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Typologies of Public Service in Pre-Colonial Nigeria

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The world is now better informed about the pre-colonial history of Africa, thanks to the combined efforts of modern Africanists based mainly in Africa, Britain, France and North America. Their findings have shown, beyond reasonable doubt, that not only homo politicus but also homo economicus had existed in Africa before the advent of the imperialists. The rise and fall of great empires like Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Oyo, Benin and the Sokoto Caliphate are notable milestones in African historiography. Fundamental to the political and economic exploits of any human community known in history is a coherent administrative organisation. Evidence of such abounds in the polities that eventually emerged as Nigeria between 1900 and 1914. The Sokoto Caliphate, among others, provided goods and services through recognisable public services, typologies of which constitute the focus of the present paper.


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