President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria cannot afford to fail in view of her vast human and natural resources.
Also, former President Olusegun Obasanjo described Nigerians as “not a reading people.”
Speaking at the launch of a book, “The Nigerian Century,” edited by a seasoned journalist, Dare Babarinsa, at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, on Thursday, the President, in his prologue to the book, noted that the nation needed to nurture writers, scientists and statesmen.
Buhari, who was represented by a former Ekiti State Governor and the Vice-Chairman, South-West, the All Progressives Congress, Chief Segun Oni, said that Nigeria had been in adversity, but was nurtured by the furnace of colonialism.
He paid homage to the founding fathers of Nigeria who “hoisted the banner of freedom we are enjoying.
“Nigeria is indebted to the founding fathers of the anti-colonial struggle who hoisted the banner of freedom we are enjoying. Each of our past leaders had modulated and moderated the turbulence of power and Nigeria has no reason to fail,” the President, who was the special guest of honour, said.
The presenter of the book, the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said knowing little about the nation “is a peril we cannot afford,” adding that he had read the book and found that Nigeria had justified its position as the giant of Africa.
He lamented that youths were no longer studying History, noting that foreign schools in the country were teaching young Nigerians the histories of foreign countries at the expense of Nigerian history.
He said, “Most youths don’t know Nigerian history and in 40 years, some of them could be governors. History should be restored to the school curriculum and this book (The Nigerian Century) should be available in all schools and Nigerian missions worldwide.”
Tinubu observed that the nation was grasping with the challenges of change, stressing that through history, she could learn how she got to its current position and the way out.
The Chairman of the occasion, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, stated that the book captured the essence of the nation and its people, describing the compendium as a gift to the younger generation.
The former President, who was represented by a foremost pharmacist, Prince Julius Adeluyi, admonished Nigerians to learn about the nation’s history, noting that people below 40 years were becoming more ignorant.
“The author has done everything to produce a unique book, but it is sad that Nigerians are not a reading people,” he noted.
The book reviewer and publisher, Ovation Magazine owner, Dele Momodu, described the book as an encyclopaedia of Nigerian history.
According to him, the book is a repository of information and knowledge on the first 100 years of Nigeria.
The author said the book was conceived in 2013 and slated to mark Nigeria’s Centenary in 2014, adding that he received encouragement from the last administration, but no financial support.