Effects Of Colonialism In Nigeria

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Nigeria is the largest country in Africa in terms of territory and population; this abundance in human and material resources purports an ability to overcome its vicious cycle of poverty and autocracy. Despite being independent from Britain’s colonial rule for nearly six decades, Nigeria’s hopes for a breakthrough have been continually stifled. Logically, it follows that issues within a state that has been autonomous for half a century should be blamed on domestic influences; this assumption, however, neglects the impact of path dependency on a developing nation. Changes forced upon the country in both the pre-colonial and colonial eras had consequences that continue to affect the nature of Nigeria’s economic, social and political system. Many theorists, including Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson in their book Why Nations Fail, posit that the low level of development in countries like Nigeria can be explained by their long history of “extractive economic and political institutions.” These harmful policies are part of deeply rooted historical processes and reveal the delayed development of centralized political entities compared to the Western world. Though Nigeria does have its fair share of self-imposed issues, the predominant forces precluding Nigeria’s developmental success are the negative impacts of the slave trade, the extractive nature of colonial rule and legacies of colonialism since independence. The pre-colonial period in Nigeria is characterized by the slave
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