The Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria were amalgamated on January 1st 1914 by Lord Frederick Lugard. He was the governor of both the Northern Nigeria Protectorate and the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria.
Before then, these protectorates were individual regions governed differently. The British decided to combine these protectorates in order to reduce administrative burden on the British, and to allow the rich south to effectively subsidize the much less economically prosperous north.
When the Northern and Southern protectorates were to be joined, the nationalists we know of now were still very little. Nnamdi Azikwe was only ten years old, Obafemi Awolowo was five years old, and Ahmadu Bello was four years old.
Many Nigerians wonder if there were parties from the Southern and Northern protectorates who partook in the amalgamation, or if the signing of the document was exclusively done by the British in the absence of the people involved.
According to Binna book magazine, there were only 28 individuals who had an involvement in the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria. Out of the 28 people present, there were only 6 Nigerians. The other people involved were British Citizens.
The Nigerians present at the signing are listed below. They are:
1. His Royal Highness Sarkin Mussulumi, the Sultan of Sokoto
2. Usuman Dan Maje who later became the Emir of Kano
3. His Royal Highness Oladugbolu, The Alaafin of Oyo
4. Sir Kitoyi Ajasa, a lawyer
5. Abubakar Shehu of Borno
6. His Royal Highness R Henshaw, The Obong of Calabar.
Although at that time, there were powerful Igbo kings, yet none was recorded present. Some of the Igbo kings at that time were The Obi Okosi of Onitsha, Eze Nri Obalike, etc..
Although the reason for the absence of the Igbos at the amalgamation is not clear, some argue that it was because they opposed it.
According to The Cable, Orji Uzor Kalu, the former governor of Abia state wrote in his autobiography that:
“The Igbos did not have a say as to whether they desired to be a part of such contraption or not. However, the clouds lifted so briefly and the Igbo enjoyed brief sunshine in Nigeria in the decade before and a few years after independence”.