Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Tuesday, 26 July 2016
One of the dictionary’s definitions of the word ‘language’ is the systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols. Underpinning this definition and other definitions of this word is the emphasis on communication– a crucial aspect of living in this era. The prevalent phenomenon of this age –globalization – has created enormous benefits for those who can effectively communicate their value, and exchange services with the varied people and cultures that inhabit this planet.
Nigeria is a culturally rich country with a diverse population possessing visible language divides. With about 500 ethnic groups and each one boasting its almost unique language or dialect, supremacy of the language of communication is often fought between the three dominant ethnic groups and their respective languages – Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba Language. This has had the consequent effect of a tacit neglect of how best we can integrate globally and leverage on the world’s culture and its vast human resources for strategic goals. Asides English Language that has its roots from our colonial past, we cannot boast of other foreign languages that are spoken by many of our citizens – French Language, although being taught in some schools hasn’t been given the requisite attention needed in effectively learning a language.
As a personal example, in my secondary school days, I was mandated to take the three major Nigerian languages as subjects and pass them. Although, knowledge was being added, I dare say that it was a sub-optimal use of any pupil’s time given the relative obscurity of any of these individual languages on the global landscape. Till today, I only communicate in one of those languages – my own dialect. Being a member of an international non-governmental organization, often times when international conferences are scheduled, there is usually the issue of Nigerian attendees not being able to enjoy rich conversations in the local tongue of prominent host countries. A contrast to many of our African counterparts that hail from Francophone countries, yet make diligent effort to learn the English language (Nigeria’s official business language), hence having the added competence of enjoying to a higher degree, the diverse and differing culture the world offers.Singapore had a similar issue when in their formative days as a self-governing nation, four languages (Chinese Mandarin, Tamil, Malay and English Language) prevailed with a number of other dialects used in communication. It took a calculated effort by its leaders to straddle the beneficial path where international relevance was not sacrificed on the altar of preserving cultural identity. Achieving this goal enabled Singaporeans to be of better relevance to global businesses as against their other Asian counterparts, and experience enormous leaps in their development as a nation.
I reason a holistic approach has to be adopted in ensuring that Nigerians are better equipped to communicate their competencies, skills, knowledge and effectively integrate to the immense opportunities provided by globalization thereby enhancing our competitive advantage. It is not uncommon these days to see job opportunities requiring interested applicants to speak proficiently or at least professionally two or more international languages.
I believe that if schools can come up with a curriculum to meet this language gap, we can take longer strides towards better leveraging the opportunities being a polyglot offers. This approach should not discount other educational fora that can be harnessed for this purpose, for learning isn’t restricted to the four walls of a classroom. Astonishingly, research enlightens us that a child in his/her early stages of development can comfortably learn as many as six languages.
I posit that we have a primary and secondary school curriculum that mandates students to learn at least one local and one international language. At university level, all students should be mandated to learn in their first year, another international language with students in the language field mandated to major in any language of their choice with a minor in another international language and encouraged to take courses that teach yet another foreign language. It is easier for a language student to appreciate the selected language course of study when he/she can contrast that language with other languages.
While I understand the need to preserve one’s heritage and that to achieve this, one has to preserve and distill one’s language to the younger generations, I reason that pre-tertiary education can be reformed to achieve the aim of ingraining cultural identity. Additionally, heritage centers that entrench our indigenous languages should be commissioned. It is a good plus that the Nigerian society and its prevalent communal approach to life helps transmit our local languages to the young.
PS: I define International/Foreign languages as languages prominent in International business and the world’s landscape: French, Chinese, Arabic, and German.
Monday, 25 July 2016
Sunday, 24 July 2016
Saturday, 23 July 2016
Name the African President –
Was over 70 years old when elected President. Voted in on a wave of populism and on his 4th attempt.
Ran against and ousted an incumbent. His opponent in the election was an erstwhile Vice President who became President after the former President took ill and died in office.
There was general disillusionment with the incumbent’s performance and allegations of corruption (especially in the oil and gas sector and pertaining to crude oil sales) was rife.
His supporters argued that though he lacks a formal education that he has the required prior experience from holding political office at various levels.
Known as a disciplinarian, and action man, for ‘speaking his mind’ and his ‘anti-corruption’ stance.
