Apr. 5, 2013
by Lekan Abayomi
NewsRescue– I am Lekan Abayomi. Some of you may know me as a historian, others as a revisionist historian. But to myself, I simply believe I am a human being on the simple worthwhile quest for truth, peace and justice.
You’ve probably heard of and/or read the legendary “Harold Smith narrations,” and “confessions,” of a colonialist about the Nigerian North-South population census demographics of Nigeria. This was the pre-independence census of 1952-1953.
For those of us who have not read it, here is a clip from the very poorly worded document, published and circulated by a certain ‘M.B.B.S Dr.’ O A Olagbaiye in 2007.
Here on Nairaland http://www.nairaland.com/73798/legendary-harold-smith-speaks-nigeria , posted here also on Vanguard by Tunde Adekoya: http://community.vanguardngr.com/profiles/blogs/legendary-harold-smith-speaks and in so many fora online.
The important excerpt follows:
Legendary Harold Smith Speaks about Nigeria ‘hidden Agenda – Excerpt of A narrative by:
Dr. O A Olagbaiye, MBBS. FRCS
Subject: Legendary Harold Smith Speaks about Nigeria ‘hidden Agenda – Excerpt of A narrative by:
Dr. O A Olagbaiye, MBBS. FRCS
Good to remind ALL of us of this. Please read on:
The man Harold Smith is not new in Nigerian history. He is one of the architects of colonial foundation that midwife Nigerian independence in 1960.
I met him in a meeting three weeks ago where he opened up a bit about the lingering problem in Africa especially; Nigeria unbalanced protracted social political situations. We asked if he could make this known to the media. His response was “I am in my 80s now; I have agreed but in the past ‘they’ did not want me to say anything, but now I don’t want to go to my grave without telling the truth about the atrocities perpetrated in Africa by the colonialists.
Brothers and sisters; on Ben TV last Thursday, Harold Smith was on a program to reveal what went behind the scene before the independence. The Oxford University graduate had this to say about his role in Nigeria pre and after independence era.
‘Our agenda was to completely exploit Africa. Nigeria was my duty post. When we assessed Nigeria, this was what we found in the southern region; strength, intelligence, determination to succeed, well established history, complex but focused life style, great hope and aspirations… the East is good in business and technology, the west is good in administration and commerce, law and medicine, but it was a pity we planned our agenda to give power “at all cost” to the northerner. They seemed to be submissive and silly of a kind. Our mission was accomplished by destroying the opposition at all fronts. The west led in the fight for the independence, and was punished for asking for freedom. They will not rule Nigeria!
Harold Smith confessed that the Census results were announced before they were counted. Despite seeing vast land with no human but cattle in the north, we still gave the north 55 million instead of 32 Million. This was to be used to maintain their majority votes and future power bid. He stated that the West without Lagos was the most populous in Nigeria at that time but we ignored that. The north was seriously encouraged to go into the military. According to him, they believe that the south may attend western education, but future leaders will always come from military background. Their traditional rulers were to be made influential and super human.
Facts from Malicious Conspicuous Fabrication
This particular interview and document has been the fuel of grave insult, inter-ethnic beef, discredit and destruction on the Nigerian blogosphere.
But what brings its resurrection today is my decision out of an inborn curiosity for the truth, to study the matter in my usual methodical way.
Within 5 minutes of reading this, I was ashamed and highly disappointed in all the Nigerians who had read and cited this material.
Can ethnic bigotry really render a person so blinded, even when facts stare them in the face? And I did not absolve the Northerner of this feeling of disappointment, because either he is too nonchalant or preoccupied with lord-knows-what, to simply correct all of us, or maybe they did write, but we did not see it because they have less media and fora social presence, or we were too bitter and blinded to notice our folly when we did come across it.
What? Harold Smith said he gave the north 55 million in the 1953 census?
But the total figure for all Nigeria in that particular census was 31.6 million.
How could he have possibly said they gave the north 55 million, several million above the total result released for the entire population of Nigeria?
