15th Year Memorial Lecture: Dr Yusuf Bala Usman, the Science of History and Nigeria (I)

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By Sa’ad Abubakar Zongre

Scholarship is such a verse and transcendental endeavour that thrives on sound intuition, focused mind, superb intellect, strong sense of organization, conducive environment, flexibility of thought, unwavering commitment, ideological orientation, immense intelligence, self-discipline, hardwork, courage, determination, and perseverance.

History as an academic discipline, is one of the leading branches of scholarship that is entirely engineered and sustained on the basis of establishing a strong relationship or bond with unadulterated knowledge, pure facts and truth for the purpose of having a well-informed society at all times.

History as a field of study, provides an insatiable intellectual appetite and an unending intellectual adventure into the past in order to make an informed analysis of the present for the betterment of the future.

ALSO READ: Dr Yusuf Bala Usman: A Great Legend Remembered By Sa’ad Abubakar Zongre

History as a scientific study, is a bold attempt by a well-tutored mind to diligently study, systematically understand, and empirically interprete the fundamentals of situations from the beginning of human civilization with the view of applying the knowledge acquired for the benefit of both the present and future generations of mankind.

History is globally and correctly regarded as the “Mother of all Academic Disciplines” because it is profoundly visible in all the other academic disciplines; be it in Medicine through “History of Medicine”, Engineering through “History of Engineering”, Law through “History of Law”, Mathematics through “History of Mathematics”, Political Science through “History of Politics or Political History”, Economics through “History of Economics”, Geography through “History of Geography”, Sociology through History of Sociology”, Information Technology through “History of Information Technology”, Journalism through “History of Journalism”, etc.

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Although some scholars and their likeminds from the other academic disciplines tend to undermine the visibility of history in their respective disciplines due to intellectual jealousy and ideological differences, history remain the only academic discipline imbued with all the vital intellectual fireworks to propel the wings of the other disciplines towards flying the routes of nation-building and national development successfully.

Therefore, established or renowned historians, are highly knowledgeable not only in the field of history, but in other disciplines as well based on which, they are well equipped intellectually and ideologically to appraise the genesis of all societal or national problems and address them within a historical context, and proffer workable solutions.

Dr Bala Usman
Dr. Bala Usman with some of his comrades

The late Dr Yusuf Bala Usman (pictured second from left), who departed this world exactly fifteen (15) years ago, precisely on Saturday, 24th September, 2005, was one of these established or renowned historians whose identity was quite synonymous with History as a subject of scholarship, leadership, nationalism, and patriotism in Nigeria, Africa, and the whole World.

He was an academic giant who deservedly earned and commanded a towering intellectual and leadership status of overwhelming currents among the most brilliant sets of historians in both the 20th and 21st centuries such as the late Professors Abdullahi Smith, Alphonsus Dike, Walter Rodney, Adu Boahen, Samuel Johnson, Michael Ajayi Crowther, Richard Sklar, Sa’ad Abubakar, Obaro Ikimi and few others.

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In view of the legendary intellectual prowess of late Dr Yusuf Bala Usman, which was rooted in his unquenchable thirst for achieving excellence in all fields of human endeavors, consulting his valuable historical works/books as means of finding workable and lasting solutions to the myriad of problems threatening the existence of our beloved country, Nigeria as a corporate entity becomes necessary.

 To be continued

Zongre is a former undergraduate student of the late Dr Yusuf Bala Usman at the Department of History, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1999/2000 Academic Session)


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