Is Nigeria Afraid of Her own History?
Dictionary.com defines history as continuous, systematic narrative of past events as relating to a particular people, country, period, person etc. usually written as a chronological account’.
It may seem that Nigeria has a chequered history judging from the past events which really did shape the nation we call Nigeria today.
First, the amalgamation of 1914 saw the merging of distinct Northern and Southern protectorates together as a country regardless of the absence of homogeneity among the complementary elements of the merger.
What ensued afterwards, even before, during and after the Independence of 1960 will more suitably be referred to as the consequences of that marriage. Should we say that the constituent parts are not compatible with each other or that the basis of that marriage isn’t tenable anymore. Perhaps the architects of the marriage had a personal cum selfish interests than the co-existence of the individual components of the marriage.
Nevertheless, at a time, the history of the country became a sour wound, whose mentioning will always evoke that emotion imbued with sentiments. The recollection of the events that shaped the country would rather not be mentioned because of its attendant consequences of whipping up emotions that would rather be left smothered. With the evident ethnic cum tribal sentiments very obvious in the polity and how these sentiment avail themselves daily on the lives of the people as Nigerians, the history becomes even a crime on its own.
The much of the Nigerian history may not be found in a book, generally agreed upon as having contents that are deemed a true reflection of the sojourn of the country so far. As such, it will be utterly dangerous to whip up that sentiment in the first place.
Fast forward to the 21st century, a bill, titled “A Bill for an Act to Make History a Core School Subject in Nigeria’s Primary and Secondary Schools and for other Related Matters,” was proposed by Ayodeji Oladimeji from Ekiti State. The proposed legislation was rejected by the House of Representatives after members raised concerns about the implication of a language in it.
Mr. Oladimeji’s purpose of crafting the bill was to address widespread ignorance of Nigerian history – and even major historical events around the world – among Nigerians in primary and secondary schools.
Overtime, there has frequent calls for history to be restored into school curriculum.
Wole Soyinka had sometime decried the removal of history which he believed would result in a lack of adequate education for teenagers.
“I learnt not so long ago that history has been taken off the curriculum in this country. Can you imagine that? History?” Mr. Soyinka, a professor, said. “What is wrong with history? Or maybe I should ask, what is wrong with some people’s head?”
The Federal Government recently ordered the inclusion of history in the curriculum of both primary and secondary schools in Nigeria. This in recognition of its significance on the Nigerian child self identity on who they really are.
The all time importance of studying and reading history was captured by Publius Cornelius Tacitus, a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire when he said “history serves as a guide, an example and a warning. Out of the pages of history we may gather practical wisdom by applying the lessons of the past to the problems of the presence”.
The Federal Government will do well to implement the re introduction of History to our school curriculum.