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The Relevance Of History In Consolidating Democracy In Nigeria

By Lucky Irodia

The knowledge of history should be strongly encouraged by the government of a country. In fact, democracy cannot thrive effectively without good knowledge of history in both the leaders and the led. It is only when people in a country know where they are coming from that they can tell where they are likely going to.
The importance of History as a subject are many. Firstly, the study of history exposes pupils and students to the knowledge of their background as individuals and that of the country in general. It was the knowledge of history that promoted the spirit of nationalism in the lives of our founding fathers; otherwise, we would have still been under Western colonialism and imperialism. Furthermore, the knowledge of history promotes patriotism in the lives of citizens. It also helps us to know and appreciate our cultural heritage. The knowledge of history will help the younger generation to fight against neo-colonialism and modern imperialism of the Western Powers. The application of knowledge of History will promote good leadership style and foster democracy.
The problem of Nigeria today is the failure of our leaders to apply the knowledge of history in leadership. The present economic recession is a clear example of failure to apply the knowledge of similar economic recession between 1983-1985 which eventually brought about the Structural Adjustment Programme toward the late 80s and early 90s. History has a way of repeating itself when the knowledge is not applied. Therefore, the importance of history is inexhaustible. The government, as a matter of urgency, should make history a subject and not only should it be brought back into our school curriculum but should be made a compulsory subject in primary and secondary schools. While in the Tertiary institutions, it should be made part of General Studies. It is only when people in a country know where they are coming from that they can tell where they are likely going to.
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Lucky Irodia is from Edo State. He studied History and International Studies at degree and masters levels.

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