• @ Pastor OJELABI’s Birthday
Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, the Senior Pastor of the Trinity House Church, has said that unless we go back to History in addressing some fundamental issues, Nigeria might not achieve the desired peace and development. He added that History is the foundation that guides the activities for today and the future.
The Pastor made these revelations in Ibadan last week while speaking on a topic: “History As A Catalyst For Peace And National Development”, at the inauguration of the James Adekunle Ojelabi Foundation (JAOF), where he was the Guest Speaker.
History, according to Pastor Ighodalo, “is an umbrella term that relates to past events, which he said were regarded as memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about events.
“I used Dr. Ojelabi’s book for history at King’s College in 1970s way back before the Babangida’s era and it was interesting to know that even in this present edition, there are write-ups on the Babangida era, including a section on Boko Haram.
“The activities of yesterday have suddenly become history, the history of the past is, therefore, the foundation that guides the activities for today and the future.
“The now historical agreements of yesterday have now formed the basis of our economy and activities of today. For example today, the Jews are fighting for peace, and at the same time, they remained one of the most developed and economically strong nations in the world. This antecedent is based on their history, but peace eludes them even till today because of historical conflicts with the Philistines now known as Palestinians in the past even since the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their economy is strong based on the historical principles of restructuring their values in the Torah and the leadership style of David and Solomon. Past history has directed their present.
“Similarly, Europe is relatively peaceful today and their areas are very well developed largely because of the historical antecedent of the Europeans, who rose from centuries of Medieval wars that metamorphosed into an industrial revolution and they all concluded at the end of World War II in 1944/45 that peace was an important criterium for industrial development.
Coming nearer home to Nigeria, it is deeply unfortunate that a lot of our leaders did not take the history and antecedents of this nation into consideration before making any unresearched quest for national leadership.
A political friend of mine who is doing a programme on African/Nigerian history at the Oxford University, recently admitted to me that the lessons he had learnt had been invaluable, so much so that he attested to the fact that peace may elude some parts of Nigeria based on a deep-seated mistrust among people as a result of the activities of the slave trade.
Why do we have such unrest and underdevelopment in Nigeria? Ethnic problems, mistrust among tribes, issues of Boko Haram, a fractionalized leadership, an underdeveloped economy and calls for restructuring? The truth is that history tells us that Nigeria is made up of different nations of different cultural and societal values whose natural evolution were truncated by the British and European invasion. Part of whose collateral damage was the destruction of our culture and values.
For example, a great friend of mine Yemi Candide-Johnson SAN, told me recently that one of the challenges we are having with our legal system is that, while the British legal system evolved out of the historical practice of their culture, the Nigerian legal system was imposed on us by the British without any reference to our cultural values and traditional system of justice.
He again explained that our present constitution is largely flawed because a constitution is a simple document contributed to by different federating units based on their history, backgrounds and values as a foundation of their agreement, to co-habit, co-operate and co-participate in the building of a nation that will promote their various interests.
There must be mutual agreement among federating units for there to be a federation. The present constitution that guides our democracy is not a product of any agreement among the federating units.
“The last proper constitution in Nigeria to which the various units participated and agreed to was in 1963 and the military truncated it in 1967 and from then till now, Nigeria has known no peace.
“Hence, the massive calls especially those who understand a bit of the history of the nation for restructuring and a general ignoring of the same by those who want to mischievously change our history.
“History determines the economy, the peace and progress, the thriving economy of Singapore is based on their history.
The progress of China and even India is based on their history.
“Our leaders should learn our historical past so that they can properly shape our economic future.
“History is not just a catalyst to peace, it is advancing the foundation of peace and national development.
“If you are not able to understand where you are coming from, it would be difficult to determine where you are going. May our history give us peace.”