Whitaker shows how modern institutions-parliamentary representation, a cabinet system, popular suffrage, and political parties-were introduced and how they resulted not in a displacement of tradition but in an astute absorption by traditional forces.

    Originally published in 1970.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7176-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
    C. S. Whitaker Jr.
  4. The Theoretical Context and Setting
    (pp. 3-34)

    Social science literature dealing with phenomena of social, economic, and political change, has in recent years been dominated by the concept of modernization. The fundamental contention underlying this book is that for these purposes this concept is an inadequate tool of analysis, at least in terms of universal applicability. I happen to have arrived at this conclusion through research into one people’s response to certain forms of modern representational institutions, an experience covering 20 years. Any fundamental conclusion (even if essentially negative) based on a single case is obviously itself open to legitimate critical scrutiny, and there is no attempt...


    • CHAPTER 1 Perspectives on Reform
      (pp. 37-74)

      In this chapter I seek to trace the assumptions, interests, and experiences that led Nigerian policy-makers after World War II to decide that, rather than adopt British local political forms outright, it would be better to try to modify traditional emirate institutions to fit the functions and objectives of modern democratic local government. Significantly this policy was couched in terms of a doctrine of “gradualism”.

      In one sense the term served well as a rationale for the deliberate perpetuation of the local traditional emirate system into the new era of British-type parliamentary political institutions at the regional level. Preference for...

    • CHAPTER 2 Devising the Framework
      (pp. 75-120)

      In the preceding chapter I indicated that the doctrine of gradualism was adopted by a heterogeneous group of policy-makers whose disparate purposes the doctrine suited alike. The shape of the reforms they devised as a consequence is the subject of this chapter.

      Gradualism meant that with care and time the basic institutions of traditional government in the emirates could be made to accommodate the essential objectives, norms, and practices of modern democratic local government without sacrificing their integrity or identity as traditional institutions. Stated this way, the new doctrine’s affinity to the earlier philosophy of indirect rule is readily apparent....

    • CHAPTER 3 Ilorin: Revolution, Counterrevolution
      (pp. 121-174)

      In the preceding chapters I have recounted how the various Northern policy-makers arrived at the idea of developing modern democratic local government in the emirates through a gradual fusion, or synthesis, of traditional and modern political institutions. The discussion also showed that the inevitable results of this policy were alternately innocuous measures of reform and recoil from potentially more decisive steps.

      In one notable instance, however, the Northern government, in defiance of the logic of its own policy, countenanced the rapid introduction of a fairly thoroughgoing modern and democratic political structure into an emirate. That instance was the “reform” of...


    • CHAPTER 4 A Survey of the Central Bureaucracies
      (pp. 177-230)

      During the two decades 1946-66 there were in Northern Nigeria 34 units of local government or Native Authorities officially classified as emirates.¹ Although the pre-European traditional political system of these emirates possessed at least most of those features previously described as characteristic of the type, important variations and differences existed among them, some of which, as in Ilorin, had a critical bearing on political development. As Table 5 shows, the existing 34 emirates vary greatly in area, population, and wealth. Such basic conditions as the level of modern Western education, communications (in both the British sense of facilities for the...

    • CHAPTER 5 The Subordinate Councils
      (pp. 231-258)

      The vast majority of local government councils in Northern Nigeria were officially designated subordinate, that is, legally and administratively subordinate to the Native Authorities within whose area and jurisdiction they operated. Subordinate Councils existed at each administrative level below that of the central bureaucracy village, district, ward, and town. Unlike the central councils, almost all of them owed their origin to recent, mostly postwar, efforts to develop popular organs of local government at those levels.¹

      The existence of similarly “new” institutions, the outer and provincial councils, has been noted, along with the fact that they were deliberately kept in the...

    • CHAPTER 6 The Position of the Emirs
      (pp. 259-310)

      So far in this discussion of the administrative and political system of the northern emirates in action I have dealt with the system as a whole, examining it from the perspective of a modern Western, and specifically British, system of local government. In this chapter I have singled out one institution within the complex of institutions which constitutes the traditional system of emirate government and tried to show how it affected and was affected by the various forces of political change up to 1965. Since emirship is the pivotal traditional institution, through tracing its development in this period we can...


    • CHAPTER 7 An Anatomy of Parliamentary Leadership
      (pp. 313-354)

      The focus in the remaining chapters is on the regional political institutions that were introduced into Northern Nigeria in 1946. These institutions were modeled on the modern British system of parliamentary government. As in previous chapters, the context of Part Three is political change and continuity in that region as it existed up to the end of 1965, when civilian parliamentary government was overthrown. Part Three attempts to assess the extent to which these new regional institutions occasioned change in and/or fostered the maintenance of preexisting political patterns in the emirates. The assessment will take us further toward some general...

    • CHAPTER 8 The Dynamics of Political Parties
      (pp. 355-414)

      This chapter examines the impact of traditional emirate institutions, behavior, and norms on the development of the two major Northern political parties of the period, the Northern Peoples’ Congress (NPC) and the Northern (later Nigerian) Elements Progressive Union (NEPU). The dynamics of the parties, in terms of political continuity and change, are revealed through a comparative analysis of specific aspects of their activities—party organization, mobilization of party membership and support, particular strategies and techniques of political action, and ideologies. First, however, it will be helpful to place this subject in historical perspective.

      From the beginning, political nationalism in the...

    • CHAPTER 9 Popular Elections and Neman Sarautu: A Case of Institutional Convergence
      (pp. 415-457)

      In the two previous chapters I contended that in Northern Nigeria under parliamentary government the key political positions were occupied mostly by the traditional ruling class, and that the formal structure of a “modern” political party facilitated this situation. Consequently, the entire political system was one of traditional values and responses. Far from having led inexorably to a profound political transformation, the introduction of modern political institutions resulted, to a significant extent, in their being assimilated into the political habits and norms of the traditional society.

      This chapter deals with another facet of the same themes. In it I attempt...

  8. CHAPTER 10 Conclusion
    (pp. 458-468)

    In the introduction to this book the idea of a valid application to all contemporary “traditional” societies undergoing “modern” influences (I called them “confrontation societies”) of conceptual tools or heuristic devices derived from the Western experience of “modernization” was tentatively challenged in general terms. The widespread attempts to apply a universal model based on those constructs, it was suggested, have led to conclusions about the nature and direction of such societies in general which in particular cases could turn out to be oversimplified or premature. Specifically, I suggested that conceiving of the process of change in confrontation societies in terms...


    • APPENDIX A A Selected Biographical Directory of Northern Nigerian Political Leaders: 1946-1966
      (pp. 471-497)
    • APPENDIX B The Native Authorities (Customary Presents) Orders Publication Notice, 1955
      (pp. 498-502)
    • APPENDIX C Questions For Administrative Officers on Certain Aspects of the Development of Native Authorities, 1946-1959
      (pp. 503-508)
  10. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 509-546)
  11. Index
    (pp. 547-563)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 564-566)