History is a systematic and analytic study of the past, present and the future events, the past events are the major starting point of history of all people, without any people knowing where they re coming from they will never know where they re going, it is in this light that this work attempts to show why it is important to study history in Nigeria today, the findings in this work discovers that lack of good sense of history is the major reason why Nigeria suffers many ills befalling her today, ranging from ”Insecurity, Agitations in several quarters, Corruption” e.t.c. the aim of this work is to bring to the fore the importance of history in nation building.
Throughout history from the time of Socrates to our modern age, human race has sought answers to the fundamental questions of life; who are we, why are we here and how did we come here? Man has however endeavoured to proffer answers to some of these questions, by probing and researching into the facts and stories of the past. Thus history has been recognised as a source of enlightenment and development. It encompasses both imaginative story of events and a narrative of the past.
History sheds it’s knowledge of the past, and becomes directly connected to the present and also the future, history in this contemporary era is seen as the product of the past, relevant in the present and a vital factor in shaping and patterning the future, it’s field of study continues to be potentially limitless, and it encompasses the totality of past human experience and very key to nation building.
It is in this light that this work attempts to buttress why it’s important to study history in Nigeria,
CONCEPT OF HISTORY
In the word of Leopold Von Ranke : To him; “History has been assigned the office of judging the past, instructing the present for the benefit of the future ages” from this definition history sees the present in the light of the past, and use the past and the present to predict the future. That is to say the study of the past events is the best way to understand the present, and to prepare for the the future.
History simply denotes finding about the past as something to value and preserve, as the only proper footing for a true understanding of the present society. History in other words is the systematic and analytical study of past events in order to understand the present, thus the future can be well planed for.
IMPORTANCE OF HISTORY IN NIGERIA
History is very fundamental to the sustenance of every society, it probe the past to understand the present, for Nigeria to understand her present quagmire and find a possible way out, the study of history is imperative, below are some of the reasons why the study of history is important in Nigeria today.
HISTORY HELPS TO AVOID REPEATING MISTAKES OF THE PAST
Bad History will not repeat itself, because the knowledge of it can help us avoid the same mistakes in the future. e.g. Nigeria fought a civil war in the past, the history of this war is not taught in school, and today from all indications Nigeria is gradually tilting towards another civil war, this one of the most important reason why the study of history is important today in Nigeria.
Nations with massive knowledge of their own history, nations that know all the details about the past of their country and ancestors can develop their modern society and lead their country to a brighter tomorrow.
The happenings of the past in Nigeria if studied would have help us to shape our decisions today, which will in turn aid us to understand the importance of changes and reforms in this country, to take Nigeria to greater height.
HISTORY PROVIDES IDENTITY
History helps to provide identity, historical data includes how families, communities, clans, ethnic groups, institutions, nations and countries were formed, the counting of genealogies and how they have evolved, without history of one’s own family he/she will find it difficult to properly express his/her self on his/her root and identity.
HISTORY TELLS US WHO WE ARE
According to Anyaoku; “without the knowledge of the past, there will be no fruitful projections for the future. The knowledge of the past is very vital to the development of the country, and we can only solve present societal problems when we know what was obtainable in the past” History is the story of past happenings, events and transformations, it is a depiction of what happened over the years since the inception of human race. Therefore history helps us to understand the origin of our existence, it helps us to understand and answer questions such as; who re we? where did our ancestors come from? what was the society and culture like during their time? what did we inherit from them? what is it we have to do to improve on what they have done? Thus history helps to understand our past so that we can build on them.
HISTORY CONTRIBUTES TO MORAL VALUES
History also provides a terrain for moral contemplation, studying the stories of individuals and situations in the past allows a student to test his or her own moral sense, drawing inspiration from some the difficulties individuals have passed through in the past, people who have weathered adversities not just in some fictional work but in real historical circumstances, such can help in moulding and embedding moral values in individuals.
It is instructive to point out
that history from the onset has been used as the main mirror in which the society sees itself for reappraisal, re-examination and revalidation. History makes room for identity, settles conflicts, offers citizenship education, helps in the intellectual development of the citizens/leaders, provides hindsight for policy makers, gives one a sense of international value, provision of information and research as well as provide the very tap root that prevents our culture from being blown away by the wind of technology sweeping across the globe. Thus it is very important to study history in Nigeria today.