(i) Subsistence and Commercial Activities:
Agriculture is the main economic activity. Grain is the staple diet, including Guinea corn, millet, maize, and rice. The Hausa also grow and eat root crops and a variety of vegetables. Cotton and peanuts are processed and used locally, but part of the harvest is exported. The Hausa practice intercropping and double-cropping; their main implement is the hoe.
(ii) Industrial Arts:
There are full-time specialists only where there is an assured market for craft products. Men’s crafts include tanning, leatherworking, saddling, weaving, dying, woodworking, and smithing. Iron has been mined, smelted, and worked as far back as there are Hausa traditions.
Trade is complicated and varied. Some traders deal in a particular market, as distinguished from those who trade in many markets over a long distance. This dual trade strategy, augmented by the contributions of the Cattle Fulani, enabled the Hausa to meet all of their requirements, even during the nineteenth century.
(iv) Division of Labor:
Hausa society traditionally observes several divisions of labor: in public administration, it is primarily men who may be appointed, although some women hold appointed positions in the palace. Class determines what sort of work one might do, and gender determines work roles. When women engage in income-producing activities, they may keep what they earn
(v) Land Tenure:
The rural householder farms with his sons’ help; from the old farm, he allocates to them small plots, which he enlarges as they mature. New family fields are cleared from the bush.
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(i) Common language: Though there are variations in Igbo language,but all the communities that made up iboland understood themselves and that helped to bring them together as one entity.
(ii) Supreme God:The ibos believed in the supreme God called Chukwu or Chinese who made everything in the world and that it was equally responsible for the happening of every event in
(iii)Age Grades:These age grades carry out a lot of uniting work,maintained peace and order,acted as army that warded off external attack,saw to the sanitation of the communities.
(iv) Marriage: Polygamous form of marriage that common in the pre-colonial era widened the scope of unity and co-operation among the various communities that inter-married.
(v)Trade:The various communities in iboland,had rotatory form of markets and people moved from one community to another to trade and this acted as a unifying factor.
(vi) Simple form of Government:The simple form of decentralized system of government of the igbos,made it possible for families and clans believe in common descendance from the same ancestors to have equal opportunity in airing the various views of members of their families and these united them.
(vii)The same cultural patterns:The various ibo societies apart from having age-grades ,had one form of title holding or the other like new yam festival,birth, marriage and burial ceremonies; secret societies like okonkwo ,Mwamwu,Ekpe,Akpaniko etc.
i. The Nature of Islam:
The nature of Islam as a religion accepting polygamy to some extent, its tolerance of traditional African religions, its simplicity of doctrine and mode of worship helped propagators to make converts in Africa. These factors also made Islam easily adaptable to the African communities with which it came in contact. Again, the Islamisation of Africa was paralleled by the Africanisation of Islam. The making and sale of charms and amulets, which were believed to offer protection against evil forces and generally ensure success in life, were important in winning over converts.
Another major reason that led to the rapid spread of Islam in West Africa was the trans-Saharan trade network. From the seventh century onwards, Muslim traders from the Maghreb and the Sahara started settling first in some of the market centres in the Sahel and then in the Savanna areas. Al-Bakri, a renowned Arabic Scholar and merchant wrote in 1067, that the capital of ancient Ghana was already divided into two parts; about six miles apart, the Muslim traders’ part which had as many as twelve mosques and the King’s part had one mosque for the use of the king’s Muslim visitors. It was these resident Muslim traders who converted the rulers and the principal local town’s people to Islam. Also, according to Kano Chronicles, during the reign of Yaji, the King of Kano from 1349 to 1385, the Wangarawa came from Melle bringing the Mohammedan religion. These examples grew the process of Islamisation or conversion to Islam, as it gathered momentum.
