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Teaching History and National Development in the Third World: The Nigerian Experience

Olusoji Samuel Oyeranmi
University of Ibadan, Nigeria


"History leads the wise man and drags the fool" "1

                                                                                    -G.W.F. Hegel

"If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do and how to do it. "2

                                                                                    Abraham Lincoln


     History has been recognized all over the world as a source of enlightenment and development. As a collective memory of the past of a nation, history attempts to bring to the fore the salient and significant part of events that occurred in the past, which could be utilized in building a prosperous national future. This is why every human society, no matter the level of advancement, has placed optimum priority to the bequeathing of a "useable past" from generation to generation. For instance, in ancient cultures every kingdom had its own history laureate whose task it was to remember the past. "3 Modernity has also been influenced greatly by the enhanced production of history. This is assisting nations (who have placed the needed emphasis on historical studies) in their tasks of nation building, promoting national consciousness, the flowering of moral leadership and ensuring overall national development. "4

     From the above brief allusion, one can submit that history is an essential instrument for any nation that is desirous of breakthroughs in all human endeavors. Consequently, it has become a serious academic discipline, which attracts the most talented in most developed countries. "5 This is why it is most pathetic that the study of history has been relegated to the background in various schools in Nigeria. This explains why the country remains a crawling giant. More than ever before, ethnic chauvinism has become the major driving force of Nigeria's national polity. Nigerians many times (albeit, with good reasons) have not only queried the basis for nationhood, but also doubted her permanent survival. Indeed, after more than forty-five years of so-called independence, the Nigerian Union, according to Professor Adebayo Adedeji, remains largely "a co-habitation without marriage. "6

     I would argue that a major reason why so much violence (physical and psychological), aggression, hatred, poverty, et cetera, dominate the day to day existence of the people in Nigeria is that, collectively, they lack historical consciousness. They tend, indeed, to act or react based on the present situation and care little about the past. It is therefore not surprising that few care about the kind of future to be built for both the people and the nation. Due to the fact that Nigerian statesmen lack a proper sense of history, the politics of the belly and that of the moment dominate the polity. Merit is consequently slaughtered on the slab of power profiteering. With all these vices, development at all levels in Nigeria remains a wild goose chase.

     To escape from this seemingly inescapable quagmire, there is an urgent need to imbue Nigerians with an enduring sense of history. As Professor J. F. A. Ajayi once submitted:

The nation suffers which has no sense of history. Its values remain superficial and ephemeral unless imbued with a deep sense of continuity and perception of success and achievement that transcends acquisition of temporary power or transient wealth. Such a nation cannot achieve a sense of purpose or direction or stability and without them the future is bleak "7

It is in the light of this that a study of this nature becomes absolutely imperative as part of the ongoing efforts towards the historical awakening of Nigerians. This essay will, inter-alia, focus on the unbreakable nexus between history and national development; bring out the relevance of this link especially at this era of globalization; analyze what a country like Nigeria in search of her soul and awesome technological breakthrough could gain from such an "unattractive" and non-materialistic" discipline such as history; and lastly, will suggest how Nigerians could be imbued with an enduring and proper sense of history for national development.


Arguably, Development at all levels (personal or national) in human society is a multi-faceted process. At the level of the individual, it implies multiplied skill and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility and material well-being. It must however be noted that the achievement of any aspect of personal development is strong tied to the state of the society as a whole. "8At the national level, development will naturally mean the pulling together of the above-stated personal virtues for the benefit and well-being of people within such a nation. More often than not, as Walter Rodney once contended, development is used in an exclusive economic sense ­ the justification being that the type of economy is itself an index of other social features. A society develops economically as its members increase jointly their capacity for dealing with the environment, which of course depends on the extent to which they understand laws of nature (science), on the extent to which they put that understanding into practice by devising tools (technology), and on the manner in which work is organized. "9

