The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Arch Diocese, Bishop Mathew Kukah, has called on Nigerians to imbibe the culture of documentation, as the only way to preserve Nigeria’s history and ensure its continued existence.
Speaking at a program organised to mark the 35th priestly ordination of Father Patrick Alumuku, the Director of communication, Catholic Secretariat, Abuja, Mr. Kukah said most of the present day challenges that threaten the unity of Nigeria, result from the poor attitude of preserving the nation’s historical facts.
The Bishop, who was represented by Athur-Martins Anginam, the Acting Executive Director of Kukah Center, noted that institutional memories remain a major prerequisite for the development of any nation.
“One of the things I try to tell Nigerians is that we should try to document things. Understand the importance of institutional memory”.
“We no longer live in an oral tradition,” he said.
Mr. Kukah said the problems resulting from ethnic diversity would not have grown as it did in recent times if people learnt to make facts about their heritage a part of the public domain.
“Nigerians need to try to tell their own stories; if you don’t tell your own story, no one will tell it for you,” he stated.
The Bishop added that Nigeria’s leaders and the media can provide the forum from dialogue that encourages counter narrative, as a way of improving understanding.
“When you have a narrative; a point of view, at best is a view from a point. There has to be a kind of counter narrative that provides a kind of competition and a narration, from which the truth always prevails,” Mr. Kukah said.
He commended the effort of the celebrant in the compilation of a book he titled “Candle wax, which sought to tell the story of his journey to priesthood.
Mr. Alumuku said the book was a perfect example of the impact of perseverance and that Nigeria should imbibe the culture of patience, as portrayed by his account in the book.
He noted that the choice of the theme of his book was informed by the fact that “candle wax” was tied to the beginning of his vocation, in priesthood and called on every Nigerian to try to remember their history.
“God calls us to serve him through different means. For me he called me to serve him, through candle wax”, he said.