Finally, the future of Nigeria looks a little brighter because the nation has decided to begin to look, again, into its own past.The erstwhile removal of History from the school curriculum, or its so-called integration into that of Social Studies, was a mindless and uncharitable act of disservice to the generation of Nigerian pupils/students to which it was denied, a deprivation of the human need to understand its origin and trajectory in order to chart a worthy and viable course for its continuity. Thankfully, however, History has been restored, and Nigeria is no longer doomed, like the proverbial river that forgets its origin, to dry up and crack in its bed.
As far back as 1999, in a meeting with the then newly elected President Olusegun Obasanjo who had made a reference to the problem of youth violence across the country, one of Nigeria’s historical icon J. F. Ade-Ajayi had made it clear that this problem stems from the lack of the knowledge of history in the Nigerian youth population. A host of other things, both positive and negative, happening in the country now can be better understood and engaged if they were traced back into history. The paucity of a sense of nationalism or patriotism can be directly tied to the lack of a sense of history, for it is difficult, perhaps even impossible, to love a country that one does not know.
Moreover, there is a sense of identity, culture, ownership and responsibility among other things that can be taught or given only through an immersion in the history of one’s people. Once again, therefore, the re-introduction of History as a stand-alone subject in the basic and junior secondary curriculums across the country must be greeted with joy and renewed hope. The government must be commended for listening to the criticisms and pleas of its people on this particular matter and reshaping its policy to suit the reasonable stance of its citizens.