Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pre-Independence Nigeria

A Nigerian who now lives in the US, wrote in his blog, Bombastic Element about a web site collecting film and video from the British Empire.

Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire holds detailed information on over 6000 films showing images of life in the British colonies. Over 150 films are available for viewing online.

The film he particularly points to is Three Roads to Tomorrow, a 1958 film made by British Petroleum which illustrates the modernizations BP promoted and the hopes for Nigeria's future as an independent nation. It purports to tell the stories of 3 young men who go off to the university from each of the 3 major ethnic groups.

It's 22 minutes long and in 1950's Technicolor. There are glimpses of the modern, pre-independence Nigeria. There's little or no commentary to provide context about things like how widespread or widely available the modernity is. The three students were extraordinarily fortunate and rich Nigerians. The father of one was an emir and owned a 1955 Chevrolet and flew his son and his friends to the northern city where he ruled a small territory.

I'd like to recommend this because it does offer an interesting introduction to Nigeria. But the modernity that British Petroleum was anxious to show off is all that's in evidence. And the pacing of the story telling is much slower than what we expect in story telling or advertisements today.

Still, it might fit well with your plans for teaching about Nigeria.

Others available online at the Colonial Film site are:
  • Nigerian Independence Celebrations, 01/10/1960
  • Giant in the Sun: A study of Northern Nigeria as it prepares for self-government, 1959
  • Spotlight on the Colonies (a brief survey of progress made by the British Government in helping forty separate colonial territories to raise their standards and increase their wealth), 1950
  • Nigeria's First Women Police, 1956

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