Premised on the desire to celebrate Black history and the achievements of Africans in the Diaspora across Nigerian universities, the Vice Chancellor of Bayero University Kano, Professor Muhammad Y. Bello has urged the federal government of Nigeria to normalize the commemoration of black history across Nigerian varsities saying that it would reawaken national consciousness and believe among Nigerian students.
The VC said this in Kano during a public lecture themed “Acknowledging Our History, Memory, Cultural and the Black Race” organized by the Departments of Theatre and Performing Arts, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and Bayero University Kano to commemorate Black History Month.
“From the 1980s down to the early 1980s, Black History Month in Nigeria was one of the biggest events in Nigerian universities where students of that era were concerned about the struggles of Black people in the United States, Apartheid South Africa and black people in the Caribbean. The black consciousness of the era is responsible for the freedom and independence many African states enjoy today. This generation has lost touch with their history and there is an urgency for the government in Nigeria to make Black History imperative for Nigerian students. We need the consciousness of the 70s and 80s to steer our country to the right direction
“We do not need anyone to tell us or write our history for us. We need to take charge of our destiny by getting the Nigerian students to see history as integral to the development of Nigeria in the areas of science, technology, arts and engineering”, he said.
In the same vein, one of the guest speakers Professor Tama Hamilton-Wray of the College of Arts and Humanities, Michigan State University said that the Nigerian ingenuity, creativity and cultural experience have not been celebrated enough saying “the story of the black race and people of African descents have largely been written by White people.
“The achievements of many Nigerians and black people have been downplayed for a century. As black people we need to begin to resist the narratives that portray us wrongly. We need to produce films that promote black and brown people and their achievements instead of the ones that associate colored people with crimes. White supremacy is subtly having its way. Education through the arts is one way we can stop them. It is one way to resist them and to promote our culture”, she said.
The Head of Department, Theatre and Performing Arts, Bayero University Kano, Professor Muhammad Bhadmus, in his lecture noted that history is central to all spheres of African development saying “Africa is underdevelop probably for its attitude towards its history
” The divergent historical accounts that have misrepresented people makes it difficult for history to be trusted. Nevertheless the way to rewrite the history of people of African descents and to awaken self identity is to bridge history with literature. It is not right for the United States to celebrate Black history for us. Nigerian government should take up the responsibility of celebrating our history because it is about our collective humanity and consciousness”, he said.