“It is now imperative that we bring back the forest of books. This is no longer negotiable giving the sensitive situation our dear nation Nigeria now finds herself. There seem to be that nobody is telling our story. Our publishers are no longer writing about our people and possessions. The printers no longer print what is from our bosom. The virtual book cannot attend to our thirst for knowledge given the epileptic electricity situation. So we need the books”.
Professor Hope Eghagha, a Lecturer in the Department of English and a former Commissioner for Education, Delta State, was the Keynote Speaker at the 2016 edition of the Nigeria International Book Fair (NIBF) which held at the 5000 capacity seater Multi-purpose Hall of the University of Lagos, from 9 – 14 May, 2016 with the theme ‘Book – The Untapped Entertainment Treasure In Africa’.
According to Prof. Eghagha, “Our country is today exposed to violence of different sorts because the children of this generation did not read our story. They probably had no one to tell them what had transpired in time past and had not, say by accident, read about the effect of unrest and violent attacks. Indeed, no one had told them the history of our dear nation pre-independence, independence and even post-independence era. We need to tell them our history. We need the books”.
It would be recalled that very recently, the Federal Government through the Nigeria Education Research and Development Commission (NERDC), had expunged from the national curriculum the knowledge of History as a subject of study in Nigeria schools.
Responding to this development when questioned by journalists, Prof. Eghagha said, “I remain resolute in my passion to oppose the decision. Judging from my days as an Education Commissioner, I can recall that one bottleneck suffered by States Education Commissioners is that providing education is not the duty of a State Government, but Federal. If History is not taught in schools, how will the people tomorrow know that the bold political change that happened in 2015? How will they know of the issues around civil wars in Nigeria? How will they know of the activities of miscreants who go about kidnapping people of class, even my very self? It is now in the court of the public to fight for re-instatement of History as a course of study in our schools nationwide”.