     I therefore contend that for any nation to develop, the collective spirit of the people must be well nurtured and propagated. Here lies the significance of history. History, in the words Prof. Babatunde Fafunwa is:

To a people what memory is to the individual. A people with no knowledge of their past would suffer from collective amnesia, groping blindly into the future without the guide post of precedence to shape their course "10

Also writing on the intimating interaction between Nation and History, J. F. Ade Ajayi stressed that:

… History interacts with the nation. For the nation is a product of history in the sense of historical circumstances and events; and therefore the nation cannot escape from its past. At the same time, the nation is shaped by the effort of historians, among others, who try to establish the history of the nation, influence its group memory and seek to define its nationality-that is, the essence of what binds its people together, what constitutes their identity, what makes them a people distinct from other peoples. "11

Indeed, what historical understanding does essentially for any nation is to place its developmental predicament within rational time perspectives of human evolution. This is the utility value of history. History also helps people not to undervalue what they are and overvalue what they are not. It in turn provides confidence ­ building strategy to any prostrate nation that is striving to grapple with present problems. "12            

     Development should and must not only be conceived materially. This is because humans are not solely materialistic in nature; they are equally spiritual, artistic and creative beings. Development ipso facto is to my mind twofold. Firstly, it entails concerted efforts at satisfying basic/crucial human needs such as food, shelter and general well being through productivity. Secondly it equips citizens with enduring moral values such as, hard work, honesty, integrity, transparency, justice, and discipline. Indeed, the two are inseparable as a nation full of impoverished people cannot improve its material base and neither can a morally decadent society dream of dazzling development at any level.

     A number of erudite scholars have written on the universal/ developmental nature of history, so I will not bore you with repetition of their views. "13 But for the purposes of this essay I will allude to two arguments. First is Socrates' judgment on Pericles- the Famous Athenian statesman. He stated:

The brilliant statesman had enriched and embellished the city, had created protective walls around it, had built ports and dock yards, had launched navies, had eternalized the glory of the city by temples of undying grandeur and beauty, had multiplied in Attica the feasts of arts and reason, but did not occupy himself with the problem of how to make Athenians better men and women. As a result, his work has remained incomplete and his creation caduceus "14

Writing in the same manner, B. O. Oloruntimehin aguishly contended that:

To advocate that studies in the sciences and technology should be pursued to the relative neglect [humiliation] of the humanities and social sciences is to express appetite for the materialism which technology creates rapidly, but without required for the organic growth and stability. Every one of us including the scientist and technologist has to be a citizen. Without the socializing influence of training in the humanities (especially history), the aggregation that we represent as citizens cannot be properly called a nation. A nation that lacks clear self-identity and which is structurally incoherent cannot be strong whatever its wealth and the amount of gadgetry at its disposal. "15

The developmental nature of the historical discipline is further emphasized by the fact that every discipline has its root in history. This makes it virtually impossible for any discipline not to pay attention to its history. Thus, we have the history of science, of medicine, of banking, of engineering, of knowledge, of development, and even the history of history. For example, no rational medical doctor will attend to his or her patient without perusing his or her medical history. For it is within that context that the doctor will appreciate better the patient's ailment and what medication to prescribe. History, therefore, is a key factor in all disciplines and in the training of minds. Similarly, it is a duty for any nation that is desirous of development in all its ramifications to always delve into its past achievements as well as those of other lands. With this the nation will be able to learn from the past errors, to draw inspiration from worthy past efforts, and to strategize for the future development.

     All I have said is not to deny the importance of the acquisition of scientific skills and knowledge. The point of emphasis here is that those skills should be accompanied by appropriate moral values without which the society will return to the Hobbessian state of nature of battle of all against all. History tends to produce thinking men and women who are imbued with curiosity, who will not accept any view hook, line and sinker, who through questioning and reasoning will be able to come to their own conclusion, who have become full of knowledge, and who by that means would be able to contribute to the development of their society. This is the outstanding link between history and national development. But in tangible terms what could any nation in serious search for physical and psychological development (Nigeria for instance) gain from this powerful link? This shall be the next focus of this historical discourse.


