This tutorial will take you through the most important reasons why the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society collapsed.
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Despite its modest achievements, the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society did not last long enough to transform itself into a vibrant political party.
Below are the causes of the failure of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society (ARPS) to metamorphose into a nationalist party during the fight for an end to colonial rule in the Gold Coast (Ghana)
1. Introduction of Indirect Rule
The introduction of Indirect Rule divided the front of the ARPS. chiefs and the educated elites. The colonial authorities manipulated the chieftaincy institution to advance the objectives of the policy of Indirect Rule.
One effect of this tactic was that the educated elite began to regard traditional rulers as part of the problem of Indirect Rule which they must fight.
The chiefs, on their part, now saw the Gold Coast intelligentsia as people who were working to undermine their authority as well as their newly-found privileges under the Indirect Rule system.
The chiefs, therefore, decided to abandon the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society.
Thus, the divide and rule tactics of the colonial administration greatly weakened the ARPS.
2. The society lacked dynamism.
The society failed to move with the times. The ARPS continued to use conservative methods which had outlived their usefulness especially during the latter part of the proto-nationalist period.
3. Emergence of the N.C.B.W.A.
The formation of the National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA) – first inter-territorial proto-Nationalist movement in British West Africa quickly made the ARPS almost irrelevant.
Consequently, many leading members of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society defected to join the NCBWA.
4. Slow progress on constitutional reforms
For instance, the society failed in its attempts to bring about adequate African representation in the executive and legislative councils.
5. It lacked mass appeal
The Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society was too elitist. It was largely urban-based, drawing little support from the ordinary people in the rural areas. They could, therefore, not grow rapidly into a mass movement with the requisite support of the people who were the real source of strength in any fight against colonial rule.
6. The death of Kobina Sekyi
Finally, the death of Kobina Sekyi, its last president, in 1956 led to the complete collapse of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society.
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