Anti-Colonial Uprisings in Yoruba Land and the Challenges of Constitutionalism

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International Journal of African Culture and Ideas


The unfriendly economic and taxation policies of the British government and other tax-related considerations were significantly responsible for the Africans defiance of British colonialism in south-western Nigeria. Using both primary and secondary source materials, this article examined how the Native Court pursued the interests of the colonial authority, both as tribunals of justice and the executive arm of government, and thus, contributed to the expansion of British influence in colonial south-western Nigeria. It found that the British colonial authority adopted ordinances and legislation to safeguard its political and economic interests through the instrumentality of the Native Authority. It also found that the colonial edifice of Native Authority transformed the indigenous traditional authority (chief) into a petty legislator, administrator, judge, and policeman, all rolled in one, who was only answerable to the white official stationed in his state as advisor, and who quietly remained in the background. Using the 'Ijemo incident,' the 'Adubi Uprising' and the IseyinOkeiho revolts in Yoruba land in Nigeria as case studies, the paper then concluded that the British colonial government's meddlesomeness in the affairs of the indigenous people led to the breakdown of traditional institutions, which consequently resulted in the intensification of British capitalism, a development that was offensive to the indigenous people, It also concluded that anti-colonial uprisings in Yoruba land were generally the fallout's of British colonial government's legislation and ordinances, procedures which were considered too intrusive, abrasive and burdensome for the indigenous people to bear.




words, Burdensome, British, Colonial, Riots, Taxation, Constitution