History teaches us that the most fundamental obstacle to national development in Africa is the apparent absence of national integration. And the erosion of NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS occasions this. As I have lamented elsewhere, "it is quite disturbing to note that in Africa today, there is no country that is not prone to chaos and anarchy due to so many existing fissiparous tendencies."16 And Nigeria is no exception. With this, politics has permanently become public pains for private gains in Nigeria, as in most parts of Africa. The very few elite constantly exploit the seeming eternal divisions among Nigerians which cut across religion, tribe, sex and politics in their struggle for personal /egoistic socio-economic and political advantages.

     In Nigeria as in other Third World Countries, national consciousness, instead of being the all-embracing crystallization of the innermost hopes of the whole people, instead of being the immediate and most obvious result of the mobilization of the people, has only become an empty shell, and frequently 'the nation' is passed over for race and tribe. "17With all these calamitous cracks in the Nigerian edifice, which of course came into being through the concerted and calculated efforts of the British imperialists and was kept alive by the failure of the national leadership to uproot colonial legacies and initiate enduring developmental strategies, the present retrogressive national effort towards national development becomes discernible. According to Frantz Fanon:

     This traditional weakness, which is almost congenital to the national consciousness of under-developed countries, is not solely the result of the mutilation of the colonized people by the colonial regime. It is also the result of the intellectual laziness of the national middle class, of its spiritual penury… "18

     With the above, national development also requires the transformation of people's minds, lives, and environment in such a way that will increase national consciousness. In the case of Nigeria, national development includes things as:

     Increasing the degree of national consciousness of Nigerians, increasing the degree of acceptance by Nigerians of the central government as the symbol of national unity, increasing the degree of tolerance of one another by Nigerians, increasing the quantity and quality of things that make for good life in the socio-economic sectors. "19

     Unfortunately, most of these virtues are either non-existent or their existence is fraught with fraud. Consequently, the influence of ethnic consciousness is still profound on Nigerian politics. Many sincere advocates are still clamoring for a genuine national conference or, better still, a conference for all Nigerian nationalities where people would jaw-jaw on the modalities for national cohesion ­ the surest initiation towards NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT. This no doubt has necessitated a new appraisal of the Nigerian nation.

     As it stands today, the Nigerian nation is not yet born. And to my mind it is roundly deceptive to claim (as we do today) to be nationalistic where a nation does not exist. A number of studies on whether Nigeria is a nation or not have been written. "20 But I contend that the historical reality is that the so-called Nigerian nationhood was founded on absolute fraud. Even some of the British colonialists could not hold back the truth about the defects of the Lugardian amalgamation of 1914 that formally inaugurated a nation that was bound to fail. For example, Nicholson, a former colonial Administrator in Nigeria once declared that the most significant thing about the amalgamation was that it never took place. Thus, until Richards's constitution in 1947 (33 years after Amalgamation), the Northern and Southern representatives were not brought together in one legislative chamber. Therefore, the people in the two protectorates remained strangers to one another though co-habiting the same country!

     Most importantly, the reality today is that ethnic nationalism often intrudes rudely into 21st century Nigerian politics. This is why, like most new nations, the most challenging issue facing Nigeria today is the establishment of institutional arrangements that can effectively deal with ethnic diversity and allow population groups to co-exist peacefully and productively. With the incessant chaos, disharmony and disunity, the aspiration of the people to evolve into viable nation will remain an effort in futility. The Nigerian situation is almost hopeless, as a recently released United States intelligence report "21 (though bluntly attacked) suggested. The situation is however still amenable if both the leadership and the people can return to the basics, delve deeply into the Nigerian past, draw necessary lessons and take appropriate popular actions.

