• J. N. C. Hill


Nigeria has long been stalked by failure. From the moment it achieved independence its demise was predicted. Its name was not coined until the late nineteenth century and was not some ancient title brought back to life by either a colonial officer with an eye to the past or an enthusiastic nationalist eager to reassert an ancient heritage. Rather it was the invention of a journalist who went on to marry the man who became its first Governor-General.1 Even then, it originally did not apply to all the lands it was eventually to cover.2 From the beginning it was a partial name imposed from without on just some of the fragmented territories over which the British held sway.3


Public Good Armed Force Failed State Niger Delta Basic Health Care 
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  1. 1.
    Flora Shaw first proposed the name ‘Nigeria’ in an essay published in The Times on 8 January 1897. She married Sir Frederick Lugard in June 1902. Lugard first served as High Commissioner of the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria from its creation on 1 January 1900 until November 1906. He was later Governor-General of the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria from 1 January 1914 to 8 August 1919. For a thoroughgoing account of Shaw’s life see E. Morberly Bell, Flora Shaw (D.B.E.) (London: Constable, 1947).Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Eghosa E. Osaghae, Nigeria since Independence: Crippled Giant (London: Hurst, 1998), p. 2.Google Scholar
  3. 17.
    For a fuller explanation of the concept of imagined communities see Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (2nd ed.) (London and New York: Verso, 1991).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© J.N.C. Hill 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. N. C. Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s College LondonUK

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