Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka speaking at the 24th edition of the Lagos Book and Arts Festival organized by Book Kraft has said that the removal of history from the curriculum of Nigerian schools by Government is a criminal act.
He said the memories of Biafra can’t be erased by the removal of history from schools curriculum as the agitation can never be defeated and wiped away.
Referring to Biafra, Wole Soyinka stressed that collective memory is the key because it is that memory which is related to the mechanisms of relating reality to whatever narrative is given to us.
According to him, it is far more important and it is more dangerous because you can get trapped in it and it is collected as a community activity, some of that already happening to residents in Nigeria.
Wole Soyinka further stated that the collective memory of Biafra is very strong, even before the war, he warned that the collective memory might remain to plague efforts at nation building and therefore, everything should be done to avoid war.
Using expressions like Biafra can never be defeated, it’s not just on the battlefield. It is also a notion, a passion which enters the collective memory in active life not just as a past narrative, says Soyinka.
He disclosed he had been given a sound warning about this for years and now, everyone is seeing it today.
Soyinka maintained it is so naive of Government not to recognize that there is something called collective memory that is active in the present.
And if the purpose of Government removing history from schools is to obliterate the war or memories of the war, what about events that led to the war? What about the position, the narrative of existence in relation to the outer world?