HERODOTUS, the father of history, would be astounded about Nigeria’s decision to remove history from its school curriculum. Bourbons, who disappeared because they did not learn from history, are the best example of the perils of ignoring history, especially dedication to studying it.
Every human endeavour is accompanied by events, which are recorded, stored and retrieved when needed. These advance preservation of knowledge through research, references, securing information, and sustenance of cultures through generations.These, in turn, facilitate discovery of fresh facts, interpretation of old facts, reconstruction of events, resolution of conflicts through emergence of facts, advancing the process of negotiations between individuals, groups and nations. History helps us to preserve our culture and civilisation. Life without history is incomplete since sizeable parts of knowledge, information, artifacts, records, totems among others, could be lost.
Jews survived the Holocaust with history. For Africans taken into slavery, their captors deliberately wiped out their knowledge, purged them of any attachment to their culture, destroyed filial relations and created double consciousness in them.
Later study and knowledge of history enabled Africans and those in the Diaspora to reconcile with their past and rise against slavery, racism, colonialism and injustice.
Official reasons Nigeria advances for expunging history as a course of study are that students are shunning it, as there were few jobs for history graduates, and there is dearth of history teachers. These are excuses.
Nigeria’s abhorrence of history is not new. There is no official account of the Civil War. When we obliterate history, we should also destroy our artifacts, burn our museums and monuments, heritage sites and archaeological activities. A generation of Nigerians without knowledge of history would not appreciate these treasures.
How does a country proceed without a knowledge of it heroes and heroines? History is not just a study of events and dates, it provides analytical insights into social formations, anthropological developments, inventions and innovations that shape humanity.
The roles of history in governance, conflict resolutions, diplomacy and international relations, science and medical studies, technological developments, advancement of civilisations and human relations are vital.
People in knowledge enterprise struggle to eke out a living for themselves and their families because we have substituted knowledge, as embodied in history, for insatiable quest for material gains. Those who succeed in the crass race for material acquisition are society’s heroes and heroines because the sense of the past with its values of honesty, intellectual achievements, and hard work have been lost
.If we do not want to go the way of the Bourbons, we must restore the study of history in our education curriculum and make it compulsory to rescue generations of our society who cultural dilution is making rootless.