On the heels of the removal of history from the list of subjects in Nigerian schools some years ago, historians and culture activities have been mulling new ways of integrating history into contemporary learning. History had been repeatedly taught outside the four walls of the classroom through documentary videos and photo exhibitions. In the quest to survive on a daily basis, feeding on history is hardly a popular subject in present day Nigeria. Many historical materials are in deteriorating conditions, piled up in old government-run facilities without climate controls.
Like many parts of Africa, Nigeria was incorporated into the British Empire as the drive for imperial possessions in the late 19th century. On November 14, 1851, the HMS Bloodhound berthed at Badagry with its cargo to counter the slave trade policy of Oba Kosoko of Lagos. After failing to persuade him to give up the throne peacefully, the British naval forces swooped in and Lagos was invaded.
Leveraging on technology, a culture activist, archivist and brand strategist, Oludamola Adebowale created the 1851 Agidingbi game to bridge the gap between young people and the knowledge of this history. Described as an immersive game experience, the game app is fashioned after the traditional chess board with the characteristic six pieces named after the key players in the story of the British invasion of Lagos. They are: Erelu Kuti of Lagos as the Queen Mother, Oba of Lagos as The King, Adamu Eyo as The Rook, Omo Ogun Eko as The Pawn, Eletu Odibo as The Bishop and Abagbon as The Knight.
The lockdown at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic created some free time for Adebowale who described the app as his “pandemic experiment.’’
“I worked on the design as well as the legal component of the project. In years to come, I will be doing quite a number of project where I will be infusing history culture and technology to form an educational or innovative tool to boost the economy, socio-cultural part of our lives and to promote and preserve history,’’ he said.
The launch of the game board is slated for December to commemorate the 170th year anniversary of the British invasion of Lagos. Meanwhile, the 1851 Agidingbi game app will be available for download after the October 16 launch at Red Door Gallery, Lagos.
The 1851 Agidingbi Games is Nigeria’s 1st History themed Variant of the Chess Game.