THE ROLE OF SIR FREDERICK LUGARD IN THE NIGERIAN HISTORY
Sir Frederick John Dealtry Lugard was born on 22 January, 1858. Between 1901 and 1928 he served as British soldier, explorer and colonial administrator in many parts of Africa and Asia. Sir Frederick Lugard, as he was fondly called, was the first High Commissioner of Northern Nigeria from 1900 to 1906. He served as the last Governor of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate (1912-1914), and the last Governor of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate (1912-1914).
Sir Frederick Lugard was the first Governor General of Nigeria from 1914 to 1919. He was born in Madras (now Chennai), India, where his father, Reverend Frederick Grueber Lugard served as a Christian missionary and British Army Chaplain. He was raised in Worcester, England. Before his appointment to the Distinguished Service Order in 1887, Lugard had served the British Army and fought many wars in Afghanistan, Sudan, Burma and Nyasaland between 1878 and 1888. He explored the Sabaki River for the British East Africa Company.
Subsequently, he served as the Military Administrator of Uganda, 1890-1892. In 1894, Lugard secured treaties with the kings and chiefs of the Borgu region, Central Nigeria on behalf of the Royal Niger Company. He was appointed by the British Government to organize a native army to protect British interest in the hinterland of the Lagos Colony and other parts of the Nigerian area against the French incursion. He expanded the native army to become the West African Frontier Force, until the French incursion ended in 1899. Thereafter, he was appointed the High Commissioner and proclaimed the protectorate of Northern Nigeria. For his activities in the colonial conquest, he was knighted in 1901 with the title of (Sir).
Lugard ensured effective conquest of Northern Nigeria and administration before he resigned as the High Commissioner in 1906. After six years in Hong Kong, Lugard returned to Nigeria in 1906 and served as the Governor of the Northern and Southern Protectorates. He introduced the policy of Indirect Rule and made use of traditional rulers in the administration of their communities. By so doing, Lugard was at logger-heads with the African educated elite, who criticized his colonial policies. In order to facilitate easy administration, Lugard amalgamated the Southern and Northern Protectorates in 1914. This gave birth to the Modern Nigerian nation. It is important to note that, his wife, Flora Lugard, a famous British journalist working with The Times Newspaper of London was said to have named the amalgamated protectorates as Nigeria. The name is derived from the River Niger. Between 1914 and 1919, he was the Governor General of the colony of Nigeria. In 1919, he retired from colonial service in Nigeria. Lugard authored a book on colonial administration in Nigeria with the title, “Dual Mandate”.