“One of the things we share in common is our history; we can divide ourselves but not our history”
Every year, Nigeria pays tribute to its fallen soldiers on January 15, armed forces remembrance day which coincidentally is the same day as the first military coup. This year, as government officials prayed for the families of fallen soldiers and laid wreathes on the tombs, a small crowd of history lovers gathered in Lagos for the official launch and book reading of Olasupo Shasore’s A Platter of Gold
Shasore, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria historian, and writer recently released his latest book, A Platter of Gold which tells the story of Nigeria from the years preceding independence. It is often said in some circles that Nigeria did not struggle for independence that it was handed over to them on a Platter of Gold. It is this premise that Shasore explores in his latest book.
“There were the agitators and the co-operators”, he said during the book reading on Sunday at the Simi Johnson centre in Lagos, “without either group attaining independence in 1960 might not have been possible. If the agitators had not agitated, the British colonial government might now have been pushed to grant Nigeria her independence and without those who co-operated attaining independence might have been bloody, so both groups played important roles in grabbing independence for Nigeria at 1960.”
In A Platter of Gold, Shashore utilized the tools of creative non-fiction in telling story of Nigeria’s history with the British colonial government. He told stories of eight colonial governors and those whose roles were not acknowledged in the history books. He brought the activities of Ahmadu Attahiru, the sokoto Caliph and his Calvary soldiers, of the Eleko of Lagos and his chiefs, of Nwanyewura and her women that came to be known as the Aba’s women riot, of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and many other prominent people who resisted British rule, A Platter of Gold also explored the lives of everyday Nigerians, those who although not named in the history texts played very vital roles in demanding independence from the British Colonial government.
At the book reading, Shasore read selected passages from the book, to a curious audience which consist of colleagues of Shasore, (lawyers), friends, teachers and other professionals, they would later ask him questions about his process of writing, why he chose to write in creative non-fiction style and of course how to tackle the learning of history apathy that has engulfed the entire country.
On his style of writing, Shasore said “I wanted to avoid the book reading like an academic text, to make it more interesting and captivating to read, especially to the younger generation. The happiest day of my life would be when I see a young 25 year old relaxing in the beach and reading a copy of A Platter of Gold, I would be content and die happily.” On the apathy of learning history in Nigeria, Shasore said, “History use to be an important subject in schools, just like maths or English. During the military era, he subject fell off the curriculum and was subsequently banned, when it was finally taught in some schools it was merged with civic studies or home-economics- no offense to home economics but history is important”
This is one of the many reasons why A Platter of Gold is an important book, because we are at a time when Nigerian millennials know little or nothing about the basic history of Nigeria, while they are very familiar with that of America and Europe. Shasore hopes that A Platter of Gold arouses enough curiosity in Nigerians to learn more about ourselves and our history and also motivate academics to draw a curriculum around it and write history text books for Nigerian schools.
To get your copy of the new book,get in touch with Quramo Publishing Here