CULTURE / HISTORY

Words , History Herbert Macaulay

I saw this in my facebook memory today… While it still resonates, I wonder when we as Nigerians would actually understand the power of words and our history….I don’t understand why we still understand Lagos in this terms… “The real lagosians” “slave descendants” “Brazillians” as quoted below.

“divided politically into groups arranged in a convenient pecking order – the British rulers who lived in the posh Marina district, the Saros and other slave descendants who lived to the west, and the Brazilians who lived behind the whites in the Portuguese Town.
Behind all three lived the real Lagosians, the masses of indigenous Yoruba people, disliked and generally ignored by their privileged neighbours.”

Who are the saros and who are the Brazillians…. does a kidnapped yoruba child forcefully taken to Brazil become a “Brazilian”….Then why don’t we call the many Yoruba people that buy tickets with their own money and travel to Britain …British and only the people than never left Nigeria remain indigenous Nigerians.. It reads almost as though these people stood in line to sign up to be enslaved, or it was this amazing job opportunity or worst still they were born and groomed to get on British/ Portuguese ships and live out their lives in pain and suffering.

Ajayi crowther a Yoruba boy kidnapped and placed on board a slave ship going to brazil before it was intercepted and settled in sierra Leone where he was educated and assumed his historical significance….. He is classified as saro as an “other”…. Till today the amount of Yoruba speakers in Brazil are a huge amount, yet we classify the returnees as Brazilian… I think that is very stupid….especially considering that, The so called indigenous masses were either slave traders, slave merchants or were just lucky enough not to be kidnapped and enslaved.

It is also very ironic that the foundation of our freedom from imperialist were laid by descendants of those sent away from their homes and their motherland in chains..(look at the founding members of the NYM)…..life and its ironies….Because the british used these labels to divide and conquer us, does not mean we also have to use it…..other than that….Herbert Macaulay #role model #poshactivist # nationalist #mypeoplefirst#privilegedpatriot

 

Olayinka Herbert Samuel Heelas Badmus Macaulay (14 November 1864 – 7 May 1946) was a Nigerian nationalist, politician, engineer, architect, journalist, and musician and is considered by many Nigerians as the founder of Nigerian nationalism.

Olayinka Macaulay Badmus was born in Lagos on 14 November 1864 to Thomas Babington Macaulay and Abigail Crowther, children of people captured from what is now present day Nigeria, resettled in Sierra Leone by the British West Africa Squadron, and eventual returnees to present day Nigeria.

Thomas Babington Macaulay was one of the sons of Ojo Oriare while Abigail Crowther was the daughter of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, a descendant of King Abiodun. Thomas Babington Macaulay was the founder of the first secondary school in Nigeria, the CMS Grammar School, Lagos. After going to a Christian missionary school, he took a job as a clerk at the Lagos Department of Public Works.

From 1891 to 1894 he studied civil engineering in Plymouth, England. On his return, he worked for the Crown as a land inspector. He left his position in 1898 due to growing distaste for the British rule over the Lagos Colony and the position of Yorubaland and the Niger Coast Protectorate as British colonies in all but name.

Herbert Macaulay was an unlikely champion of the masses. A grandson of Ajayi Crowther, the first African bishop of the Niger Territory, he was born into a Lagos that was divided politically into groups arranged in a convenient pecking order – the British rulers who lived in the posh Marina district, the Saros and other slave descendants who lived to the west, and the Brazilians who lived behind the whites in the Portuguese Town.

Behind all three lived the real Lagosians, the masses of indigenous Yoruba people, disliked and generally ignored by their privileged neighbours. It was not until Macaulay’s generation that the Saros and Brazilians even began to contemplate making common cause with the masses.

Macaulay was one of the first Nigerian nationalists and for most of his life a strong opponent of British rule in Nigeria. As a reaction to claims by the British that they were governing with “the true interests of the natives at heart”, he wrote: “The dimensions of “the true interests of the natives at heart” are algebraically equal to the length, breadth and depth of the whiteman’s pocket.”

In 1908 he exposed European corruption in the handling of railway finances and in 1919 he argued successfully for the chiefs whose land had been taken by the British in front of the Privy Council in London. As a result, the colonial government was forced to pay compensation to the chiefs. In retaliation for this and other activities of his, Macaulay was jailed twice by the British.

Macaulay became very popular and on 24 June 1923 he founded the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), the first Nigerian political party. The party won all the seats in the elections of 1923, 1928 and 1933.

In 1931 relations between Macaulay and the British began to improve up to the point that the governor even held conferences with Macaulay. In October 1938 the more radical Nigerian Youth Movement fought and won elections for the Lagos Town Council, ending the dominance of Macaulay and his National Democratic Party.

In 1944 Macaulay co-founded the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) together with Nnamdi Azikiwe and became its president. The NCNC was a patriotic organization designed to bring together Nigerians of all stripes to demand independence. In 1946 Macaulay fell ill in Kano and later died in Lagos. The leadership of the NCNC went to Azikiwe, who later became the first president of Nigeria. Macaulay was buried at Ikoyi Cemetery in Lagos on 11 May 1946.

His image adorned the N1 note and today the N1 coin.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s