This is very germane at a period many have forgotten their roots in the face of neo-colonialism. The beauty, significant and essence of history and highly cherished traditional culture seems to be heading towards total extinction.
An attempt at rejuvenating black African culture was made in 1977 through the historic Festival of African Culture held in Ikeja, Nigeria. Perhaps, the pre-colonial epoch as evidenced in diverse cultural practices in Nigeria has debunked the claim that Africa was a dark continent before the arrival of the white. The question is what is there for Nigerians to celebrate on this indigenous day?
Going down memory lane, history has shown that great and powerful Empires, kingdoms and City States have emerged during the pre-colonial period across what is now known as Nigeria. For example, one of the first states that were known to the outside world was Kanem, which later became Kanem-Borno.
Furthermore, the rulers called Mais belonged to the ruling dynasty known as Seifawa or Sayfawa Dynasty. The dynasty lasted for a period of not less than a thousand years. It was thus one of the longest ruling dynasties not only in any Nigerian political states, but of any state anywhere else in the world.
There were other powerful and centralized kingdoms, such as the Nupe, Jukun, Benin and Oyo Kingdom. At the height of its power, the Oyo Kingdom included parts of Dahomey and Badagry, Egba and Egbado. At a point in time, Alafin had under his control 1,060 vassal provincial kings and ruling princes.
Our Heroes and Heroines
In addition, there are notable heroes and heroines across the length and breadth of the countries who have contributed significantly to the traditional state formation and survival of their people and who are being referenced to date. Examples abound in almost all Nigeria ethnic groups; among the Yoruba, Oduduwa is a house-hold name as Yoruba cultural founder. To the Nupe in parts of Niger, Kwara and Kogi Tsoede is regarded to have played a meaningful part in the unification of the kingdom. The history of Hausa land cannot be devoid of queen Amina and Bayyajida.
King Nana of Itsekiri and Jaja of Opobo are household names in the Niger Delta. Queen Moremi of Ile-Ife, and the activities of Aba women in checking colonial government policy against women is historic.
Nigeria has a very vibrant and interesting history and this is worth celebrating in this world’s indigenous day.