Stakeholders Brainstorm On Nigeria’s Rebirth At HSN Confab

As Nigeria continues to wrestle with the multiple challenges ranging from economic recession, violence, political volatility and endemic corruption, some stakeholders, including political and community leaders and scholars, converged   on the University to proffer solutions to the manifold problems under the platform of the Historical Society of Nigeria (HSN) as part of its 61st Annual Conference held between Monday, 10 and Thursday, 13 October, 2016 with the theme: Nigeria Counts: Issues of National Rebirth.
Rivers State Governor, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, represented by Commissioner of Education, Professor Kaniye Ebeku and Dr. Ifeanyi Ekenasi who stood in for the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere, both emphasised the need to tackle the challenges facing the country by learning from past mistakes and applying the lessons in the present situation.
The Rivers State Governor pledged his commitment to ongoing effort aimed at reintroducing the teaching and learning of history in schools, while the Deputy Governor of Imo State noted that: “As a course of study, there is no discipline that is more encompassing as history; because you need to know the background to such a discipline before you can do well in it.”
They both agreed that for Nigeria to move forward, the ethnic groups must regularly sit down to appraise the history of the country in order to strengthen areas of strength and learn from past mistakes.
Delivering the keynote address entitled: A Society under Pressure: Thoughts on Leadership, Followership and the Re-invention of the Nigerian State, foundation Vice-Chancellor of Osun State University, Osogbo, Professor Sola Akinrinade, identified the fractious relationship between the leadership class and followership as central to Nigeria’s developmental crisis.
 “Simplicity and disharmony are not good historical tools because they never accurately capture social reality, and because they tend to impose the kind of helplessness we are all too aware of as Nigerians. The main duty of a professional historian is to harmonise the complexities of social reality into an analytical whole,” the keynote speaker said, arguing that ethnicity or tribalism, crime, corruption and economic recession are manifestations and not necessarily the root of problems bedeviling the country.
“The root I argue is really an intellectual one–or better posed, it is in our failure to kick-off and sustain an indigenous intellectual project. An indigenous intellectual project must be inward looking, does not need external verification; it must value every single Nigerian over every single non-Nigerian. It cannot be comparative even if it is not unaware of developments elsewhere. Its terms, concepts and aspirations must be locally meaningful, and must not be measured against foreign and deeply implicated theories,” Professor Akinrinade said. He further explained that intellectuals must forge unity out of diversity, equality out of privilege, vigilance against lawlessness, democratic inclusions over social exclusions, governmental legitimacy and respect for collective humanity.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, who spoke through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Anthony Ibe, congratulated the Society for successfully organising its 61st Annual Conference in the University, expressing optimism that the event would contribute towards the socio-economic transformation of the country.  
“Let me seize this opportunity to congratulate your association on the cheering news of the restoration of History as a distinct subject in the Primary and Secondary School syllabi. It must be emphasized that every privilege attracts a commensurate responsibility. The onus, therefore, lies on the leadership of the Historical Society of Nigeria (HSN) to mobilise historians across the nation to reciprocate the kind gesture of the Federal Government in restoring the subject. We look forward to a speedy historical reconstruction of the various ethnic nationalities and deployment of historical craftsmanship to solve our teething national problems,” Professor Ibe told the gathering.
Chairman of the occasion, Professor Godwin Tasie, who also commended the Federal Government on the move to return the study of History to the School syllabus at the Junior and Secondary School levels, called for the establishment of Archival Studies in Nigerian universities to document the nation’s past and present developments.
Goodwill messages were presented by Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Professor Femi Shaka, Amanyanabo of Opobo, King Dandison Jaja, and Paramount Ruler of Alesa Eleme, King Nkpe Nkpe II. 
The opening ceremony which also coincided with the birthday of the President of the Society, Professor Christopher Ogbogbo featured the presentation of awards to some dignitaries, including Emeritus Professor Ebiegberi Alagoa and Professor Sylvanus Cookey.   


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