Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has described the study of history as the key to national development and promised that his administration would encourage it.
Speaking in Ilorin while receiving members and leaders of the Historical Society of Nigeria (HSN) at the Government House, the governor said: “If you don’t know or learn from your history, you will be walking in the dark struggling into the future. This is why history is very key. “We all know the importance of history and how colonialism has tried to bury our history and subjugate it for their own version of history.”
According to him, the government will support initiatives that would promote the study and appreciation of history in the society because of its relevance to human capital development.
“I’m glad that we have people around (the HSN) to document our history and as we come along we have to look into our own contemporary history because today everybody is a journalist on the internet.
“So we need professionals like you to set the record straight and be guided in the right history of our politics and traditions in Africa and the world in general,” he said.
Accompanied by council members of the body, the HSN President, Professor Okpeh Okpeh commended AbdulRazaq for his commitment to education and for being the first governor to host the society as part of its campaign to reintroduce the study of history at all levels, including in the elementary schools.
The HSN delegation included Prof Yakubu Ochefu, Executive Secretary Committee of Vice-Chancellor of Nigeria; Prof. Samuel Aghalino, Vice-President North Central; Dr. Akachi Odoemena; Dr. Patrick Ukase;
Dr. Lemuel Odeh; Dr Bashir Animashaun Vice-President South-west; and Dr. Abraham Ogunode.
Okpeh said the group came to seek Kwara’s adoption of history across its schools and its support for the body’s upcoming events commemorating the 60th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence.
He said Abuja, owing to the advocacy of the HSN, has agreed to reintroduce history into schools’ curriculum but has delayed the implementation.
“Part of the reason why history was yanked off was that it was too complicated, too rigorous and we were asked if we could simplify it for pupils at primary and even secondary schools.
“So the Historical Society took up the challenge and we have come up with books on the basis of revised syllabus.
“The federal government has delayed the official commencement of the distribution of the books. So we are taking another strategy of linking up with progressive-minded state governors and AbdulRazaq has been identified as one of them.”
He added: “We are interacting with so many others but this is the first time the council is meeting with any state governor on this project.
“We want you to partner with the HSN to ensure that the books approved by the federal government for the first nine years of education are supplied to schools in Kwara State.
“It is simplified history. It is history that tells the story of the people. In developing this, we operationalised a philosophy that we are not going to tell the history of Western Europe.
“We are not going to tell history of even West Africa. We are going to begin that history from our communities because if you don’t know yourself, you can’t know your neighbours and if you don’t know your neighbours, you don’t know other people from other parts of the world.”