Former envoy to Canada and Mexico, Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher, has said that lack of new intellectual ideas is killing Nigeria, advocating new humanities as the vanguard in the struggle for a new nation.
According to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential aspirant, the there is no other group of intellectuals better to engender national greatness than the humanities who are capable of driving a new revolution of consciousness like Africa’s de-colonisation in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Speaking on ‘The Role of Humanities in National Greatness’ during the Faculty of Arts First Eminent Persons Lecture Series at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), the president of African Leadership Institute (ALI) in the United States of America believes that Nigeria can become a great country and defeat the present failed systems, if powerful ideas rooted in the knowledge of the present and the historical necessities of the future are generated.
Hagher, the guest speaker, reiterated that the country needed the new humanities that could answer its most challenging problems, including neo-liberal economy and globalisation, insecurity, ethnicity, corruption and poverty.
This, he said, is necessary because Nigerian leaders, in their anxiety to impress the west, have embraced neo-liberalism and globalisation without the needed manpower of incorruptible men and women whose interest is more in the country’s greatness than theirs.The founding chairman of Association of Pro-chancellors of Private Universities of Nigeria hinted that “the main role of the humanities is to mark progress of the world by connecting the past and the present in order to tell where we have started, have been and to envision where we are going.”
Humanities are disciplines that explore the human experience and document the experience through philosophy, literature, religion, art, history, language, law, mass communication and theatre arts, he explained.
Nigeria’s albatross, he noted, is her failure to take advantage of her large population.“We are a consuming nation, a greedy nation, and a parasitic nation that consumes all that the world produces, and contributes nothing in return. Our potentials have been potentials for too long.
The ships that deliver finished goods to our shores go back empty with nothing except our oil, which gives us revenue that we waste on things we do not need. This is a disgrace,” he added.The founding pro-chancellor of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) added that all great nations provide qualitative life for their citizens by building a sound infrastructure.