This paper is about cocoa-induced conflict between the Ibadan and the Ijebu, two Yoruba sub-groups of southwestern Nigeria. Although historians have examined the socio-economic impact of cocoa, they have however downplayed how it created violent conflict. I examine the interrelatedness of the transformation of land tenure system and economics of cocoa production to show that although the colonialists, and the Ibadan and the Ijebu claimed that land/boundary was the main source of conflict, in reality it was cocoa. Cocoa conflict realigned an indigenous culture of political allegiance, created new methods of litigation and arbitration, and rendered the colonial legal system incapable of solving a conflict that had strong impact on the imperial treasury. As it turned out, the “conflict” not the “law” or “court” dictated the pattern of resolution and compromise. If crude oil is a major source of tension between the Nigerian state and the Niger Delta region since the 1970s, cocoa during the colonial period negatively impacted the colonial economy and reconfigured the pattern of relations between the natives and the British imperial authority.


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pp. 176-195
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