The relevance of history in actualizing national identity and social stabilty: the nigerian experience, 1999-2014

‘National identity’ is a collective phenomenon; it denotes a group’s identification of itself as one. On its part, ‘social stability’ is a situation whereby social solidarity exists among diverse groups in a society. However, with particular emphasis on Nigeria, since independence in 1960, due to the fact that the country is made up of many ethnic nationalities, Nigeria has found it difficult to actualize desired national identity and effective social stability. The enthronement of civil democratic government since May 1999 has failed to actualize cohesive national identity and an orderly social stability; rather there have been recurring political, religious, ethnic and socio-economic crises across the nation, from 1999 up till 2014. Against this backdrop, this paper utilizes diverse secondary sources and the eclectic approach and argues that Nigeria’s quest for a cohesive national identity and social stability will remain an illusion if it continues to neglect its past. The paper recommends the knowledge of Nigerian History through its teaching from the primary to the tertiary level as the best means to actualize a sustained national identity and social stability. This is because our understanding of Nigerian history will indeed act as a bridge that connects the past with the present and points the road to the future; thereby enhance patriotism and national unity among the diverse ethnic groups in Nigeria.

Dr. Austine Uchechukw Igwe and Festus Chibuike Onuegbu,
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