The History and International Studies of the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University Lapai (IBBUL), in Niger State, has held its 6th National Conference themed: “Politics and Governance in Africa – Twenty years of Democratic Rule in Nigeria (1999 – 2019).”
At the auspicious event, the newly-appointed Secretary to the Niger State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, commended the bold step taken by the Federal Government (FG) in ensuring that History study is re-introduced in school curricula.
Alh. Matane, the Special Guest of Honour, was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office, Mallam Aliyu Isah Ekkan, who urged scholars at the Conference to engage in intellectually-engaging discussions that would bring to the fore relevant historical events that will promote peaceful co-existence in the country, and Niger State in particular.
He observed that by restoring History as a subject, the lost glory of the knowledge of our past and the preparation for the future has equally been restored, saying the nation lost her compass since the subject was scrapped some years ago.
Chairman of the occasion, and a former Director in Niger State Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mallam Kudu Isah, underscored the role of history in the socio-cultural development of many nations, stressing that any society lacking ‘rich, unforgettable and significant history, has certainly compromised its future.
The Vice-Chancellor (VC), Professor Muhammad Nasir Maiturare, in his welcome address, maintained that a critical study of history by Nigerian leaders will help them proffer solutions to teething challenges bedeviling the country.
He applauded the Department of History and International Studies for annually convening the Conference where stakeholders and erudite academics deliver talks on fundamental historical issues that would strengthen the nation’s democracy.
The VC, urged resource persons and other intellectual participants, at the conference to explore ways to tackle the wave of kidnapping, banditry and insecurity generally, in the country.
On his part, Professor Sule Mohammed of the Department of History, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, called on elected public office holders and influential political parties’ chieftains to eschew godfatherism if democracy must thrive, and yield its dividends to the electorates.
Prof. Mohammed, who was the keynote speaker, said there is need for the country to adopt unicameral legislature and reduce the cost of governance, so as to make resources more available to provide basic infrastructure for the citizenry.
The lead paper presenter, Professor Abdullahi Musa Ashafa, who is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at Kaduna State University (KASU), explored both the memorable and ugly experiences of Nigeria since she returned to democratic rule in 1999.
He said since the country is passing through a difficult time, it behoove on the political actors to operate and play according to the rules of the game for the nation’s socio-economic rejuvenation.
Also speaking, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the State, Professor Sam Egwu, in his paper, noted that a ‘comprehensive and thorough’ electoral reform is critical at this juncture of the nation’s democratic voyage.
He argued that the process of appointing a chairman for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other board members should be transparent, autonomous and rigorous.
Earlier, in their opening remarks, the Dean, Faculty of Education and Arts and Head of Department, History and International Studies of the University, Dr. Salahu Muhammad Lawal and Dr. Sheshi Sidi, thanked distinguished guests and teeming participants who attended the event.
Highlight of the opening ceremony of the conference was a public presentation of the 8th edition of Lapai Democracy Series, titled: “Democracy in Nigeria – A Reader,” by the Secretary to the Niger State’s Government.
Mahmud can be reached at: [email protected]