Nigeria – Census History
Although numerous estimates of the Nigerian population were made during the colonial period, the first attempt at a nationwide census was during 1952-53. This attempt yielded a total population figure of 31.6 million within the current boundaries of the country. See: http://www.mongabay.com/reference/country_studies/nigeria/SOCIETY.html
I have not watched the Harold Smith interview on Ben TV. I could not get the video online. But such a grave mathematical boner as documented and widely spread by the “M.B.B.S Dr.” O A Olagbaiye, smacks of dis-ingenuity, dishonesty and if from the late Harold Smith, it can only be attributed to senile issues. He was in his late 70s.
But my main contention is with the educated Nigerians who have passed this bold error on, repeatedly in discourses and publications online without even considering the material they were patronizing. It’s a shame. Perhaps Harold Smith said the right thing, but the wrong thing that spread and we spread, tells what we have become – Carrion eaters.
In my pursuit of truth, I decided to dig deeper.
The next thing I noticed was that Harold Smith according to his memorial website, was only posted to Nigeria in 1955.
Now, I know he was involved in Nigerian affairs before visiting Nigeria for the first time, but how true could his alleged account be on making the census based decisions if and when the then 26 year old young man only got to Nigeria in 1955? You can view the Harold Smith memorial here: http://haroldsmithmemorial.wordpress.com/ This rather unusual website appears created by Nigerians, some of a “Movement for National Reformation,” oddly infatuated with Harold Smith. The likes of Olufemi Adefolaju and Taiwo Akinola write his eulogies and make podcasts of him.
I wish he were still alive to answer some of these very important questions. But should we really still be dealing with this decadent historical nonsense?
Next, with the editors of NewsRescue, we looked into Nigerian census data pre 1952. The crux of the matter that is used to cause discord is the proposition that the Southern population was and is actually larger than the North, which spans over 2/3rds of Nigerian land mass.
Harold Smiths mathematical boo-boo has been used to justify this position based on an impression that Harold Smith and his ilk manipulated the figures to enable the North win in election manipulations.
But this again is completely false.
Older Censuses Always Gave 55%
Nigeria had its best and more accurate censuses prior to this thumped 1952/53 record, and the figures were consistent with a similar ratio.
The 1921 census results gave the northern province a total of 10.26 million count and the south, 8.37 million.
Another census carried out in 1931 likewise gave the north a total count of 11.4 million and the south, 8.5 million.
So could there have been an epidemic in the north or massive carting away of northern slaves to overturn this trend? There’s no such event we are aware of. Considering Nigerian emigration, statistics show a higher disparity in favor of southern emigration.
The clip below from AllAfrica portrays the reliability of these prior census counts.
The first attempt to know the Nigerian population was in 1921, which could be regarded as the best and the properly-controlled census in Nigeria. The most successful censuses after the first were those of 1931 and 1952/1953. These three censuses were conducted under and by the colonial administration. http://allafrica.com/stories/200605120171.html
It’s a really sorry road that the so-called intellectual Nigerians are treading. There is an obvious desperate effort to skew all events and poison minds of people against each other in social and physical terrorism.
Conspiracy To Disintegrate Nigeria?
What can Harold Smith and his friends’ intention be, for spreading this false and dis-unifying information across Nigeria? Does Harold and/or his friends wish to promote blood-shed and terror by stoking fires of suspicion, distrust and hate?
Related: NewsRescue- Nigeria Targeted For Destruction: Gordon Duff, US
If you look at both previous censuses, before Harold was said to have come in and “given the north 55%,” the ratio of north to south was always 55 to 45, both in 1921 and 1931. And we don’t see the north with their religious family beliefs as having a lower but rather a higher growth rate. So perhaps Harold was saying – they in 1952 simply applied the same 55% north ratio without bothering to complete the count. In which case, the north could have actually been higher by then.
Was Harold all about justice or he was a white activist who hated the north for various sentimental reasons? Or perhaps he was just trying to sell his book and as such, falsehoods were promoted to stoke controversy and hike sales. In the conversation on census, “vast land with no human but cattle,” is clearly a statement of someone with little to no education.
