The Administrative Structure in French West Africa
The French System of Administration in West Africa was a highly centralized Federation of all her territories with administrative headquarters in Dakar. A colonial Governor-General headed the Federation. Each colonial territory was headed by a Governor who took directives from the Governor-General. The Governor-General was under the control of the Minister of colonies in France. French used a direct rule system in local administration.
Each territory was divided into circles or provinces. Each province was under the control of a Provisional Commissioner. Circles were further divided into cantons divisions, each controlled by district officers. Cantons or Villages made up the divisions. These were controlled by African village headmen or carton chiefs. The French adopted a direct rule in local administration. They removed many of the paramount Chiefs who resisted French rule and appointed puppets who were willing to obey the local French officials.
In the Federation and Colonies were advisory councils. Members of the councils were nominated by the Governor-General and the Governor respectively. Neither the Governor nor Governor-General was bound to take their advice.
Educated elites were absorbed in the administration of the colonies.