iii. Activities of Muslim Clerics:
Islam also spread into West Africa through the activities of Muslim clerics, marabouts and scholars or mallams. These clerics or learned men founded their own religious centres which attracted students from all parts of the Western Sudan and who on the completion of their studies and training went back to their own homes to win converts. Many of them went on lecture or missionary tours to convert people, while others became advisers to Sudanese Kings on how to become effective rulers. Some clerics devoted a great deal of their time to writing books and instructions on all aspects of Islam for the education and conversion of people or the purification and strengthening of Islam. Some examples of clerics follow:
Ibu Khadija al-Kumi, a Muslim missionary and Abu Ishaq al-Sahili, a poet, scholar and architect from Granada were both invited by Mansa Musa to accompany him on his return from his celebrated pilgrimage in 1324/5. Both of them settled in Mali where they taught Islam. Al-Sahili also designed the great mosque of Timbuktu as well as a magnificent palace for Mansa Musa in the capital of Mali.
Again, the great Mande scholar, Abd Rahman Zaite (now identified as Abd al-Rahman Jakhite) settled in Kano on the invitation of Rumfa, the King of Kano. He built a mosque and introduced the practice of Koran recital and other devotional exercises.
Another brilliant Berber scholar called Abd al-Rahman al-Maghili (1477-78) established his Zawiyaie Islamic school in Tuat in the Sahara, and from there went on a missionary tour of the Western Sudan which lasted from 1492 to 1503. During this tour, he visited Air, Takedda, Kano, Katsina and Gao and preached to both rulers and commoners.
iv. Activities of Rulers:
Islam gained ground in West Africa through the activities of the individual rulers. The rulers of the Western Sudan encouraged the trans-Saharan trade and extended hospitality to both traders and visiting clerics, but perhaps one of the most important ways in which they encouraged acceptance of Islam was through their own conversion. With a Muslim King or ruler it rapidly became a matter of prestige among the aristocracy also to convert to Islam in many kingdoms. Many rulers made considerable efforts to encourage Muslim institutions such as Islamic tax and legal systems or the provision of facilities such as mosques, through the appointment of Muslim officials such as judges and butchers who observe the Islamic code and to lead prayers, celebrating Muslim festival and ordering every town under their control to observe the ritual prayers. The pilgrimages that many of the rulers undertook – such as Mansa Musa and Askia Mohammed — had a considerable spiritual effect increasing their determination both to strengthen and purify Islam and to spread it even further.
v. Holy War:
What is more, another way in which Islam was introduced and spread in West Africa in general and the Western Sudan in particular was the militant jihad, or the waging of holy war against infidels or lukewarm Muslims. This method allowed the third and final stage of the process of Islamisation to reach its climax with the nineteenth-century jihad in the Western Sudan, between Mali and Senegambia and Hausaland in northern Nigeria.
The first jihad in the Western Sudan which has accounts was that waged by the head of the Sudanese confederation. It was Tarsina against the Sudanese people in 1023, soon after his return from the pilgrimage to Mecca. He was killed during these clashes. The second is that of the King of Takrur, War-Ajabbi, before his death in 1040. The third and the best known of these early jihads was the one declared by the Almoravid movement of ancient Ghana between 1048 and 1054 by the scholar, Abdallah Ibn Yasin. Between 1056 and 1070s, the Almoravid conquered the whole area between ancient Ghana and Sijilmasa. By 1087 the Almoravid Empire stretched from the Senegal in the south across the Mediterranean to Spain in the north.
Islam also spread on to West Africa through inter-marriages. The Muslim merchants from North Africa came down settled and married the African women who became Muslims including their children.
(i) Improved health care: Before the entry of the British into Nigeria, the country experienced significantly high infant mortality rates. These were attributable to underdeveloped healthcare systems. At the time, some of the ailments could not be identified, making it tricky to come up with a remedy. When the British came, the situation improved through improved literacy and knowledge. Infant mortality was reduced since citizens could tell the causes of certain diseases as well as their cures. It is worth noting that healthcare improvement, as other advantages of colonialism, happened through imperialism.
(ii) Infrastructural development: Like many other African countries, the colonial masters introduced numerous infrastructural developments in Nigeria. These include electricity networks, rail lines, seaports, bridges, and roads. While most of the original colonial-era projects no longer exist, they formed the basis upon which the country’s modern-day projects are based on. People in pre-colonial Nigeria relied on traditional modes of transport such as walking on foot and the use of animals. The infrastructural changes significantly impacted the citizens’ lives, making it easier and faster to move from one point to another.
