Every present has a past, and tomorrow holds no hope if today dies.
As much as I want to agree with the short quote above that holds a deeper meaning than meets the eye, it is so sad that the Nigerian governments always are known to toe the part contrary to human, capital, and national developments.
More often than not, the national government’s decision-making at finding a solution to the nation’s plight, most times, if not always, compounds the problem the more. One now begins to wonder if the case of Nigeria is that of the blind leading the blind on sightseeing. It has always been this way ever since Nigeria gained its independence in 1960.
Nigeria as a nation has never for once produced a leadership with a clear-cut vision on how to propel the nation to where it ought to be, from where it was, is, or had always been.
A Nigerian would leave his abode, sojourn in a foreign country, and in no time, start doing exploits in the host country. He excels in leaps and bounds against all odds till some of the host nation’s inhabitants will start to envy him largely because he came, saw (worked hard), and conquered (excelled) because he was able to harness the vast opportunity that abounds in that foreign state to his advantage.
You would agree with me that those opportunities did not drop from the sky there; it was made possible and laid down there for the people by a responsible government to make life better for each and every person. Good Policies with immediate implementation makes a society worth living and identifying with. Who would not want to identify with that?
A good policy framework with a blueprint on how to turn such paperwork into a full-blown venture that in turn will be for the benefit of her citizens are what governments across the globe are busy implementing and/or are known for.
It is a competition out there; a government in country A does something worthy of emulating, next thing, other countries of the world will immediately adopt, adjust and implement such a solution in their society to further upgrade the living standard of their people.
On the contrary, Nigerian policymakers are far from reality because the decisions they make for the people most times are not grounded let alone rooted in line with development.
Such was the case when the Nigerian government decided to remove the study of History from the educational curriculum. It is a shame that such a move by the government will deny Nigerian children access to information about their country’s history and principles, as a result of an ugly policy by their irresponsible leaders that removed history from the curriculum.
Recent events have demonstrated that a lack of a realistic understanding of history will only widen the hole of hatred. Furthermore, the fact that history is repeating itself in many facets of Nigerian society, even as public officials and politicians mix historical facts to manipulate citizens, has thrown the country into disarray, a sad indication of Nigerians’ lack of historical awareness. Indeed, Nigeria’s dilemma is now a crisis of incoherence, resulting from a failure to understand, appreciate, and know history.
After the 1969 National Curriculum Conference, which resulted in the approval of a National Policy on Education and the subsequent adoption of a 6-3-3-4 educational system, the onslaught on history began.
Following the meeting, there was a gradual drop in History education in Nigerian schools, culminating in the subject’s removal from the 2007 curriculum, which was enacted in the 2009/2010 academic session
The official reasons provided at the time were, among other things, that students disliked History, that there were few employment available for History graduates, and that there was a shortage of History teachers. Regrettably, there is no official record of the 1967–1970 Civil War in Nigeria today.
After seven years, the government concluded that the decision was incorrect, and in 2017, the Nigeria Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) announced that History would be reintroduced as a subject in the 2018/2019 academic year.
After the National Council on Education (NCE) approved the subject’s reinstatement, the NERDC Executive Secretary, Prof. Ismail Junaidu, announced that the curriculum would be stand-alone and taught from primary school through JSS III. The Federal Government released a new curriculum for teaching and learning the topic in primary schools across the country in 2018. The new curriculum was accepted by the NCE at its 63rd meeting in Kano in June 2017.
In the last 40 years, given the scenario, it appears that the restriction on the teaching of History in Nigerian schools was intended to impose collective amnesia on the population and mentally dislocate Nigerians, whether intentionally or unintentionally. When the World Bank pushed on redesigning the educational curriculum in 1980 under the guise of History’s non-viability as a course of study, it could not have been doing the country any favours.
Ironically, today’s world powerhouses did not and have not done away with History as a subject in their educational curricula. It is even required at their institutions throughout first year in higher education levels. They understand, as do all visionaries of successful civilizations, that education is the backbone of History, without which a society cannot and will not flourish. History has been a wonderful teacher of civilisation from the household to the state level. Without History, children are unable to learn, and states are unable to establish policies. As a result, the assertion that History is incompatible with economic development is false.
History is important as a subject of study and as an intellectual means of political, social, and economic development, not just for the sake of certification, but also for the sake of intellectual rebirth and cultural revival, which will allow the country’s educational system to enrich the minds of young Nigerians. Proper historical awareness will enable every Nigerian to comprehend that the country belongs to everyone, not just a small group of miscreants attempting to rewrite history, allowing for a better understanding of the nation.
The need for adequate documentation for Nigerians from all walks of life, even if it is unpalatable, is also predicated on history. When history is incorrect in content or form, as Nigerians have done in the past, it can be changed. It will also allow people to go forward and handle problems with decency and respect for the people.
The restoration of History to primary and secondary schools has been met with enthusiasm as one might expect. The ministries of education, information, and culture, as well as their parastatals, should promote compulsory but real teaching of the country’s history as a matter of policy in order to foster this revitalized interest. This is required in order to safeguard the country’s cultural and intellectual heritage for future generations.
In addition, state governments should take the bold step of establishing mini-history museums in various local government buildings, as practised in more enlightened cultures, in partnership with private sector projects. This will also make educational tours easier and provide an inventive method to learn about history.