     Every generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission and fulfill or betray it. And the surest way to fulfill Nigeria's developmental mission is for new leadership to break new ground. The foremost action will ultimately mean to extirpate the imperial legacies of political servitude and economic dependency on the mother country (Britain) and other western nations. History has shown that those African leaders (referred to by Fanon as the national bourgeoisie or national middle class) who took over power from the former colonial regimes did not replace those colonial legacies but rather built solidly on them. They conveniently (due largely to their intellectual and spiritual penury) stepped into the shoes of the former European settlers as doctors, barristers, traders, commercial travelers, general agents, and transport agents. They further insisted that all the big foreign companies should pass through their hands. Hence, "the national middle class discovers its historic missions: that of intermediary. "22 Linking this past inglorious act of the African national leadership to the present predicament Fanon stated further:

Seen through its (national middle class) its mission has nothing to do with transforming the nation. It remains the transmitting line between the nation and the mother camouflaged, which today puts on the masque of Neo colonialism. "23

Before a country can evolve into a nation, defined by Prof. Wole Soyinka as "a unit of humanity with common ideology," it must be ready to shed its entire colonial burden and supplant all its super structures such as law, economy, social structures, and politics with well self-developed structures. It must also develop the brains of its inhabitants by imbuing in them necessary skills and an enduring sense of history, which will establish long-lasting national consciousness. As I have alluded earlier: the living expression of the nation is the moving consciousness of the whole people; it is the coherent, enlightened action of men and women. "24The collective building up of destiny is the assumption of responsibility on the historical scale. Otherwise there is anarchy, repression, and the recrudescence of ethnic nationalism.

     The historic place of people as a unit cannot be over-emphasized in the evolution and development of any nation. Recognizing this fact Fanon submits:

The greatest task before us is to understand at each moment what is happening in our country. We ought not to cultivate the exceptional or seek for a hero, who is another form of leader. We ought to uplift the people; we must develop their brains; fill them with ideas; change them into human being."25

All these can be realized by giving the people a dose of political education. Indeed, this is a compulsory pre-condition for the evolution of a viable nation. To educate people politically means opening their minds, awakening them, and allowing the rebirth of their intelligence. Its also entails trying relentlessly and passionately to teach the masses that everything depends on them; that if we stagnate it is their responsibility, and that if we develop it is due to them too. In summary, to educate the masses politically is to make the totality of the nation a reality to each citizen. It is to make the history of the nation part of the personal experience of each of it citizens."26

     History abounds with nations that evolved and developed as the full expression of their citizens. And the commonest denominator of these nations is the exploitation and utilization of their cultural history. As a result of this unity of purpose, the nations then evolve as human communities which, when the chips are down, collectively command the loyalty of the people over the claims of lesser communities within it. As it has been established earlier, all nations are products of their past and there is no way they can move forward without taking into consideration their history and their peculiar circumstances. This is the debt all nations that seek peace, stability, and development owe to the past."27 This is because history provides the foundation on which the development of each nation is built. This explains why most developed countries in the world ensure that the discipline of history does not suffer decline and continues to retain its pride of place in their universities. More importantly, history has always been used to provide political education for leadership elites in such societies. Each nation then develops its own historiography, which is essentially nationalistic."28

     This is true of British historiography as well as American historiography, Chinese historiography, French historiography, Russian historiography, Japanese historiography, and German historiography. American historiography, for instance, lauds the virtues of American institutions in impregnating Americans with the notion that to be an American is the greatest blessing God can confer on a human being."29 This aspect of history can be carried to an extreme, such as was done by Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler before and during WWII and George Walker Bush in the demolition of Iraq. The abuse of history is always a possibility especially during bitter contests among nations. It must however be mentioned that leaders not only exploit national feeling during crises but also during peace, especially in their collective efforts towards national development. What is clear in all this is that history is deliberately utilized for nation building. This, I strongly believe, is the major difference between the advanced nations and those that are still in their embryonic stage such as Nigeria."30


