LAST MAN IN
End of Empire in Northern Nigeria
By John Hare
“… deserves to become a minor classic.” Matthew Parris. The Spectator
I was the last recruit into the Colonial Administrative Service in Northern Nigeria – hence the title of this book. My years 1957 to 1964 coincided with a time of momentous change in Nigeria, a colony when I arrived, it was an independent state when I left, just before a military coup and the onset of the Biafran war.
The first section of the book describes my personal experiences in isolated parts of Northern Nigeria and in the magnificent independence Durbar in the northern capital Kaduna – a unique and unrepeatable colourful cavalcade from all over the North – in which I participated. The second section describes how, through my involvement in two plebiscites, I was brought into contact with rapidly disappearing and now forgotten cultures and customs in one of the remotest parts of West Africa, the former German Cameroons. I was caught up, at a junior level, in unrecorded political events which merit, I believe, a footnote in Nigerian history.
The current enmity between tribal groups and ensuing religious conflict are explained from an historical perspective. This explanation puts the emergence of the current Muslim terrorist organisation Boko Haram and the present religious and political strife in Nigeria into a comprehensible context.