(iii) Introduction of money currencies: In pre-colonial Nigeria, the prevalent form of business was barter trade. This involved the exchange of goods with other goods, a system ridden with numerous challenges. The colonialists then introduced money currencies, making it easier to trade and do business. In 1912, the British introduced the first silver coins in the country. Around the same time, the West African Currency Board was created. Besides the money currency, the British also introduced the banking system in Nigeria, further simplifying trade in the country.
(iv) Economic dependence and resource exploitation: While colonialism brought infrastructural and technological development to Nigeria, it was also a form of extreme exploitation. The basic idea behind colonization had aspects of economic dependency baked right into it. The British took the country’s resources, land and mineral included, leaving the natives dependent on them to generate funds.
(v) Loss of culture and identity: When the colonialists took over the country’s rule during the colonial era, the natives suffered a massive culture and identity loss. The British brought and imposed their culture, language, behaviour, beliefs, and other ways of life on the Nigerians. This then led to the natives abandoning some of their customs and culture in favour of those brought by the colonizers. For most natives, though, the conformity to the new way of life was more out of fear of the colonialists than a belief in their ways of life.
(i) Ethnically based Federal Regions, with uneven size and power:
The first structural weakness which set the First Republic in Nigeria for political crisis was its ethnically- based federal regions and the asymmetry in size and power between them. Upon independence, Nigeria was composed of three federating regions: Northern, Eastern and Western regions. (Later in 1963 a new region, the Mid-West, was carved out of the West following a crisis in that region). Each of the regions was dominated by one of the country’s three largest ethnic groups: Hausa-Fulani in the North, Yoruba in the West and Igbo in the East. This arrangement presided over by the dominant ethnic groups placed minorities at a considerable disadvantage in the competition for jobs and resources at the regional level.
(ii) Ethno-Regional Political Parties:
The second structural weakness which afflicted the First Republic was the emotive association between political party and ethno- regional identity. This meant politics largely “revolved around ethnic-based regional…parties”. Reflecting the tripodal ethnic balance, three parties bestrode the political scene like titans and thus shaped the destiny of the First Republic: Northern People’s Congress (NPC), the Action Group (AG), and the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC). All three parties originally emerged out of ethno-cultural associations: NPC from Jam’iyar Mutanen Arewa (Association of Peoples of the North) AG from Egbe omo Oduduwa (Society for the Descendants of Oduduwa.
(iii) The political alignment which formed after the 1959 election:
It can be argued that the political constellation which emerged after the 1959 election was the most potent of the young republic’s structural weaknesses. It had huge impacts on the stability of the soon to be an independent nation. The North-South governing coalition between the NPC and the NCNC, variously described as “unnatural”, a coalition of “strange bedfellows”, only accentuated the republic’s structural imbalances. On immediate observations, it was certainly a partnership of unequal – with the NPC being by far the more powerful of the two governing parties. This meant the NCNC was always acutely sensitive to the tenuousness of its share of power.
(iv) The fear of ethnic domination:
The last and deepest of the structural weaknesses was the fear of ethnic domination which pervaded the politics of the First Republic. The Yorubas and Igbos in the two southern regions feared that the Hausa-Fulanis would use the North’s demographic preponderance to perpetuate northern hegemony and monopolise federal resources for their region; Hausa-Fulanis, in turn, feared that in an open contest, the Yorubas and Igbos, being the more educated, would dominate the political and economic structures of the federation.
(v) The disintegration of the AG, 1962-63:
The collapse of the AG’s political power between 1962 and 1963 produced far-reaching effects. The crisis that engulfed the party stemmed from its “staggering defeat” in 1959. It had been ‘relegated’ to the opposition. The NCNC had made impressive inroads into its regional heartland, securing for itself 21 seats in the AG’s political turf by exploiting minority discontent within the Western Region.
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