UNTIL NIGERIA HAVE HER OWN HISTORIAN…
It was Marcus Garvey who said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture are like a tree without roots.”, and as we all know a tree without roots is bound to collapse or wither away anytime soon.
The importance of history in the growth and development of a nation can never be overemphasized; it is the bedrock upon which earnest and determined nations lay the building blocks of their development. History is known to convey one or two lessons to people; how some people rise and what made them rise, how some fall and what warrant their fall. History teaches lessons and that is why George Santayana said:“Those who do not learn from their history are doomed to repeat it.”
The general thought is that history aspires to common sense: couples that do not learn from their histories are bound to break up; friends who do not revere their history are bound to split same way a nation which doesn’t take cognizance of its history is bound to have no peace which will in turn hinder the development and growth of such a nation.
There is no gainsaying the assertion that Nigeria’s history has hindered her development as a nation and it has also prevented the positive and beneficial cultivation of her moral and social values than it has promoted it. Chinua Achebe said: The only thing we (Nigeria) have learnt from our experience (History) is nothing, from the 1914 amalgamation; to the independence of 1960; to her attainment of a republic in 1963; to the various coups that truncated her democracy at various points; and last but not the least, the not wanted to be talked about Civil War, Nigeria has shown herself to not have learnt anything from all these events that make up her history. This not encouraging stand is further buttressed by the inglorious removal of the subject “History” from the Nigerian educational curriculum which left the majority of the new generation bereft of the knowledge of their past and ipso facto accepting the distorted, dissimilar, incoherent and inconsistent versions of their history told to them by external bodies; which has seen, as frequently led to conflicts, grudges, frictions, chaos and no love among her citizens of one tribe over another.
“Until the lions have their own historian, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter” said Chinua Achebe. Until Nigerians are been exposed to their history in its pure form; given full enlightenment about these past events; shown the mistakes and consequences of the mistakes in these past events; shown ways of preventing the reoccurrence of such mistakes in future and finally taught the lessons to learn from these past events, then, and only then will our her history become a tool that will promote her development as a nation and cultivate the right moral and societal values among her citizens.
Abdulfatahi Ishaq A.