By: Andy Akporugo Jr
When I visited Norway in 2000, other than the fact that their taps ran spring water, the most remarkable thing I observed was the keen sense of history of the ordinary Norwegian.
He knew the history of the nation, its cultures, the emergence of its cities, its music, its art, its occupations, its beer, just about everything. But more interestingly, he could tell the history of his family and their work several generations before and kept a tangible proof of this history for the feel of your fingers. Tourism was as much a national source of income as it was the family’s, such family history haven been authenticated by the authority of state which always kept a presence at the respective sites.
In Nigeria there was a time, recently, when we taught history in our schools perhaps because we needed to claim like the rest of the world that we were not bastards. But even then we couldn’t say from our history, without rancour, what our parentage was. There simply was no agreement on just about anything. This was the state of affairs when somebody decided that the history of, and about the Nigerian wasn’t relevant altogether! We had become tired of pretending to be what we were not – and in any case it was causing too many quarrels!
So our history, like our faith, became a personal choice. And for those who liked to know and tell their history, they found out from, and told it to the elasticity that their fancy could stretch – on social media, in beer parlours and even now more tragically, from hearts in pursuit of every agenda, as long as it only served their individual purposes!
Tonight I hear that history is being reintroduced, even if in shaky steps, back into our schools, but yet wonder: Will we ever truly recover from that season of darkness? Whose agenda was it that we prostituted our history until we forgot it all together? Who stood to benefit from that bastardy?