Reasons Why the Educated Elite Opposed Indirect Rule in British West Africa

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Opposition to indirect rule in British West Africa intensified between the two world wars of 1914 – 1945.

Proto-nationalist groups like the National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA) as well as radical freedom fighters like Kwame Nkrumah saw many weaknesses in the system. They initially called for reforms and later, a total dismantling of colonial rule.

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Reasons for opposition to Indirect Rule

Below is a summary of the reasons why the educated elite opposed the Indirect Rule system in British West Africa

1.Exclusion of educated elite from government e.g. legislative and executive councils

2. Slow pace of constitutional reforms needed to give Africans more say in their government.

3. Slow socio-economic development (roads, railways, schools, hospitals etc) in spite of exploitation and export of natural resources – gold, cocoa etc.


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4. Distortion of the chieftaincy institution. They resented the situation where chiefs lost their traditional legitimacy and became corrupt yes-men or stooges of the colonial government.

5. Absence of an arrangement for training future African leaders. There were no creditable or clear programmes aimed at training Africans to rule themselves in the near future.

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Ralph spends his day working as an online entrepreneur and e-learning strategist. He is a freelance writer, website designer and WordPress trainer. Ralph is the CEO of RN Digital Media Ent, a digital publishing and content marketing company he founded in 2017. He blogs on and BloggingtotheMax.

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