CONCERNED about the vanishing sense of Nigerian history in primary and secondary schools with its attendant consequences on their moral and psychological psyche, stakeholders and opinion moulders have canvassed urgent return of the subject to remedy the situation.
At the publication of a book titled “The Nigerian Century” authored by one of Nigeria’s contemporary journalists, Mr. Dare Babarinsa, at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja yesterday, the stakeholders believed that the future of Nigeria is being threatened with the near erosion of cherished values of Nigerian history, saying that the situation calls for immediate action to stem the tide.
President Muhammadu Buhari, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said that despite the current challenges facing the country, if the right steps are taken, the country could still regain its position in the comity of nations.
The President, who paid tribute to the founding-fathers of modern Nigeria, also acknowledged the contributions of the post-independence leaders, from Tafawa Balewa to Goodluck Jonathan, noting that all of them had made their modest contributions to make Nigeria what it is today.
Obasanjo, who was represented by a former Health Secretary, Chief Julius Adelusi Adeluyi agreed with the President that Nigeria required regeneration, stressing that the current state of affairs in the country was not in the overall best interest of the country’s future.
According to him: “If we don’t have a sense of history, planning and implementation become impossible. It comes across the ages.”
He said the timing of the book was apt because it has come at a when the nation is in need of serious direction.
Tinubu, who was the chief presenter of the book, also warned of the possible consequences of ignoring the nation’s past, saying: “Knowing little about Nigeria, our country, is a peril we cannot afford because ignorance can lead to wrong judgments, wrong prejudices, wrong decisions and conflicts, believing that despite the many challenges, Nigerians have a lot to be proud of. But there is a danger lurking at the corner. Our youths are no longer studying History in primary and secondary schools.
Tinubu, who lamented a situation where a section of secondary schools in Nigeria founded by foreign entrepreneurs teach history of foreign countries to the detriment of Nigerian history, said: “We now have the despairing phenomena where foreigners set up secondary schools in Nigeria to teach history of foreign countries.”
“We have British secondary schools teaching British history in Nigeria. We have Turkish schools teaching Turkish history in Nigeria, we have American schools teaching American history in Nigeria, why then do we Nigerian schools in Nigeria will not teach our own history? How can our children be Nigerians if they don’t know their own history?
“If you are a Nigerian and you know next to nothing about Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikiwe, can you claim to be an educated Nigerian? Yet, some of these youths in 10 or 20 years time may become governors, ministers or even president. Unless we take caution and apply immediate action, there is rough road ahead.”
Those present at the event include former Governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Obong Victor Attah; Chief Olabiyi Durojaiye, FCT Minister, Musa Muhammed Bello, who was represented by Dr. Isa Jallo, two former Managing Directors of Daily Times, Onyeman Ogochukwu and Adinoyi Onukaba-Ojo, Executive Director of Tell magazine, Nosa Igiebor; and former Editor of The Guardian, Mr. Martins Oloja, among others.