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By Sule Mohammed


The book is a study of the administrative changes that took place among the Gbagyi people in Northern Nigeria to 2000. It starts by looking at the environment and origin of the Gbagyi before focusing on the administrative system of the people before British occupation. It then proceeds by demonstrating how the administrative system was distorted under British colonial rule and how the British system resulted in the appointment of a paramount chief for the Gbagyi at Minna. The study further shows the administrative changes that took place after colonial rule, resulting in the appointment of the emir of Minna, in 1981; and sa-Gbagyi at Kakau, in 2000. The book is an essential reading for not only academics, but also those concerned with governance.

The book, which is based mainly on research conducted for a thesis, completed in 1988, for a Master of Arts degree of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, entitled, “The Impact of British Colonial Rule on the Gbagyi, 1900-1960: A Study of Political Change”, seeks to explain the administrative changes that took place among the Gbagyi, to 2000 AD. It demonstrates that the system of administration practiced by the Gbagyi before the coming of the British became subjected to serious dislocation when the British began imposing their colonial rule on the Gbagyi.This brought about administrative problems for the Gbagyi and the British themselves.  It was in order to solve the problems they faced in administering the Gbagyi and other groups in Nigeria that the British carried out administrative reforms in the country between 1931 and 1935. Further administrative changes among the Gbagyibetween 1935 and 2000 produced a paramount chief, with headquarters at Minna, who, in 1981, was elevated to the position of emir of Minna; as well as sa-Gbagyi, with headquarters at Kakau, in 2000.

            It is in attempt to achieve the aim of the study that the book has been divided into six chapters.  Chapter one discusses the environment and origin of the Gbagyi.  This is principally aimed at locating the present Gbagyi areas and also to show where the Gbagyi originated from.

            Chapter two focuseson the administration of the Gbagyi areas before British occupation.  The administrative system of the Gbagyi is examined.  It is shown that many Gbagyi communities were not under highly centralized administration, but operated their separate administrations.  It is argued that although there was some influence of the highly centralized state system on the Gbagyi administrative system, the influence did not result in general interference with the Gbagyi system by the highly centralized states.

            In Chapter three, British occupation of Gbagyi areas from 1900 to about 1917 is examined.  It is shown that although the British were successful in their efforts to occupy the Gbagyi areas, the occupation was not an easy exercise.  The Gbagyi put up serious resistance to the British occupation of their areas.

            Chapter four focuses on the establishment of British colonial administration in Gbagyi areas from 1900 to 1931.  It was during this period that the Gbagyi administrative system was disrupted by the British as a result of their imposition of “Indirect Rule” system on the Gbagyi.  The administrative problems this brought about for the Gbagyi and the British are explained.

            Chapter five examines the attempts made by Donald Cameron to solve the administrative problems the British were facing in administering the Gbagyi and other groups in Nigeria by trying to reform colonial administration during the period of his governorship in the country; and the impact the reform efforts made on the Gbagyi.

            Chapter six looks at the administrative changes that took place among the Gbagyi from 1935 to 2000, which produced a paramount chief among them, who was elevated to the position of emir in 1981; as well as sa-Gbagyi, in 2000.  

At the end of the study, there are bibliography, index, maps and appendices.

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