The Evangelist News edition, Monday, October 30, 2023. By Arodiegwu Eziukwu
Prof Stephen Olali, Chief Historian/Archivist of Bayelsa has applauded Gov Douye Diri’s interest and efforts in preserving. promoting Ijaw historical heritage.
The renowned Professor of History and the Cultural Sciences made the commendation while interacting with reporters in Yenagoa on Sunday.
Speaking on the achievements of the governor who is seeking a second term, Olali noted that under the current
administration, the Bayelsa State Archive has been actively involved in the preservation of public records of the state.
He explained that the archiving exercise is being undertaken across the various ministries, departments and agencies of government.
Olali said that under his watch, the State Archive has been structured to partner with communities, companies, institutions, families, and individuals to preserve their archival documents for posterity.
Olali maintained that archives are important because they provide evidence of activities of the past and give insight to the historical progress and heritage of persons and of public and private institutions and organisations with a view to increase their sense of identity and understanding of cultural heritage.
“Archival institutions are generally legally constituted entities responsible for identifying, managing, and preserving the integrity of an institution’s official records of long-term value. Archives are the documented memories of the state or nation.
“Archives underpin every aspect of society ranging from education to the sciences, healthcare, culture, law, and the historic environment. Archives inform the future by helping us to learn from the past.
“An archivist, therefore, is concerned with managing records that have been identified for permanent retention because they have value to future generations. Archival management comprises the accession, processing, cataloguing, and access to records designated as having permanent historical value, ” Olali explained.
The historian said Diri is a highly cerebral and creative personality who has been contributing immensely to the advancement of the state in all sectors.
According to Olali, Diri has done so much to promote historical knowledge in Bayelsa, which has some of the most significant historical sites in Nigeria.
He noted that the Diri-led administration has sponsored several Public Lectures/Symposiums geared towards disseminating historical knowledge amongst the citizens of the state.
Olali, an accomplished scholar who has researched the historical development of Bayelsa from its ancient roots to its present existence, called on the academia to join the public to vote the governor for a second term in office.
He said the call is justified due to all Firi’s efforts at making Bayelsa State a peaceful place, admired by its indigenes, and attractive to investors, tourists, culture enthusiasts and other visitors.
Olali further notedthat anything archival relates to an archive, which is a record or collection of historical materials, adding that archival resources document the past.
“Most libraries have a special place for archival documents, like old newspapers and photos. An archive is a collection of older things such as books, music, or documents,” he said.