“Igbo Land is really quite a small portion of Nigeria… But it has been the most troublesome section of any.”- A British soldier briefing a London campaign on the military difficulties faced by the British in their wars against the Igbos in 1909.
This soldier made this statement 41 years before Nigeria’s independence because the Igbos refused to accept colonialism. In fact, largely because of the Igbos, the British did not fully enjoy colonialism in Nigeria, as this people wouldn’t just agree to become conquered colonial subjects.
When the British decided they would rule Nigeria through indirect rule, it is only in Igbo Land that the people refused, and by the time the Igbos began their protests, the British had to succumb to the will of the people.
When the British introduced crazy taxes on the Igbo, the Aba Women fought them in the Aba Women’s War of 1929, and the Brirish were forced to abandon the unfair taxes. Like Nelson Mandela, the Igbos are known for being ‘trouble makers because they often stand for their rights or for the rights of others.
Recall that The Igbos fought the British in a long and difficult war till 1919. Various high points of that war include the revolt in Udi, 1914; the Kwale rising in 1914; the battles in Oguta, Elele, Bende, Olagiri, Aba, Obete, Obala. Their was also the Ikwo war in 1918, the Aba Women’s War in 1929-to 1930. Recall the Ekumeku Movement that gave the British sleepless nights in Anioma.
This is probably why the British never really liked the Igbos: because of how long it took them to subjugate Ndigbo. And they never really succeeded in that because within a few years an Igbo youth named Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik of Africa) was already fighting them in the media, calling for the British to handover Nigeria to Nigerians.
Needless to say, in 1960, the British, who wanted to avoid a fight, obeyed Zik’s call, and that of the other founding fathers of Nigeria.