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The title of my presentation is derived from the speech at a Colonial Service Dinner in 1913 by Lord Harcourt the then Secretary of State of the Colonies, (after whom Port Harcourt was named). He summarized in a humorous metaphor, the dependence of Northern Nigeria on the British Treasury for sustenance, when he said:
“we have released Northern Nigeria from the leading strings of the Treasury. The promising and well-conducted youth is now on an allowance “on his own” and is about to effect an alliance with a Southern Lady of means. I have issued the special license and Sir Frederick Lugard will perform the ceremony. May the union be fruitful and the couple constant! The Nigerias are not designed to be a great “Trust” but a great “Federation”.
I shall attempt, within the short time and space available, to examine whether after 102 years of this “marriage”, Nigeria has been “fruitful”, “constant” and, above all, a great “Trust” or a great “federation” I will leave you to decide whether the marriage has failed in any or all the aspirations enunciated by Lord Harcourt.