Even distinguished professors like late Chinua Achebe in his last book, “There was a country,” http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/10/chinua-achebe-biafra-and-the-travesties-of-war/ and Leonard Karshima Shilgba an Associate Professor of Mathematics with the American University of Nigeria, as can be seen here: http://saharareporters.com/article/nigeria%E2%80%99s-seven-secrets-and-inevitability-sovereign-national-conference-part-1-leonard-karsh have not been left out of quoting the Harold Smith mischievous detritus script. Despite being a mathematics professor, Shilgba did not question such document, but swallowed and promoted the mathematically repugnant material knowingly or unknowingly to the triumphant glory of ethnic strife.
Harold was queried on why he was just making these “revelations,” to which he responded about some sort of “appropriate time.” What is appropriate about the time, other than an alleged prediction by government quarters of the USA about a risk of ethnic fragmentation in Nigeria. Does he and his friends and fans think Nigerians are uneducated dumb puppets? We feel insulted at the cheap level of fabrication they invested in to plant discord in us.
Comments and threads in news media articles and fora show growing, explosive anger between Nigeria’s major ethnic groups. Southern groups are most represented, attacking either themselves or the north, while the north hardly talks or typographically represents itself.
“Tribalism” and Ethnic Disunity
Simple google searches show the ethnic aggregation as we find tons of “Igbo,’ fora, hundreds of Yoruba internet fora, numerous Niger Delta fora, but for the north, I was only able to find http://Gamji and a new http://Fulaniforum.com . Nothing else. This blogosphere skewing paves a path for lopsided discourse, interaction and history record and documentation, because in the world as we know it, history is merely his-story. What is said the most becomes truthy – a word coined after G. W. Bush used the novel method of deliberately manipulating public opinion via a firm presentation and re-presentation of non-facts. Today we know the Iraq war was purely for oil. So much for truthism.
We can only blame the north for being too media-silly, taking from the words purported to Harold Smith.
Talking about colonial insults, it is interesting to recognize that no group in Nigeria had impunity to this and the Hausa’s who today it is convenient to discredit, have actually received the highest praise at some points.
An account below of another notable colonial officer to Nigeria, Esme Gordon Lennox -book can be read at this link: http://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC15740755&id=To4KM4GualgC&pg=PA29&dq=yoruba&as_brr=1#v=onepage&q=fulani&f=false – in contrast to the alleged description of Harold Wilson, described the Hausa’s as the most superior of all west African coast tribes, both intellectually and physically, adding that they already had written language for over 100 years. Globally traveled merchants with the widest spoken language and being Muslims, were his reasons for the Hausa’s advanced development, when compared to all other “Pagans.'”
Together or Peacefully Apart – The Way Forward
For Nigeria to move forward, Indigenization must be scrapped. If you live anywhere long enough, you should be a citizen of that area, and able to contest for governorship elections there. Obama, the Kenyan mans son would never be allowed to contest for president of Nigeria. Think of this.
Rotation of presidency too must be dumped in the gutter. All we need rotate is great, decent, wise, intellectual people. I found impressive the well defined statement of one of the most respected northern spiritual leaders, Sheikh Sani Jingir, who declared “Rotation of Presidency,” non democratic. This is the way we must think.
An outstanding Northern leader and 2012 winner of the Classic Africa Merit Award (CAMA) as “outstanding religious leader of the year,” the National Chairman, Council of Ulama of Jama’atul Izalatul Bidia Wa Ikamatus Sunnah, Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir said that rotation of power from one part of the country to another is undemocratic under a true and practical system of modern democratic culture. https://newsrescue.com/nigeria-rotation-of-power-is-not-democratic-sheikh-sani-jingir/
It is time as I heard in a very intelligent lecture -Nigerians need to talk less, do some- by a young physician, for Nigeria to put its past behind it, colonial and leadership woes, and behave as intelligent human beings, non-tribal, non-racist, non-sexist, non-xenophobic; being flag-bearers of civilization, “civil,” included in the term, for which Africa after all is the cradle. No nation on earth as he said, stays fixated in its bad past as we Nigerians do. These guys did theirs, what are you doing? What am I doing, other than lying, whining and bickering? We must quit this rubbish spite-full history mischief and write our new history our alive-selves. Every Nigerian Do Something! Positive! http://ENDS.com.ng. Or zip it! That’s my take.