Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, on Thursday advocated the reinstatement of History as a subject in Nigerian schools.
Mr. Soyinka spoke in Lagos at a press conference to unveil the beneficiaries of an initiative between the Wole Soyinka Foundation and the Cedars Institute, Notre Dame University, Lebanon.
“I learnt not so long ago that history has been taken off the curriculum in this country. Can you imagine that? History? What is wrong with history? Or maybe I should ask, what is wrong with some people’s head?”
Criticisms have continued to trail the government’s removal of history studies from primary and secondary schools’ curriculum since the 2009/2010 academic session.
Last May, Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, said the federal government was taking steps to restore the subject in the schools’ curriculum.
“Somebody who doesn’t know his history is even worse than dead. So this government is going to bring back history,” Mr. Adamu had said.
“It would even be better if we study local history first. You have to know who you are before you can be anything in this world.
“I believe this government is going to return history back to the curriculum.”
Mr. Soyinka, a professor of Comparative Literature, described History as “life”.
“History is so fundamental to self knowledge, to identity, to understanding where you came from and therefore where you might be headed,” he said
“So how can a subject like History be excised from the curriculum of any school?”
Asked whether the UNESCO’s statement that “the war for peace must be waged in the mind” should be a panacea to the war against insurgency, Mr. Soyinka said the appropriate response for the insurgents is to “return aggression with aggression”.
“UNESCO was founded on this basis, that since wars between human beings, communities begin in the mind, it is in the mind the war for peace must begin,” Mr. Soyinka said.
“I always find that paradoxical statement very instructive. But we mustn’t simplify wars, we mustn’t simplify the solution or the complex causes that lead to war.
“Boko Haram, for instance, is a result of religious lunacy and intoxication. There’s no other explanation for it. And if somebody is trying to kill you, I believe you have a responsibility to kill them first. And so I don’t want to present myself as a candidate for Nobel Prize for Peace because I’m not a very peaceful person.
“I believe very much that aggression must be met by, every possible means, aggression.”
“I’m not saying I’m dedicated to peace. I’m dedicated to culture, to intellectualism, to the expansion of human horizon’s creativity.
“Believe me I’m no evangelist for peace. Not when people are torturing, killing children, kidnapping people who we sent to go and learn. For me they got to be wiped out.”