Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of Nigeria, has explained why history as a subject was reintroduced into curriculum across primary and secondary schools in the country last year by the federal government after many years of being expunged.
History was officially removed from primary and secondary school curriculum in the country in 2007 when former President Olusegun Obasanjo was in power.
But President Muhammadu Buhari revoked the decision and returned the subject in June 2019 and directed that all primary and secondary schools to commence the teaching of history as a stand-alone subject.
At the inauguration of the Nigeria History Fund by the James Adekunle Ojelabi Foundation on Monday, Osinbajo said history was essential to the building process of Nigeria’s nationhood.
The Vice President who spoke through Laolu Akande, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity and a historian, said children ought to know where they are coming from and have an understanding of the life that preceded them.
“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,” said Akande.
History is far too essential for us to de-prioritise. 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.”
The Nigeria History Fund was put together to support history students in Nigeria with a scholarship scheme.