By Bayo Osiyemi
The eminent Nigerian mentioned in this headline is symbolic to the crucial issue on this columns font burner today; his name being used as a metaphor.
I ask the question because of a serious error of commission committed by a certain federal administration sometime ago which, if not reversed, is capable of erasing history in our local, state and national records permanently.
Time was when the study of civics and history took the pride of place in all schools. Then our children in the backwoods knew about people and places in the towns and cities of this country. But not anymore.
These days, we have by a curious twist put a dark blanket on our history that they are no longer visible to our youths.
Little children are quite impressionable. Most of the things stuck in our brains were picked up when we were about moving from primary to secondary schools; from sports to politics to just anything else in human existence. Not anymore.
Take sports for example, the influx of foreign values and the stoppage of the teaching of civics and history had dulled the thought-process of our teenagers and even adolescents of these days that our youths now know more of the history of the Ronaldos and Messis of the football world than their own superbly outstanding local stars.
The situation is not different in the realms of science, commerce and industry; the reason why our youths can reel out the dossiers of a Bill Gates offhand than they can of a Coscharis Maduka or Jim Ovia or a Femi Otedola.
When we were growing up, we were told of the exploits of a certain Chief Jimoh Odutola in the tyre threading industry in Ibadan or the first singlet manufacturing company in this country known as Ikorodu Trading Company (ITC) in Ikorodu near Lagos, jointly owned by Chief Allison and Chief S. O. Gbadamosi, father of Ragolis bottled water entrepreneur/cultural icon, Rasheed Gbadamosi.
There was a moneybag in Lagos in the 50s and 60s known as Da Rocha for who Lagosians coined these words: Bo ba lowo to DaRocha, o le lowo ju DaRocha, meaning if you have money as much as DaRocha, you cannot be richer than DaRocha.
The absence of civics in our schools had diminished the inculcation of essential things our children need to know, and therefore inadvertently been elevating ignorance to an alarming level.
I fear for our future if this trend is not quickly arrested across the country.
Like it or loathe it, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has been quite impactful on our politics in this country, just as our sitting President, Muhammad Buhari, who is, through his war on corruption, trying to re-engineer the nation. It is hoped the revisionists will not succeed in reversing the current trend.
The man for who we can talk of democracy today, Bashorun M. K.O. Bashorun, loomed large in his time as an astute and international businessman and philanthropist. His stature grew when he forayed into politics and became a symbol of democracy. But the truth is that theres a present danger that his name and exploits may fade in the next decade, if deliberate, planned and sustained effort is not made on the national scale to resume and prioritise the study of civics in schools.
Philosophical apala musician, Haruna Ishola sounded a warning in one of his songs that:
Afefe to fe, to ndamu
ko niyefun, ma sa fara;
ko ya tete ko gba wole;
Translated to mean the strong wind that threatens to scatter kolanuts on the hawkers tray is a strong signal for the corn flour seller next door to pack her wares and go, lest the dry powder is blown off into thin air. Kolanuts you can pick on the floor, but not dry corn flour, like kerosene!
Given the huge influence of the president and his allies like Bola Tinubu and the state governors on the polity and the direction of policy thrusts of the nation at the present time, they should unite in their resolve to encourage the urgent restoration of the vigorous study of civics and history in all the nations schools.
The alternative is to allow all their efforts at national rebirth to go to nought and be forgotten soon as they exit the national stage of politics and governance.
Preservation of our history and icons is as vital as the air we all breathe, the absence of which can lead to atrophy. My thoughts.
Author: Oamen Eromosele