A Professor of History at the University of Ibadan, Professor Simon Ademola Ajayi has stressed the need to place History in its rightful place not just by learning it as a school subject but learning from History as a way of life, individually and corporately as a nation state.
He made the call in an inaugural lecture he delivered on behalf of the Faculty of Arts of the University.
Professor Ajayi said there is a need to unlearn, relearn, and learn from History.
According to him, Nigeria’s current problems are systemic, and the solution should be systematic, adding that this is the time for restructuring, reorientation, and rebuilding.
He said there is a need for paradigm shift, to embrace true federalism, which will be a strategic means of managing the country’s diversity, and further enable every federating unit to address its peculiar challenges.
Professor Ajayi stated that when people fear the verdict of History, they tread with caution but regretted that in Nigeria today, we do not fear History.
He wondered why the Nigerian political class is more concerned with the pursuit, acquisition, sharing, retention, and mere exercise of power – power that is so ephemeral, kicking all notions of nationalism and nation building to the background and often, resorting to the ruling pattern of the dark ages, and practically returning the polity to primitivity.
He advised that we should not truncate History to suit an agenda. He warned that such an action will boomerang like a vengeful torrent.
Professor Ajayi said the time has come for those in the saddle of power to discard the idea of ‘government is might and might is right’ in their dealings with the governed. Rather, he said they should embrace the principle of ‘what is right’ for the sake of posterity.
The inaugural Lecturer called on all Nigerians to pause, reflect on the past, evaluate the present, and think of future possibilities and expectations.
He cautioned that we should not keep repeating the same errors while expecting different results. He said we should never stop learning from, and about the past because History will never stop teaching or unfurling wisdom.
He stated that going down historical lane helps to understand the present and project the future appropriately to aid sustainable development.
Professor Ajayi warned that History is useful and will continue to be useful but any society that denigrates or trivialises its History will certainly go the way of History and get lost in the jungle of confusion and interminably lament missed opportunities for sustainable development.
The inaugural lecture was entitled ” Who is not Afraid of History?”