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LANGUAGE: A SENSITIVE PHENOMENON IN NIGERIA - DON

A Sociolinguistic Don and Provost, Federal College of Education Abeokuta, Dr R. A. Soyele on Wednesday, 13th October 2021 at the 10th Inaugural Lecture themed “LANGUAGE ATTITUDE, LANGUAGE CHOICE AND LANGUAGE SHIFT’’: A SOCIO LINGUISTIC X-RAY OF THE EXPERIENCES IN NIGERIA MULTILINGUAL CONTEXT, has opined that Language is a sensitive phenomenon in Nigeria.

According to him, Language attracts conscious and unconscious reactions to its use by individuals and communities adding that the fundamentality and importance of attitude in Language treatment could not be over emphasised. Soyele stated that in a multilingual context like Nigeria, the issue of National Language was sensitive and controversial saying that it was not unconnected with the attitudes users manifest towards the Languages. He stressed further that the present approach towards selecting a national language in Nigeria was reflected by the Educational Policy in the Nigerian Constitution noting that English Language in Nigeria, although neutral was a symbol of National unity and serves as a lingua franca among Nigerians who do not share the same indigenous language adding that it enjoys dominant configuration in the field of administration.

The Don therefore emphasised the importance of language and how language is used in the society, that speaks what language, to whom, when, where, and what pedagogical method chosen. He emphasised the complexity of a multilingual Nigeria Nation as a study with focus on Ogun State and he came up with the following:

While the Language Policies obtainable in the sections of the Constitution were beautiful with good intentions, it was left for our political actors and Government functionaries to have sincerity of purpose in its implementation;

Adequate attention should be given to the study of English, as it is instrumental in the nation and proficiency in its use still a requirement for promotion and social mobility;

Since English was the Country’s official language and had attracted positive attitude and loyalty by Government workers, strictly for official transactions, should be maintained while Government workers should be exposed to training and re- training opportunities among others.

Other activities that spiced up the Inaugural Lecture was the thanksgiving organised to mark the emergence of the sixth substantive Provost of the College, Poem rendition and traditional dance by some Students.

In attendance at the 10th Inaugural Lecture of the College were the Agura of Gbagura, Oba Sabree Babajide; Olu of Osiele, Oba Olufemi Olowoyo; Heads of MDAs in and around Ogun State, Provosts of other Colleges of Education, Family and friends of the Inaugural Lecturer among other dignitaries.