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Confronting the demons of archiving history in Nigeria


House of Representatives

It is a shame that history has since been dropped from our schools curriculums. Many of our heads of state, presidents, governors, senators, and House of Representative members, even states and local governments people appear so ashamed of their past and how they got to the top. There are histories we must know and keep for posterity. It is an achievement if a son of a fisherman, cattle-rearer or coco dealer becomes president, governor or head of state.

Nigeria must have places we can all go to read about our leaders and what they did and how they got there. Our archives, museums and galleries are so poor they are not decent or up-to-date. There are no Halls of Fame for our boxers, footballers, athletics, movie stars, and musicians. Even the galleries owned by government are only about people with political affiliation, who won elections in a do-or-die manner or shot themselves to power through the barrels of the gun. We must appeal to the Federal Government to advise and encourage states to renovate and establish modern galleries for our children to know their true leaders, achievers and the history of their country.

Recently, the Governor of Lagos, Akinwumi Ambode, started an archival revolution and plan, to save three main historical centres – the National Stadium, the National Theatre and Chief Eddie Ugbomah-inspired Movie/Music Makers Hall of Fame. However, some civil servants and appointees are giving him the governor wrong advice; they are condemning the idea of acquiring ready-made galleries. Members of the National Assembly don’t have any alternative; they just argue for argument sake to drag the country back. As for the usual ‘evil’ (sorry) civil servants, if one doesn’t lobby them, they are ready to make things difficult and discourage a dynamic Ambode, who wants progress, from doing the needful. We are appealing to these backward members and civil servants to allow the growth of history in Nigeria to flourish.

The creation of a Movie/Music Makers Hall of Fame is a brilliant idea, which government should be proud to identify with and even acquire for maximum use. Ambode would do well to fulfill the promise he made since December 17, 2016 to acquire Ugbomah’s Halls of Fame for Movie and Music. It is an indictment that in the past 30 to 40 years, Nigeria has no decent galleries of real achievers in all spheres of life but only those of military or civilian governors, who got to power mainly through the back doors.

Lagos State governor should be encouraged to salvage these pieces of history. Also, history should be reintroduced into our schools so that our children can learn more about this vast country. History is the reason America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, are leading the world. Let us not allow envy and tribalism to ruin the future of this country. So indeed, who is afraid of history?

In this article:
Akinwumi Ambode
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