Nigeria

Akoko Communities, Environs, and the Colonial Rule

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Written by Tadese Faforiji

Clarifications

Colonization is aptly an act whereby a ‘superior’ race or ethnic dominates a less powerful one, and this act is mostly followed by all sorts of exploitation of the conquered nation’s natural resources.

Without further ado, it is an act of cultural, political, socio-economic, and religious domination of a powerful body over the weak one.

In this case, colonialism and imperialism are actually different from colonization. While imperialism is the thought stressing the course of colonization as it enhances a nation’s ‘cultural’ expansion, and colonization becomes the execution of this thought; colonialism is a thought, theory, and feelings that support imperialism and colonization.

The examination of colonial rule in Akoko land is an assessment of the colonial era in the Akoko communities. Notably, colonial happenings in Akoko land were not strange to other places in Nigeria, but some specific occurrences made this region to be slightly different from others; though had some similar features with other Yoruba communities.

 Akoko Communities

Akoko is a cluster of 45 (forty-five) communities, among which are but not limited to Ikare-Akoko, Akungba-Akoko, Isua-Akoko, Arigidi-Akoko, Irun-Akoko, Afin-Akoko, Oka-Akoko, Ise-Akoko, having different dialects, cultural affinity, and slight differences in their monarchical system of government.

The advent of the British official in these regions has little or no difference from that of Akure, Owo, Idanre, Okitipupa, Ikale, and Ilaje lands. In a chronological manner, the features of colonial rule in these lands will be examined. It is, however, epochal to note the autochthonous system of administration cum the socio-economic and religious settings prior to the coming of these imperialists who shattered the primordial system of the people.

The colonial rule.

Political Institution

In reality, the monarchical system of government was (not ‘really’) the system of government that prevailed in pre-colonial Akoko land prior to the coming of the colonial power.

But with slight differences ranging from one community to another, it can be averred that there was always a central political figure (Oba) at the highest position of authority.

The Obaship institution was that of authority and power. The king has the absolute power to make a decision and he was theoretically an all-powerful king. However, his excesses could be checkmated through the institution of the (advisory) chiefs and other offices in the administration.

Notably, the system made provisions for local representation through the office of Olori Ebi and other useful offices, representing the local masses.

The availability of this system made the British colonial power introduce the indirect rule system—governing the people through their already established institution. The chiefs were used to govern the people.

Features of the Rule

One of the features of colonial rule in Akoko land was the introduction of the ‘Native Authority’ which shattered the indigenous system of administration. This actually became one of the most prevailed impacts of colonization, as the political system of the people prepared for the intake of intruding practices that were alien, loosely defined, and inglorious to the autochthonous practices of the people.  

At this juncture, it is important to detail the nature of the included chiefs. These were illiterate chiefs who could not read or write. Dr Ehinmore, assessing the treaties signed between these chiefs and the British officials called them unclear treaties with ‘vague promises’.

Since the chiefs were far from literacy, they ended up signing treaties they knew nothing about and this later led to the gradual exploitation and intrusion of their lands especially from 1920 upwards.

Seclusion of the Educated Elite

As discussed above, it can be deduced that the colonial system dejected the participation of the educated elite. Just like other communities closer to Akoko like Akure, Idanre and others, the educated elite found themselves ousted out in the new political setting.

The system did not only disrupt the already established political structure but also negated the inclusion of the educated elite in the administration. This led to revolts and counter-suppression between the indigenous educated elite and colonial officials.

Despotism and Dislocation of Human Dignity

Moreover, it birthed and encouraged despotism in the political realm, and also led to the dislocation of human dignity and identity. The kings, finding themselves at the highest position of authority and having been sublimated politically by the colonial masters, became despotic and unquestionable. Dancing to imperial tune, they kept commanding and governing their subjects according to the wishes and caprices of British officials.

There were constructions of roads (for their selfish interest). Initially, the economic need due to the strategic location of Akoko brought these colonizers to this region. In order to perfectly exploit the agricultural products of this region, “unwide shoulders of road” as well as bridges were constructed to ease the task of transferring those goods to Europe to encourage high productions in European industries.

For an instance, the construction of the main road from Owo leading Akungba and later Ikare down to Arigidi-Akoko evidenced the desperation of the British government to exploit these people.

This act later would make this region a raw-producing region in the world market by the twentieth century and later in the arrangement of the world economy, making them subservient to economic decisions made in Europe.

Akure and Idanre Kingdoms

Furthermore, the introduction of an obnoxious taxation system was also a prominent feature of colonial rule. The system of taxation was not only unequal but also oppressive. The absolute monarchs were responsible for tax collection from the people.

Sometimes, police were engaged in collecting taxes, and at times dire punishments like beating were condign to tax evaders. It led to many revolts against the colonial officers and later against colonization. The Ogun Okuta (1931) neighbouring Akure gave a quintessential picture of similar revolts against the satanic taxation system.

Overview: Idanre Under Colonial Rule 

As in Idanre, the traditional method of land distribution was put paid to, due to the penetration of the colonizers under the pretext of settling land disputes. The colonial power wanted to see Idanre under the sphere of Lagos, which was already under the British influence managed by Gilbert Thomas Carter.

They claimed to be an advocate for peace due to unending nature of the Idanre civil crisis, but unfortunately, they had coveted the timbers in Idanre forest, and this practically led to the fall of the autochthonous system of land distribution and the disruption of aboriginal identity and dignity.  

The Christian Missionaries

The Christian missionaries oversaw and championed the colonization process in the name of evangelizing Christianity and promoting trading activities in the region. Though schools were built, a school teacher was automatically a pastor, systematically disrupting the basic religious system and subsequently introducing alien thoughts and practices like ‘feminism and indecent dressing’.

Conclusion

Summarily it is obvious that the peopling of Akoko, Ikare, Idanre, and others as mentioned above had a blissful system for management of politics, economy, socio-culture, and religion before the coming of the British colonial power who with colonization disrupted the very existence of an autochthonous system of the peopling.

Citation: Tadese Faforiji. (Mar 27, 2021).Akoko, Akure, Idanre, Owo, Ikale and Ilaje lands under Colonial Rule. Retrieved from https://www.tadexprof.com/2021/03/an-examination-of-akoko-under-colonial.html

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About the author

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Tadese Faforiji

I am Tadese Faforiji, a history student of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State- 21st-century University, properly called. I am a blogger and an avid writer.

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