     The past of the people of Nigeria, like most of their African kith and kin, has placed an almost inescapable burden on them. This ugly past is characterized with successive evils ­ four hundred years of slavery and slave trade; several centuries of imperialism / colonialism; and continuing neo-colonialism. And according to EH Carr, "the past which a historian studies is not a dead past, but a past which in a sense is still living in the present."31 This naturally translates to the fact that for the people to solve the present multifaceted developmental problems bedeviling the country, the past must always be involved. This is essential because "… if men of the future are ever to break the chains of the present, they will have to understand the forces that forged them."32 To achieve this, the people must be well endowed with historical knowledge which is based on recollection, retrieval, and the reconstruction of their past. This is rooted in the fact that time past is part of time present and time present is part of time future. In other words, human society is one long continuum and to appreciate the present, one must know what happened in the past.33

     It must be mentioned at this juncture that at the formative stages of modern African countries (Nigeria inclusive), history was an important factor in efforts towards national development. Indeed, some western commentators described the Ibadan school of History as a nationalist reaction to people like Trevor Roper and others who said Africa had no history. In acknowledgement of this outstanding nationalistic role, Prof. Niyi Osundare recently opined that:

The Ibadan School of History re-invented African history and African Historiography and shamed the racist notion that humanity's oldest continent was a place without a past. University of Ibadan became the Mecca for scholars of African History all over the world."34

This great school, together with very negligible percentage of Western Africanists who were more objective, began through a series of studies and writings to establish African History as a worthy part of universal scholasticism. Their writings equally provided early nationalists with not only a psychological power boost but also gave them much-needed inspiration in their struggle for political independence. Regrettably, the party did not last for long. As the Irish poet once lamented, things have changed, and changed utterly. "35Since independence, the Ibadan school of History, just like its parent the University of Ibadan, has remained shadow of its old self. As a result, the school lost the opportunity of continuing to inspire the task of nation building of Nigeria.

     The problems of African historiography, Nigerian history, and particularly "the Ibadan school of history" have been subjected to in-depth intellectual scrutiny for a long time. So, rather than discussing these problems again, I will attempt to bring out new insights towards making history more relevant in Nigeria and to suggest ways to imbue her inhabitants with sense of national consciousness.

Recommendations and Suggestions

While lamenting the languishing level of the University of Ibadan, Professor Niyi Osundare submitted:

Today, our university and the evil system that has brought it to its knees need nothing but the sharp edge of excoriative word; nothing but the truth whose sharpness heals like the surgical knife "36.

Nothing short of this could rescue the visibly enfeebled discipline of history in Nigeria from imminent extinction and equally catapult history back in to national consciousness for overall development. To my mind, there are two angles to this issue, namely the Historians and Government's angles. "37

     In terms of the Historians, it is necessary for history to return to its pride of place as prime motivator of national consciousness and as the bedrock of all humanities in Nigeria, and to do that Nigerian historians must braze up and chart a new course for the once ennobled discipline. One of the best ways to achieve is to stop talking and writing about the discipline of history as if it is a human being. This personification should give way to the returning of Nigerian people to their rightful place as the makers of their own history. "38This is embedded in the fact that it is humans who makes history and not vice versa, as Karl Marx once argued:

History does nothing, it does not possess immense riches, it does not fight battles. It is real living men who do all this, who possess things and fight battles. It is not "history" which uses men as means of achieving as if it were an individual person its own ends."39

