Indirect rule is a colonial system of administration, whereby, African traditional rules were involved in administering their fellow Africans at the local level while the colonial officials and administrators administered at the higher level.Indirect rule was pioneered by Sir Fredrick John Lugard who was the British High Commissioner to Nigeria in 1990. The strength and weakness of indirect rule includes:-
1. It avoided African resistance by appointing traditional rulers to rule on their behalf. Hence, all complaints were directed to traditional African rulers.
2. It was cheap, as local chiefs were used to mobilize their people to pay taxes and work as forced laborers.
3. Indirect rule created imbalance of development among African states. Areas which had local chiefs assisting the colonial government had development on social services like schools, hospitals and roads while those which had no chiefs in their areas had no or inadequate social services. Such situations had led to many conflicts among Africans after independence.
4. It had created social differences among Africans. The chiefs’ families and loyal families got privilege of getting social services such as education, hospitals and many more while the rest of the community were not getting such facilities.
5. Tribalism developed as an impact of indirect rule. African chiefs who were entrusted to rule on behalf of colonialists considered themselves superior to other in their land. For example, Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda created disunity among Ugandan when he declared the Buganda kingdom independent in 1960.
6. African chiefs became puppets of the administrators and did not serve their people.
7. The indirect rule cemented centralized bureaucracy through the use of the district commissioners.