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34 YEARS AFTER: Historians count Nigeria’s losses without History curriculum

By Ola Ajayi

IBADAN— PROMINENT historians have said the cancellation of  the History subject from the curriculum of secondary schools across the country by the Federal Government in the last 34 years, has done unimaginable damage to the country.

BOOK PRESENTATION: From left: Dr Saka Balogun, chief launcher; Alhaji Oladiti Oladapo, Chairman of the occasion; Prof. CBN Ogbogbo; Prof Bolanle Awe, book presenter; Mr Gbenga Adefaye, GM/Editor In Chief, Vanguard Newspapers and Prof. K L Ayorinde, Vice Chancellor Kola Daisi University during the presentation of a book, History for Senior Secondary Schools, written by Rasheed Olaniyi at Kola Daisi University, Ibadan yesterday. Photos by DARE FASUBE.

Though, they commended the government for retracing its steps by reintroducing the subject, the   historians believed that if the government had left the subject in the curriculum, it could have prevented   restiveness like the Boko Haram insurgency and herdsmen attacks.

Speaking at a book launch that held at the Kola Daisi University, Ibadan, in Oyo State, Dr Rasheed  Olaniyi, who authored the book entitled: ‘History for Senior Secondary Schools’, said: “We have lost so much in the past 34 years when the Federal Government cancelled History from the secondary school curriculum. Perhaps, if the subject had not been cancelled, people like Ibrahim Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, could have studied History and he may not have taken up arms and started this unnecessary destruction of lives and property.

Also, the General Manager/Editor-in-Chief, Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye  underscored the importance of History in national development.

Adefaye harps on history

Mr Adefaye  who was a co-launcher at the event said: “It is instructive that almost after 30 decades of taking History out of the curriculum of Nigeria, it has been restored. The powers-that-be that took History out of the curriculum also took out Religious Studies; they also took out Physical Education.”

This, he said, led to the retrenchment of teachers in the second republic stressing  that, “Now,  I tend to wonder, if we don’t teach History, how do we know our past? How do we plan for the future? If we don’t teach religious studies how do we check morality? But right now, I’m happy that common sense has returned. We have now realized we have to teach History. We now know, we have to teach religious studies in order to teach morality in our secondary schools.”

On the lackadaisical attitude of children to reading, he said: “They are either texting or wasting their time on the internet. The country will be the loser on the long run. So, as parents, we owe it as our duties to put libraries in our homes and buy books for our children and encourage them to read these books. Through this medium we improve the educational capabilities of our children.”

We neglect our history—Ogbogbo

Before unveiling the book, the Head of Department of History, University of Ibadan, Professor Ndubuisi Ogbogbo expressed dissatisfaction at the way the government trivialized the History subject.

Ogbogbo said: “In this country, we tend to neglect our history. Elsewhere like in Japan, as an author, you can write any textbook you like but you can’t write about their history because it goes through a lot of processes and then government will have to approve it.”

Also in attendance  were the first Professor of History, Mrs Bolanle Awe; ormer Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Dr Saka Balogun; Prof. Adigun Agbaje, former Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan and Prof K.L Ayorinde.


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.