The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Education has been urged to, as a matter of urgency, consider the reintroduction of the study of History in the nation’s school curriculum. Making this appeal recently, the Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu said this had become necessary in view of the importance of the course to the advancement of socio-economic and cultural knowledge of Nigerian students in secondary schools across the country. Delivering a paper recently entitled, “The Power of Repetition: The Stories that Changed the World Forever,” at an event as part of activities marking this year’s World Day of Communications in Lagos, Fr. Godonu stressed that reintroducing the course which was arbitrarily yanked off the nation’s school curriculum some years back would help to instill patriotic and nationalistic valour within Nigerian children.
Drawing the kernel of his paper from the book of Exodus 10:2, which also formed the source of the theme for Pope Francis’ message for the 2020 World Day of Communications, the clergyman stressed on the importance of good storytelling in human history: “Stories that build up, not tear down; stories that help us rediscover our roots and the strength needed to move forward together”. According to him, “It is these human stories that have the capabilities of connecting the past to the present and forecasting into the future. It’s these human stories that have held the world together; interconnecting and interweaving one culture to the other.” He reasoned that the yearning by people for narratives that can help change their lives was the reason why African cultures and traditions have survived thousands of years through oral storytelling.
“And that is why we can say here that it was wrong for the Federal Government about 2 years ago to cancel or remove the study of history from Nigerian School curriculum. We want to use this medium to appeal to the Federal Government to bring back the study of history in our Schools because a people without good knowledge of their past will find it difficult to develop their present and future.” Fr Godonu who is also the Parish Priest of Catholic Church of the Presentation, FESTAC Town, explained that failure to tell our own stories, will cause others to take advantage and smear devilish and exploitative campaigns against us, quoting Pope Francis, “But whereas the stories employed for exploitation and power have a short lifespan, a good story can transcend the confines of space and time. Centuries later, it remains timely, for it nourishes life.” He said telling God our story is never useless: even if the records of events remain the same, the meaning and perspective are always changing. He then appealed to media practitioners to use the media to tell stories that foster the truth of human life and existence