Opesan’s snapshots of Nigerian history
HOW do young Nigerians be reacquainted with their history since the subject is not studied fully on its own as before so it stands out? Ola Opesan, the head teacher at Meadow Hall School, Lekki, Lagos, has partly solved this problem for youngsters and anyone who is interested in the country’s recent past and the personalities that shaped its history. His new book, Nigeria in 101 Headlines is one compelling, colourful resource material.
Opesan noted recently that the book is designed to make historical facts accessible to teenagers and older people who need a quick reference material on events and personalities that shape the country’s history. According to him, “It’s a book of events and personalities; personalities make events. It’s very useful for teaching children historical and social events. From my experience, teenagers don’t always know such personalities like Awolowo, Azikiwe, Balewa and the others; they can’t tell you about the achievements of those personalities. So yes, the book is history in snapshots”.
Although his subject area is Mathematics, Opesan admitted that not enough history is being taught in schools as the subject is subsumed under Social Studies, he maintained that it was “important to still teach our history to our children otherwise our young ones will be alienated from our past. Our children must have idea of what happened in the past and how the country’s evolution.
Mathematics is about finding solutions. A major problem with Lagos is traffic; we ought to find solutions to it. Introducing odd and even numbers was once introduced to curb traffic jam years ago. It’s in the book”.
For him to realize the book, Opesan said he had to read a lot of biographies and autobiographies. According to him, “Reading through autobiographies helped me connect the dots of what happened in the country in the past”.
The Nigerian Archive, the British Library, the War Museum in Umuahia, old newspapers and magazines and other sources helped him actualize Nigeria in 101 Headlines, he said, adding, “There is a lot of archives in the country if you took time to look for it; they helped in this work.”
However, the challenge the author encountered included being able to track down some of the materials which he said took ages to accomplish. “It was very challenging to track down some materials”.
Also, the title of the book, Nigeria in 101 Headlines, Opesan said, is in line with Nigeria’s Centenary anniversary celebration.