By Uche Amunike
President Muhammadu Buhari has lauded a Nigerian professor of History and African Diaspora Studies at the Florida International University, Saheed Aderinto for winning the prestigious Dan David Prize, which is the largest financial reward for excellence in History, worldwide.
Speaking, through a statement issued by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, Muhammadu Buhari expressed his satisfaction at the efforts made by the selection committee of the international award, for appreciating the important and erudite contributions of the winner to the study of history, which throws light on the human past.
He also noted with joy, that by recognizing the works of the first and only Nigerian to win the prestigious prize of $300,000, the selection committee lauded the Professor, who was trained in the University of Ibadan, for ‘situating African history at the cutting edge of diverse literatures in the histories of sexuality, nonhumans, and violence, noting that it is exceptional to see a single person leading scholarship in all of these fields.’
He went on to say that he hoped that honoring the founding president of the Lagos Studies Association would also encourage the teaching and learning of History among students and scholars in Nigeria and beyond her shores.
According to Muhammadu Buhari, he fully supported the idea of History being taught as a stand-alone subject in every basic and secondary school all over Nigeria, adding that he appreciated the support of people, as well as leaders in History as a course of study, like Professor Aderinto, as well as other organizations because they help in improving the quality of learning in the education sector.
He extolled Aderinto for being a worthy Ambassador of Nigeria, while stating that his commitment to a course like History was a great reminder to Nigerians of a proverb in Igbo land that says that ‘A man who cannot tell where the rain began to beat him cannot know where he dried his body.’
Still on celebrations, Muhammadu Buhari has also hailed the first indigenous Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Elder Nath C.U. Okoro as he celebrates his 92nd birthday.
According to a statement released by his media aide, Femi Adesina, while felicitating with friends and family of veteran Okoro for his great contributions towards railway transportation in the country, he also thanked God for blessing him with sound health and long life, even as he particularly extolled him for his contributions to national development with the sterling record of founding the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NIIT).
The president also extolled the celebrant for his services to Nigeria and his passion for excellence as he served as Principal Consultant at the Federal Urban Mass Transit Program (FUMTP), where he ensured an effective transportation system and also, as he served as President of the Chartered Institute of Transport in Nigeria, now known as Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT).
His roles as former Vice President, West Africa , of the Union of African Railways (UAR) and representative of the country in sub-regional and global organizations where he always protected the interest of the country in all its negotiations were not lost on the president who also prayed for the good health of the nonagenarian and a fulfillment of his dreams for the airways.
Who wants to write the history of Nigeria? Is there any reason why there is no written history of Nigeria, when we have Nigerians winning awards as historians?