Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday said the decision by the federal government to re-introduce history as a subject in schools was borne out of the conviction that children must have an understanding of the life that preceded them, adding that the subject was too important to be deprioritised.
According to a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, the Vice-President spoke at the inauguration of the Nigeria History Fund by the James Adekunle Ojelabi Foundation.
The statement was titled “Why we restored history to our schools -Osinbajo.”
Akande quoted Osinbajo as saying that, “When the federal government decided to reintroduce history into the curriculum across primary and secondary schools last year, it was a decision borne out of the recognition that first our children must know where they are coming from and have an understanding of the life that preceded them.
“History is far too essential for us to deprioritise. It encourages us as individuals to not restrict ourselves to thinking in the short-term, but to remember that we too are living histories.
“We cannot sure-footedly chart a course forward without understanding where we are coming from. Vision is important but so too is memory.
“Nation-building requires us to develop both faculties of imagination and remembrance. Indeed, this stewardship of national memory is a cardinal civic obligation.
“The future of a Nigeria that works for all of us, regardless of religion or ethnicity, depends on full and accurate knowledge of our histories.”
Speaking on the role of history in harnessing Nigeria’s rich cultural diversity, Osinbajo was quoted as saying that the nation’s diversity as a unique strength for promoting national development would not be realised without a thorough understanding of its different cultural practices and social norms which are embedded in history.
He added, “We are blessed to belong to a nation that possesses such a rich history of art, technology, trade, metallurgy, political administration among many fields of human endeavour but this bountiful inheritance is often underexplored and underappreciated.
“History is a vast reservoir of cultural, spiritual and social capital waiting to be mined by a generation that will not neglect the ancient landmarks of our odyssey as a people.
“Whilst our ethnic diversity is a great strength, one of the biggest challenges to nation-building is this same ethno-religious diversity which can also engender detrimental social conflict.”