L95 Dual mandate In British tropical Africa, 3 The original of this book is in the Cornell Sir F. D. LUGARD g.c.m.g., c.b., d.s.o. HON. Lugard: The Dual Mandate 2 translated into practice admits of wide differences of opinion and method. Obviously the extent to which native races are capable of. Lugard conceded that British methods had not produced ideal results a strong guiding principle of British rule, part of its “dual mandate” of reciprocal benefit.

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The dual mandate is an expression of the fundamental principles of European imperialism in tropical Africa as theorized by Sir Frederick Lugardthe best known of the British colonial officers to serve in Africa.

In his most important work on British imperialism, The Dual Mandate in British Tropical AfricaLugard craftily articulated the basis for European imperial design in Africa and the dynamics of the colonial administrative system of indirect rule. Britain as a colonizing power thus had a dual mandate: It was a concept in which existing African traditional political institutions were preserved and incorporated into the colonial administrative system for local governance.

Under this system, local administrative powers resided in the native authority made up of traditional rulers or chiefs with jurisdiction over a native treasury and native courts. Lugard believed that, at the grassroots, traditional authority would constitute an effective instrument in enforcing colonial policies, administrating justice in local disputes, maintaining law and order, and collecting taxes. The efficacy of indirect rule thus necessarily rested on the existence of powerful chiefs capable of exercising political authority over their jurisdictions.

As theorized by Lugard, the native authority retained, as much as possible, its traditional powers and character. However, in practice the British turned the chiefs into agents of the colonial administration. These chiefs would lose their political autonomy and become subordinated to the authority of colonial administrative agents such as the resident or the district officer. Ostensibly, the colonial official was a sympathetic adviser and dul counselor to the chiefs; in reality, though, the official would dictate colonial policies and regulations to the chiefs.


The chiefs were expected to transmit these received instructions to the indigenous people and see to their implementation. Colonial policies thus reached the people through their own chiefs firsthand, giving the impression of a native rule.

Such arrangement in which imperial orders were disguised as those of the chiefs ensured quick compliance by the people. Also, indirect rule, by utilizing the traditional elite who exercised local authority directly over the people, minimized contacts between British colonial officials and Africans, which greatly reduced friction between the two groups. In direct rule as a principle of colonial local government became the standard policy in most of British Africa.

Catalog Record: The dual mandate in British tropical Africa | Hathi Trust Digital Library

It was adopted by colonial officials in a number dua British possessions such as Sierra Leone, the Gold Coast, and Uganda. It was in Northern Nigeria, however, that the system had its most profound madnate. Following the subjugation of the Hausa-Fulani inLugard introduced the system among the people.

In practice, it lhgard workable largely because the existing hierarchical political order in Northern Nigeria fit perfectly with the demands of the system. Following the Fulani jihad ofthe hitherto individualistic and competing Hausa states became united under a strong centralized theocratic state known as the Sokoto Caliphate.

The administration of the caliphate came under the central authority of the caliph and a number of emirs who headed sub-units of the state, the emirates. The emirs were highly autocratic. In local governance, they utilized an effective system of taxation and a luhard system based on Islamic law, the Sharia. In Northern Nigeria, therefore, Lugard found the necessary centralized political structure and pre-exiting taxation and court systems critical for indirect rule to work.


The limitations of indirect rule were demonstrated in Mansate Nigeria where Lugard extended the system after the amalgamation of northern and southern protectorates in As governor-general of a unified Nigeria, Lugard hoped that the system would work in the southern provinces. In the southwest among the Yoruba, it encountered some problems and was less successful.

Although, the Yoruba possessed a centralized political system, it was less autocratic than the Sokoto Caliphate.

Catalog Record: The dual mandate in British tropical Africa | Hathi Trust Digital Library

Theoretically powerful, Yoruba traditional rulers, the obas, were restrained by a complex system of checks and balances. Thus, they lacked the authoritarianism of the northern emirs. Lugard aggravated many groups in Yorubaland when he ignored luagrd and arbitrarily elevated the status of some rulers.

The attempts of rulers to forcibly collect imposed colonial taxes bred discontentment in some parts of Yorubaland. Indirect rule was thus less successful here.

DUAL MANDATE, AFRICA (Western Colonialism)

In the southeast, indirect rule proved utterly unworkable among the Igbo and other groups. Unlike northern and southwestern Nigeria, the provinces in the southeast did not possess the centralized political system required for indirect rule to work. The Igbo, for instance, lived in fragmented societies and did not develop a monarchical political institution.

In the place of missing authoritarian rulers, Lugard simply manufactured his own chiefs and equipped them with political authority to rule over a people unfamiliar to a system of kingship. In Igboland, indirect rule without legitimately constituted authority was a total failure.

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