The Oughtness of the Politics and Culture of ‘Created’ Identities for Teaching Nigerian History: A Case Study of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa
Keywords:Culture and Religion, Egbe Omo Oduduwa Identity, Kwame Appiah, Yoruba
History education has been able to give a flowing account of how various cultures have been co-existing prior European encounter. The historical account has evolved from the mythical stage into the scientific stage with evidence adduced and coming forward to revise and even correct initial assumptions. In the face of these revisions and corrections, it is not in place to demand: how do we teach African history to students? What is the connection between religion and culture in the making of a people? Using Kwame Appiah’s cosmopolitan perspective as my theoretical framework and through the method of philosophical analysis, I tender that the idea of an identity that is distinct or peculiar to a particular people cannot be reliable. To make my point lucid, this research uses the Yoruba of south-west Nigeria as paradigm. I contend that the emergence of Egbe Omo Oduduwa is not tied to a special or peculiar identity, but a surge in the need to emphasize common grounds over differences in order to establish a common cause for a perceived identity. The point that has been established thus far is that all the small kingdoms and mighty empires that claim to share the Yoruba identity in contemporary times, were hitherto sworn enemies who hardly perceive things from a similar perspective. It is however interesting to note that it was during the colonial era and the press for political independence that informed the need to coalesce and create an identity from that which cuts across all of them to initiate a common denominator. From the exploration of the Yoruba peoples from earliest times to the present times, it is the case that there was no perception of common ground prior 1945. The factors that led to the recognition of a common ground are tied to the struggle for liberation from foreign powers. It is on this that note that this research submits that identities are human creations and they neither primordially original nor pure.
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