Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Unternehmer und Grundherren Nord-Nigerias im Kampf um die politische Macht: Zum sozialen Aufstieg der einheimischen Wirtschaftselite in den nigerianischen Emiraten

Kohnert, Dirk (1978): Unternehmer und Grundherren Nord-Nigerias im Kampf um die politische Macht: Zum sozialen Aufstieg der einheimischen Wirtschaftselite in den nigerianischen Emiraten. Published in: AFRIKA SPECTRUM , Vol. 13, No. (3) (December 1978): pp. 269-286.

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Abstract

The traditional relationship of patronage and clientship between the landlord- and the growing commercial class in Bida and other Nigerian Emirates - firmly established during the 19th century - left indelible marks which influence the pattern of social communication between these two classes even today. Up to the fifties of the present century there existed a strong interdependence between the landed aristocrats — dominant in government and Native Administration — and the rich merchant-traders who took up the burden to act as “ bankers" of the traditional leisured class in order to promote their own social status. The indigenous entrepreneurs gradually became more independent as the traditional rulers had to offer popular businessmen participation in political organisations to counteract the increasing resistance of the talakawa (the commoners) against the emirate system during the era of formal democracy (1954-1966). The national bourgeoisie of the North seized this opportunity to call for a higher degree of protection both against the more successful merchant-capital of the South and the powerful foreign companies which at that time dominated nearly all of the profitable sectors of investment either in trade or in industry. Far from being a fetter to the growth of a new class of Nigerian entrepreneurs, the traditionally minded landlords - side by side with the indigenous merchant-traders - secured a remarkably high degree of economic growth and independence during the past two decades in the North, compared with other parts of Nigeria.

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