As a corollary to reviving the historical discipline from its present doldrums, there must be a historical reawakening which would be championed by Nigerian historians. This must start from the minds and mouths of the Nigerian historians through constant self-criticism, for "if we could first know where we are and whither we are tending we could better judge what to do, and how to do it. "40 For instance, a critical evaluation of the history of the "Ibadan school of history" (where it all started) which is currently enmeshed in decay reveals that the school was in the past the pride of the Nation. Ever since, the seeds of discord that are currently dividing Nigerian historians have been sown. Ever since, the atrocious tradition of using history as means of achieving personal ends and later dumping it has firmly taken root. Ever since, the idea of diverting books, funds, scholarship / fellowship opportunities (especially international ones) meant for the development of the department, has been on course. Ever since, the system of exploitation of the junior colleagues, students (especially post-graduate) by senior colleagues who are too busy and too big to carry out research or to teach but have the time to pursue private contracts, international fellowships, and political appointments has been operational. Every since, the anti-intellectual idea of either fencing out the best brains or frustrating the ones within the system to the point of paralysis has been within the tradition. This clearly explains the current catastrophic dwarfism in historical scholarship in Nigeria.

     The problem is not that the school has problems: the real problem is that many people in the school are not aware of those problems and the few who are are seeking sanctuary in hazy sloganeering. "41For this ugly trend to change, if the future will be great once again for both Nigerian history and historians, they must all stand up for the truth and break the yoke of tradition. One of the best ways to avoid this complicity is to stop being panegyricians or propagandists or mere chroniclers. Historians need to bring out the real lessons of history to Nigerians. The basic historical fact about Nigeria (no matter the distortions and exaltations) is that the country is not yet a nation even after forty­five years of the much touted political or flag lowering independence.

     Consequently, the first and the most important work for Nigerians is to collaborate assiduously with other concerned groups on how to ensure the evolution of the Nigerian nation state where people will live first as Nigerians before remembering their ethnic affiliations. "42To achieve this two things become absolutely imperative ­ ideological and cultural revolutions, as Prof. E, A. Ayandele once admonished:

Fellow craftsmen of historical scholarship, it is our duty to convince the governments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to take two steps as a matter of utmost urgency. Firstly, they should be told that a Nigerian nation not built on upon the cultural heritage and spiritual values of the peoples of Nigeria is necessarily a RICKETY EDIFICE; that a "development" that is primarily technological and economic, with the concomitant unregulated pulverizing Westernism; inexorably inflicts cultural hemorrhage upon the nation and constitutes a terrible homicide; that such a nation is spiritually void, possessing no soul of its own… "43 (emphasis mine).

This assertion, made twenty-six years ago, is more real today than when it was rendered. Governments must be told to revise and reverse their concept of development to a more fundamentally human-centered concept. To achieve this end, a new invigorated humanistic study of how a real Nigerian nation could evolve must be initiated and the present endangered historical studies must be the arrowhead. With this a movement towards the re-invention and rewriting of Nigerian history will be initiated in order to build a sense of belonging in the people.

            The government's side of the sad story is quite understandable. As it has been established earlier in this essay, the so-called early Nigerian nationalists (as in most Third World countries) actually acted like the scions of colonial agents ­ heirs apparent to the throne vacated by the erstwhile colonialists. Indeed, they fought tooth and nail for the colonial leftovers; with this, all the legacies of the colonial rule were not only left untouched but were built upon by these short-sighted leaders. One such legacy is the deliberate distortion and devaluation of Nigerian history both as an academic discipline and as a tool for national development. As a result "The apotheosis of independence is transformed into the curse of independence. "44Thus, the colonial power—through its immense resources and the continuous installation of their stooges as leaders—condemns the evolving Nigerian state to permanent regression and the development of underdevelopment.

     Nigerian unity thus descended rapidly to what Fanon called a vague formula, "45 and yet the people were passionately attached to it especially during their struggle for political independence. No sooner than this vague freedom was attained, this unity crumbled into regionalism inside the hollow shell of nationality itself. Ever since, the national leadership has remained unpardonably egoistic and outrageously irresponsive to the plight of average citizens. With the neglect of history, the leadership simply proved to be incapable of forging national unity or building up a truly viable Nigerian nation within stable and productive parameters. The National Front, which forced colonialism to withdraw, cracked up and wasted the victory it had gained. This aggressive anxiety among the early nationalist to occupy the posts left vacant by the departure of the foreigners have left scars of violence on both religious and tribal lines, and further explains why violence still constantly features in the people's day to day existence. "46

     If Nigerian leaders in the past were guilty of tinkering with history to such an extent that transformation of the nation became impossible, the present crop of leaders are guilty of utilizing facts of history not only to distort Nigerian history but also to keep the country permanently a creeping giant.


