Enemies of Igbo Language.



Efforts by the Imo state government to ensure that its departments, parastatals and agencies embrace its Rescue Mission Agenda is so far very impressive. However, certain key areas still stick out ignoring the carrot approach and begging for the stick before collapsing into the new administrative structure.


It is in this light that one welcomes the dress code for Imo public officers. But to complement its uniqueness, an embittered race ought to have been more inward looking at least culturally.



Being a homogenous state in terms of language, it will not be out of place to prescribe language code and make Igbo rather than English the official language in government offices. There may be some exceptional cases but with time the picture will get clearer. The prescription of Igbo language for public offices will certainly promote the use of Igbo both in the homes and outside Igbo ethnic homelands.


On the other hand, private schools whether nursery or primary seem to have much to contribute to reversing the waning fortunes of Igbo language rather than act as a cog in the wheel. It is an abomination that within Igbo land, there are pockets of Igbo homes where parents and their children communicate only in English. If it were in Lagos state or other Yoruba states, the anomaly could be tucked away as unavoidable.


In these Western states, Yoruba language and not English is forced down the throats of the pupils to “Yorubanize” them in a way in spite of ethnic diversity. But Imo state is not so constrained and therefore no reason why Igbo children in Igboland should not be taught how to speak and write in Igbo. The indulgence is indeed stretching Igbo man’s republicanism to dangerous limits.


Frankly, enemies of Igbo language are many and diverse, some in disguised forms. They are there even within the Rescue Mission household. Some traditional rulers still speak English in their palaces and at public functions. The aberration is still enjoying a field day in spite of HRM Eze Samuel Ohiri’s crusade to restore Igbo language to its former glory.


Many Imolites feel that business in the Imo House of Assembly should on certain occasions be conducted in Igbo language. Not the core areas of legislation but other areas less complicated. It was Igbo man’s disregard to his mother tongue which induced enemies of the race to warn that unless some thing is done, the language may be extinct by 2015. Neither the Yorubas nor the Hausas can merit this dent because they are over obsessed with their indigenous languages.


In fact, Igbo language began to experience the current drift away from the normal ever since women emancipation became a household word in Igboland. The concept swept women away from the homes into the streets and offices, thereby compromising their basic role of child up bringing. With this development, children grew up with the mixed cultural values which the streets offer in abundance. This is why during the formative years, Igbo children are hardly exposed to their indigenous culture and language.


To revive interest in Igbo language, government should bare its fangs against nursery schools which toy with the teaching and learning of Igbo language in their schools.


The award of scholarships should henceforth be determined by the candidate’s proficiency in Igbo language while public officers to merit promotion in the service, Igbo language must constitute one of the compulsory papers. On its part, government media ought to be forced to broadcast 60 percent of its programmes in Igbo.


With these measures in place, Igbo language will certainly recover its hue and be at par with Hausa and Yoruba languages.

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