The Nation as Corporation: British Colonialism and the Pitfalls of Postcolonial Nationhood in Nigeria

Benjamin Maiangwa, Muhammad Dan Suleiman, C. A. Anyaduba

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This article re-examines the British colonial policy of indirect rule in Nigeria. Moving away from extant scholarly attention on this colonial policy that focuses on governance through local or native authorities, we focus rather on British colonial rule through imperial companies. We argue that the British colonist did not conceive of or organize "Nigeria" as a "nation", rather it was administered as a business enterprise in which the Crown depended on companies to "govern" its Nigerian colonies. Accordingly, the idea of the nation as a business enterprise defined its subjects and resources in ways that produced problematic notions of nationhood imagined in corporate terms. The net effect of this dimension of indirect rule through imperial companies is that "Nigeria" has remained imagined and governed not as a nation-state but as a corporation. We suggest that the challenges of postcolonial nationhood in Nigeria derive impetus largely from this conception and management of colonial Nigeria as a corporation. Our aim is to conceptualize the colonial corporatization of Nigeria, and describe the ensuing patterns of violent relations in its postcolony. © 2018 Peace and Conflict Studies. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalPeace and Conflict Studies
Volume25
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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