Don says documentation of history in schools will enhance leadership role, policies

Funmi Lawrence

Prof. Osita Ogbu,a Former Economic Adviser to the President has called for the documentation of history from basic to tertiary institutions to enhance leadership role and as well in the use of research to inform policy.

Ogbu, who is also a director at the Institute for Development Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka made this known at a book launch titled “Rainbow Nation “ by Prof. Emeka Aniagolu.

The book which has 339 page and 16 chapter book, and which started with a historical context to apartheid X-ray the dignity of the African seen from correct record of achievements, contributions to knowledge and world civilization.

Ogbu while reviewing the book said that the Improper interpretation of our history had created self-doubt among the political class and even among the intelligentsia to the detriment of creative pursuit of authentic African development.  

“History is so important that there should not be any debate as to whether it should be part of our school curriculum.

“It is often the mirror to our past and a guidepost to our future. But it must be captured and interpreted correctly by well-trained, well-resourced and confident African scholars, the type Aniagolu represents.

“But what was most interesting was that this section of the book provided lessons in leadership; in the use of research to inform policy.

“And more importantly, it illustrated a clear Afrocentric foreign policy of the Murtala-Obasanjo regime that was systematic and rigorous; and placed the liberation of all the countries of Africa from apartheid or colonial rule at the center-stage of the policy.

“But this bold and courageous policy was driven by information, intelligence and resources, underscoring the critical importance of economic power, as projection of power in the world stage requires economic independence. We undermine our economic independence when we borrow excessively and create dependence.”

Ogbu added that the section of the book dealing with the role of the frontline states including Nigeria as a notable frontline state illustrates the rigor in the author’s methodology in putting this book together.

He said the book sought for first hand accounts, interviewed living significant actors and read their original works on the subject.

According to him, these interactions exposed the nuances and corrected some commonly held views on the different roles and misguided interpretation of motives.

Ogbu noted that the author linked the unfortunate phenomenon to apartheid policies of deprivation, entrenched ignorance and the loss of dignity that they portend for the back south African men.

“There is also a sense that the attacks on Africans come from ignorance on the role and sacrifices African nations such as Nigeria made for the liberation of South Africa. But something else is at work here according to Prof. Aniagolu.

“Xenophobia is as a result of widening income inequality in South Africa. This is as a result of failure of the black empowerment program which benefited the black elite and the successor program of broad-based black empowerment program which has suffered a similar fate. Cronyism, poor leadership and a government that has relied erroneously on the market for redistributive actions conspired against the two programs.

“ I have said elsewhere that poverty is not what drives crime but the inequality and the widening inequality that denies majority of her citizens any stake in the nation now or in its future.

“ Clearly, inequality compromises responsible citizenship and dents loyalty to constituted authority. When a nation fails to create an inclusive, heedful society, a society that cares for her weakest, they will reap crime and other associated ills. This is a huge lesson for Nigeria as we deal with the many dimensions of our insecurity,” he said.

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