He vowed to lead by example, root out corruption, and also to cater to the poor, putting money in people’s pockets.
His co travelers and alleged major campaign sponsors had corruption overhangs, a number had ongoing corruption cases at the nations courts.
He pledged to strengthen the local currency against the US$ and probe the sale / privatization of some state companies.
A couple of months into his tenor his axe came down on a number of multinationals that included a major Telecom provider (owned by a leading African country), the biggest bank in the country etc. He also deported a number of CEOs of major multinationals. Some people where worried while most cheered him on.
His early days in office where characterized by unguarded and often outlandish statements and claims. His speeches more often than not went off script which led to his official spokespeople scampering to rationalize his statements.
Almost a year into his tenor in office there was no clear economic policy direction (people were asked to be patient and regaled with tales of how corrupt the previous administration was) rather, the investing public where at the receiving end of a barrage of wild statements.
This was followed by deterioration in press freedom, a clampdown on perceived opponents.
Then came a flurry of FX Demand Management Monetary Policies, increased taxes, threats of sanctions, against multinationals, media persecution and prosecution of perceived political enemies under the guise of an anti-corruption war with near to zero conviction rate.
He introduced the Treasury Single Account (TSA), a unified structure of bank accounts which gives a consolidated position of Government’s cash resources. The TSA System’s aim was to improve the Government’s ability to efficiently and effectively manage public financial resources by refining current payments processes, and eliminating redundant procedures between itself and its clients.
There was increased public debt, borrowing to fund recurrent expenditure.
Despite the allegations of corruption leveled at the erstwhile President and former ruling party during the campaigns, and despite series of probes, investigations and court appearances, not a single major conviction was secured
Observers cautioned that an uncertain environment raises anxiety among investors…that uncertainty is not good for any business. But the party cadres smelt blood in the water…based on emotive patriotic zeal people insisted that foreign companies must ‘learn to do business in our country or leave’. A lot of people actually applauded…a constant an reinvigorating Amen Corner.
Today analysts say that the country’s problems have “been exacerbated by a lack of fiscal restraint and policy volatility that has undermined investor confidence”.
Who is this President?
And the correct answer is
*more drum rolls*
*and more drum rolls*
*and plenty, plenty more drum rolls*
The late President Michael Chilufya Sata, the fifth (Republican) President of Zambia. He was President on the platform of the Patriotic Front party from the 23rd of September 2011 until his death on the 28th of October 2014.
I suspect that most of you got it wrong.
Friday, 22 July 2016
Hello Kon, I understand you're not an igbo guy which makes it easier for you to advise me, I think. My relationship has lasted three years now, although the first year was not so serious. As things became more serious and we became exclusive in the second year, we had "the talk" and there was an understanding that we will get married at some point. That's a great thing because I love him so much and I cannot think of a better husband and baby daddy, he is just the best, not perfect sha. After he officially proposed some weeks ago and we told our families, my family started asking some questions because he's igbo and I'm not. In the course of this we found out that he is an Osu. My main issue with this is that he never told me all along but in his defense he said he didn't because he did not think it will be an issue, especially as I'm not igbo. But to my family this is a big deal breaker. The main gist about Osu from my research is that they're a lineage or family that has been dedicated to a god or shrine or something, and they are outcastes in igbo land. Marrying them is like a taboo.
My family does not want me so closely associated with an outcaste family, a forbidden family according to my mum, meaning I might become a pariah too. I love this guy so much but my family is against it although I know that if I insist they will not stop me. Pls if you were in my position what will you do?"
Thursday, 21 July 2016
Wednesday, 20 July 2016
Which way Nigeria?
Yesterday, I was returning from the salon and needed to pick some things from my local supermarket when a neighbour said to me. "Aunty, no dey come house late again o! Dey comot for work early". I asked why. He told me about Sunday.
There are lots of hotels and clubs around me and apparently, one caters to the Christians and another to Muslims. The Muslims, he said wanted to enter the Christian club; (whatever that means because I don't remember when night clubs became religious in nature); and the Christians refused. The Muslims left and returned in minutes with sticks, boots, guns and what have you. They three the first punch and Christians ran. They injured lots of people in the club and chased the fleeing ones. That brought them towards my house which isn't far from the clubs. There was more violence and security agencies moved in afterwards.
Thankfully, no one died!