     In conclusion, one must avoid the tactical error of concluding that the inability of people to draw serious lessons from history is peculiar to Nigeria. In the words of Georg Hegel:

What experience and history teach is this, that nations and governments have never learned anything from history or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it. "47

Though many may disagree with this Hegelian philosophy of life, few will disagree with the historical fact that people do seem to have severe difficulty learning anything form history. As regards Nigeria, which is the focus of this essay, my last words will be in form of admonition to Nigerian historians: they must break away from their current inhibiting factors and work in alliance with other sincere scholars with similar ideas and intentions to dismantle the present leadership of the country and chart a new course for the emergence of new leadership. This task is not going to be easy but is definitely not impossible. Failure to do so will continue to tame not only the historical discipline but also national development.

Biographical Note: Olusoji Oyernanmi is a doctoral candidate in History at the University of Ibadan in Ibadan, Nigeria. He is also an associate lecture in History at Ibadan University and at Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ago Iwoye. He teaches and researches in the fields of African historiography, developmental history, diplomatic history, and urban, environmental, and economic history.



1 See G.W.F. Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of World History, translated by H. B. Nisbet with an introduction by Duncan Forbes. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975).

2 Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln; The Prairie Years and The War Years. (New York, Dell Publishing Co.Incorporation, 1939), 13.

3 In every literate society, from the earliest times till now, there are professional historians whose responsibility is to remember and keep records of the most important happenings of the past. This is also the same in preliterate societies: for example we have the "griots" of Western Sudan; "Kwadwom" Singers of Asante; the "Arokin" of Oyo and many other specially trained traditional historians. But the difference lies in the fact that while the former relied on written evidence the latter, due to the absence of writing, depended solely on oral evidences.

4 See "The Place of History in National Development" a lecture delivered by Prof. Jide Osuntokun at a conference of History Teachers Association of Nigerian Colleges of Education at Oyo state College of Education, Oyo on Monday, 10/3/2002, p. 2.

5 Ibid.

6 See the contribution of Prof. Adebayo Adedeji, "The Nigerian Nation State. Cohabitation without Marriage?" in Olufemi Eperokun (eds), Nigeria's Bumpy Ride into 21st Century. (Ibadan, The House of Lords Nigeria, 1999), 148.

7 J. F. A. Ajayi, History and The Nation and Other Addresses. (Ibadan, Spectrum Books Ltd.), 41.

8 For Full Details on Discourse on Development and Underdevelopment in Africa see Walter Rodney, How Europe underdeveloped Africa (London: Bogle ­ L Ouverture Publishers, 1986), 9 ­ 39.

9 Ibid.

10 Professor Babatunde Fafunwa was Nigeria's former Education Minister, and this statement was quoted from The Punch 30/10/1990.

11 J. F. A. Ajayi, op.cit, 11.

12 See Osuntokun, op.cit.

13 For instance, see E. H. Carr, What is History? (Hardmonsworths, Middlesex, Penguin Books 1961); Lord Acton, "Inaugural Lecture on the study of History" delivered at Cambridge, June 1985; Fritz Stern (ed): The Varieties of history: from Voltaire to The Present. (London, Macmillan and Co Ltd. 1970); Arthur Marwick (ed), The Nature of History. (London, Macmillan, 1976); B. Olatunji Oloruntimehin, History and Society, University of Ife inaugural lecture series, 1976; Bassey W. Andah "In Search of Traditional African History," keynote address at the 28th Annual Congress of the Historical Society of Nigeria at Ilorin, 2nd March 1983.

