Advantages, Disadvantages of Indirect Rule and why Educated Elites Opposed Indirect Rule System
Advantages of Indirect Rule:
(i) It recognized and preserved African culture and tradition.
(ii) It ruled the people through their traditional rulers. It used the traditional rulers as a link to their people.
(iii) It contributed to training traditional rulers in the art of modern local government administration.
(iv) It recognized and modernized local institutions like courts, laws, customs and political institutions.
(v) It stimulated the spirit of nationalism in British West Africa.
(vi) It was an easy and cheap method of administration.
(vii) Indirect rule improved the tax collection system for running the government.
(viii) It enhanced the maintenance of law and order.
(ix) It promoted political consciousness among the people.
Disadvantages of Indirect Rule System:
(i) Indirect rule excluded educated elites from colonial administration.
(ii) It increased the powers of traditional rulers without regard to in-built traditional checks and balances.
(iii) It imposed warrant chiefs and taxation where there were none. This made indirect rule unpopular and caused riots e.g. Aba Women’s riot of 1929, the Iseyin Riot of 1918, Abeokuta Riot of 1937.
(iv) It introduced divide and rule, and the result was tension, rift, and misunderstanding between the traditional rulers and educated elites.
(v) The system was autocratic. Some colonial authorities had the power to override the decisions of the native administration.
(vi) The system did not encourage the development of traditional institutions since colonial officials formulated policies. The traditional rulers only implemented these policies.
(vii) It slowed down the pace of constitutional development and delayed the independence of West African colonies.
(viii) It had no regard for African customs and traditions as it removed and appointed traditional rulers indiscriminately.
(ix) The system made the chiefs corrupt e.g. embezzlement of taxes, Forced labour, and Misappropriation of Funds.
Why Educated Elites Opposed Indirect Rule System:
(i) Indirect rule system was foreign. It was very different from the traditional system obtained in Southern Nigeria, where the powers of traditional rulers, were not absolute.
(ii) The system failed to recognize and assign any role to the educated elites.
(iii) The system used divide-and-rule tactics. It encouraged division between the traditional rulers and educated elites.
(iv) The colonial officials were autocratic.
(v) The system was undemocratic. Most of the Africans included in the government were nominated by the governor. Even when the elective principle was introduced in 1922, only four representatives of the people of Southern Nigeria were elected.
(vi) Most traditional rulers were illiterates and were easily manipulated. They were just puppets to the colonial administration.
(vii) The system encouraged bribery and corruption. Some of the traditional rulers, in some cases, misappropriated the taxes they collected.
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