ByAlvan Ewuzie email@example.com, 07082020392
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Recently I was livid with rage against a popular cable network. I hesitate to name the provider with an identity easily given away by its African Magic channel.
Nigerian movies have remained the flagship therein, making such waves as made for an expansion lately. They added local language movies to the offering and created new channels for same. That was when they incurred my wrath. Why, for the love of my people, did they exclude one of the three major languages in the country? Hausa and Yoruba had channels to the exclusion of Igbo.
I was smarting to unleash a media campaign against such blatant ‘marginalisation’. I broached the matter in one of the editorial meetings here and the Editor gave a blank cheque with a caveat; don’t libel anyone, present facts as they are and be ready to defend your story. Preliminary research doused my zeal. I was driven by emotions rather than facts. The network was hard put providing content for any Igbo channel. The irony lay in a people making huge investments in Nollywood but producing no movie in their local language. The network cannot sustain an Igbo channel round the clock. I promptly perished the thought of a press campaign, especially given that the English Channel was largely fed by movies located in Igbo land. The implication was glaring but ironical. Igbo movies were shot in English language.
The occasion of World Mother tongue day as instituted by United Nations on Februaury 21 forcibly brought the matter to the front burner, once again. This time I asked the rhetorical question; Is Igbo language endangered? Are some languages so threatened that the United Nations have opted for a rescue via the mother tongue day.
There are about 500 Nigerian languages, not dialects. Some have already gone into extinction. Holma and Teshenanci formerly spoken in Adamawa and Jigawa states, respectively, have fallen on the flip side of history. No one speaks them any more. They are dead. One Nigerian scholar Dr Uwe Siebert whose material I saw on the internet insists that most Nigerian languages are heading to their graves because little or no documentation is taking place. He gave three reasons for the imminent death; Lack of interest, lack of trained linguists and lack of research.
All three reasons apply to the Igbo language. Many teenagers from that part of the country hardly speak the language even when they understand it. The pitiable plight is more glaring amongst those living outside the region. Clearly Igbo is the most endangered of the major Nigerian languages. No useful purpose is served in playing any blame game here. The thing to do is for parents to speak mother tongue at home. I laugh off my head when near illiterate parents, especially mothers, struggle to speak bad English to their kids, just to go with the joneses. I have heard the skewed argument that kids need to learn and speak English first given that vernacular is indigenous and they must get round to it willy-nilly. That’s heap load of ignorance. The truth is that people write and even speak a second language better when they are well grounded in their mother tongue. At the risk of incurring their wrath, mothers have a lion share of this duty. They have tended to make English the lingua Franca in most Igbo homes. Men, including yours sincerely, must also make decrees at home on this matter.
I do not know if books are still written in the language and how schools are doing. I was rather dazed to see my teenage daughter score an A in Igbo, a mark that bears little manifestation in her spoken prowess. I have literally had a running battle with the 13- year- year-old on her preference for speaking English at home. I can vouch that she probably writes Igbo better than she speaks. There may well be a disconnect with the written and spoken word in her school. Maybe teachers are also falling in the same pit with their students. But the bulk of the job lie with us as parents. I make a deliberate effort to communicate with the children in their mother tongue, even if my daughter insists on replying in English. I would keep speaking her mother tongue to her. Every parent should do same, except we have no qualms with imminent death of local languages.
This land has drank enough blood, not only from political stampede. From civil war to coup detat, from flood disaster to road accidents, from religious riots to bomb blasts; from plane crashes to assassination and dictatorship; from slave trade to armed robbery attacks, from the activities of witches and wizards to ritualism, from epidemic to hunger.
We have lost a lot in human and material resources which man-made, natural or satanically engineered. This has continued because nobody takes responsibility or checks them…each time a soul dies prematurely, a family, a potential and a destiny is wasted
•Darlinton Agomuo 080222905726
It is a pity that our security agencies may have had a hand in that tragic rally incident in Port Harcourt where people died. Our security operatives should ungergo more training in crowd control to avoid a repeat of such life wasting incidents. •Nnorom 07089988238
Alvan, I work and live in PH and I can tell you that security men in this town know their job and they have done very well. But what we gathered is that over zelous operatives from Abuja took over the job for that day, which is probably why the entire thing was messed up.
•Bitrus Inusa 07033118747
I wonder why 12 years of democracy still leaves us with military hang over in or security system as you rightly observed. What happened in PH would have been avoided if the security operatives where not overbearing. I suggest that our security men be made to observe global best practises in crowd control in order to avert such incidents in the future
•Sunny Coco Okonkwo , Isuochi
What happens to the families of those who died at the rally? Something should be done to compensate them for the loss of their bradwinners •Jude, Sango Ota 08126243306
God bless you for bringing up this matter. I hope it does not end without any action being taken as such matters in the past
Those who died in that rally have simply been sacrificed to diabolical juggernauts. That’s the fact unknown to many but there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed one day[matt. 10:26
•Ariel, Idimu lagos 08023883751
What are those people doing at the rally. What is their business in a rally where people who have impoverished them have come to deceive them again and keep milking them. Why should I go there to die, what for. I am sorry for the dead but I cannot be found in such a place.
The main cause of their death is poverty. If most of those people have something challenging them, they would not be there. How can leaders still be proud and expect us to be happy that we are now buying petrol freely from the filling stations. They have been promising constant power for ever. I know that God will judge them one day. •Mafe, AJ, 08055348499