History and National Development: The Historians and Government

It is essential that in every society that a sense of continuity be kept alive,  so that issues can be seen form a long term perspectives and be better understood.  Keeping alive in society such a sense of the flow of time is one of the most important functions of historians.  This why the proper teaching of history in schools at all levels [sic] is important.  Many other societies find ways to reinforce the teaching in schools,  through visual aids in museum,  national festivals and celebrations,  and various efforts in the mass media.  These forms of support either hardly exist in Nigeria or the notion of history that they project are themselves misleading.  It thus doubly necessary for us in Nigeria to look I again at our programs of historical education. 
Our planners need to abandon the imported model of modernization.  They need to educate themselves in the reality of our society in the present and how it has evolved from the past.  They need a healthy understanding of our history and our traditional culture so that they can be part of the dialogue between the past and the future, and confront the past in our present rather than continuing to waste effort in trying to run away from it. 

An excerpt from ‘Tradition and Development’  J.  F.  Ade-Ajayi. 

Book: Falola, Toyin Ed.  2000. Tradition and Change in Africa: The Essays of J.  F.  Ade-Ajayi.

Culture is a messy business, says new leader of the African Studies Center

….Yet misconceptions about Africa abound, beginning with ideas about its uniformity. His list of enduring misconceptions about Africa? “That it’s all the same country; that everyone is poor and starving; that all governments are corrupt; that all African cultures are all small-scale, communal and, basically, not us — a very primitivist vision of the continent.”

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