14 Quoted from "The Debt we owe the past" a lecture delivered by Prof. G. O. Olusanya at the 1st Eminent lecture series organized by the students' Historical society of Nigeria, University of Ibadan on 28th October 1998, pp. 2 -3.

15 See B. O. Oloruntimehin, op. cit, 10.

16 See Olusoji Samuel Oyeranmi, "Ethnicity and the Crisis of Nation Building in Nigeria, 1951 ­ 1993," M. A. Dissertation, Department of History University of Ibadan, 2003, 20.

17 Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth. (London: Penguin Books, 1983), 119.

18 Ibid.

19 See the contribution of O. B. C Nwolise "The Nigerian Military in Nation Building" in Uma Eleazu (ed), Nigeria: The first 25 years, Ibadan (Heinemann Educational Books Ltd. 1989), 53.

20 For details on the authenticity or otherwise of the "Nigerian Nation" See Michael Crowder, The Story of Nigeria (London: Faber and Faber, 1972); B. J. Dudley, Politics and Crisis in Nigeria. (Ibadan: Ibadan University Press, 1973); H. C. Bretton, Power and stability in Nigeria: The Politics of decolonization. (New York: Nok Publishers, 1962); J. F. A. Ajayi, Milestones in Nigerian History. (Ibadan: Longman, 1980); Obaro Ikime, In Search of Nigerians changing patterns of inter-group relations in an evolving nation-state. (Nsukka: Impact Publishers, 1985); Ojukwu Emeka, Because I am involved, Ibadan. (Spectrum Books, 1989): Oshun Olawale, Clapping with one hand: June 12 and the crisis of a State- nation. (London: Jose Publishers,1999), 21; Dare Babarinsa, House of War: the story of Awo's followers and The Collapse of the Second Republic. (Ibadan and Lagos: Spectrum Books and Tell Communications, Ltd., 2003),12; The Historia: A Journal of the Student's Historical Society of Ibadan, University of Ibadan Chapter, 1999, 4; and John M. Mabaku et al, Ethnicity and Governance in The Third World. (London: Ashgate Publishing, 2001), 2.

21 This intelligence report was widely reported by both foreign and local media in Nigeria but the current writer obtained his fact from the United States embassy in Nigeria official website: on June 22,2006.

22 See Frantz Fanon, op. cit, 122.

23 Ibid.

24 Ibid., 165.

25 Ibid., 159.

26 Ibid.

27 See G. O Oguntomisin and S. A. Ajayi (eds), Readings in Nigerian History and Culture. (Ibadan, Hopes Publications, 2002), 363 ­ 364.

28 See Journal of the Historical society of Nigeria Vol. 9 No. 4 (June 1979), 1- 13.

29 See the contribution of E. A. Ayandele, "The Task before Nigerian Historians today" in Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria Vol. 9 No. 4 (June 1979).

30 See Osuntokun, op. cit., 7.

31 See E. H. Carr, op. cit., 5.

32 Barrington Moore, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy; Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1966), 508.

33 See Frantz Fanon, op. cit.

34 See the Valedictory lecture by Prof. Niyi Osundare at the University of Ibadan on July 26, 2005, published in The Guardian August, 4, 2005, 54.

35 Ibid.

36 Ibid, 62.

37 See David Mclellan, The Thought of Karl Marx; An Introduction, Second edition. (London: The Macmillan Press), 51.

38 Quoted from G.O. Oguntomisin and S.A. Ajayi, op. cit., 36.

39 See David Mclellan, op. cit., 63.

40 The Statement belongs to Abraham Lincoln, quoted from Carl Sandburg, op. cit., 13.

41 See Niyi Osundare, op cit.

42 See Fanon, op. cit.

43 See Ayandele, op. cit., 11.

44 See Fanon, op. cit., 76.

45 Ibid.

46 See Niyi Osundare, op. cit.

47 See NAI, National Archives of Nigeria ­ its purpose and function ­ Ibadan, 1985, 21.


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