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Colonialism by Proxy

Hausa Imperial Agents and Middle Belt Consciousness in Nigeria

Moses E. Ochonu

Publication Year: 2014

Moses E. Ochonu explores a rare system of colonialism in Middle Belt Nigeria, where the British outsourced the business of the empire to Hausa-Fulani subcolonials because they considered the area too uncivilized for Indirect Rule. Ochonu reveals that the outsiders ruled with an iron fist and imagined themselves as bearers of Muslim civilization rather than carriers of the white man's burden. Stressing that this type of Indirect Rule violated its primary rationale, Colonialism by Proxy traces contemporary violent struggles to the legacy of the dynamics of power and the charged atmosphere of religious difference.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

When I began this book project in 2007, my aim was to explain why the colonial form practiced in the Nigerian Middle Belt deviated so drastically from the familiar, fetishized British system of indirect rule. I wanted to engage in a simple corrective scholarly endeavor to highlight the limitations of the indirect...

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pp. xiii-xviii

This book has been at least six years in the making. It has mutated along the way to respond to shifting research and epistemological priorities and to the robust input of many individuals and institutions. I am indebted to them all. Major research for the book was funded by a grant from the Harry Frank...

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Introduction: Understanding “Native Alien” Subcolonialism and Its Legacies

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pp. 1-21

On February 24, 2004, ethno-religious violence erupted in the small town of Yelwa, Plateau State, in the Nigerian Middle Belt. A multiethnic coalition of self-identified Hausa and Fulani Muslims attacked non-Muslim ethnic communities within the town, maiming, killing, and looting. On May 2 and 3, non-Muslim...

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1. The Hausa-Caliphate Imaginary and Ideological Foundations of Proxy Colonialism

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pp. 22-44

British-supervised Hausa-Fulani colonization in the Middle Belt has a long, scattered, but recoverable ideological history. The reconstruction of this history entails two interrelated quests. One is a search for the origin and development of a Hausa-caliphate colonial administrative imaginary in the osmotic interplay between...

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2. Zazzau and Southern Kaduna in Precolonial and Colonial Times

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pp. 45-76

Colonial remodeling of the Southern Kaduna geopolitical area along caliphate emirate lines was authorized by the logic of uniform, cheap, and expedient administration. The legitimacy of this project relied on two other interrelated phenomena. One was a pattern of precolonial caliphate imperial practice that incorporated...

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3. Emirate Maneuvers and “Pagan” Resistance in the Plateau-Nasarawa Basin

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pp. 77-105

More compelling and unique examples abound of precolonial caliphate ventures and the ways in which they sparked resistance and adaptations among non-caliphate peoples, eventually contributing to the emergence of a subcolonial system that fobbed off power to Hausa-Fulani personnel. In the Bauchi-Plateau...

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4. Hausa Colonial Agency in the Benue Valley

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pp. 106-128

The Benue Valley borders Southern Nigeria. It is easy, therefore, to assume that because of its geographical and cultural distance from the defunct caliphate and its proximity to Southern Nigerian culture, the influence of Hausa colonial agents could not have been as profound there. To the contrary, British colonialists...

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5. Fulani Expansion and Subcolonial Rule in Early Colonial Adamawa Province

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pp. 129-156

In July 2011, the Nigerian federal government announced a decision to change the name of the Federal University of Technology in Yola to Moddibo Adama University of Technology. The change was made, the government claimed, to honor the most prominent leader of the Fulani jihad in the Upper Benue Valley...

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6. Non-Muslim Revolt against Fulani Rule in Adamawa

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pp. 157-178

The implementation of a Fulani-centered colonial rule in Adamawa Province among the Chamba people in particular highlighted several foundational problems while eliciting backlash and intermittent, largely cosmetic, reform. As Fulani rule in the province transitioned into the second half of the colonial period...

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7. Middle Belt Self-Determination and Caliphate Political Resurgence in the Transition to National Independence

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pp. 179-206

As national political independence drew closer, the anxieties of regional minorities erupted into the political arena with unprecedented intensity. In Northern Nigeria, Middle Belt separatist mobilization reached a new height. The struggles of the Chamba, Alago, Katab, Kilba, Batta, Marghi, and other non-Muslim...

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Conclusion: Subcolonialism, Ethnicity, and Memory

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pp. 207-222

There is, at least in the field of African studies, a rich and growing literature on imperial mediation, on the political repertoires of indigenous colonial elites, and on their brokerage of colonial relations. But we have yet to articulate in a coherent conceptual or empirical vocabulary colonial administrative arrangements...


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pp. 223-224


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pp. 225-226


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pp. 227-252


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pp. 253-262


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pp. 263-274

About the Author

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pp. 275

E-ISBN-13: 9780253011657
E-ISBN-10: 0253011655
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253011602

Page Count: 294
Illustrations: 5 maps
Publication Year: 2014