Mismanagement of the indigenous language diversity has been identified as the bane of Nigeria’s development.
Mrs. Adebola Adebileje, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State stated this during her presentation of the 8th Inaugural Lecture Series of the institution held recently.
Professor Adebileje while speaking on the inaugural lecture titled ‘Advancing Multilingual Education: Pathway to Globalizing the Nigerian Linguistic Landscape’ noted that despite the fact that the standard Nigerian English variety was the yardstick used for English-speaking countries in West Africa, only a few Nigerians speak the English language intelligibly while the country still has multitudes who cannot communicate in their mother tongues.
According to her, it implies that as a nation, we were neither here nor there in developing our indigenous languages that God has given us in abundance.
Professor Adebileje, a Professor of English Language Education and Applied Linguistics lamented that Nigerian language diversity that was meant to be our strength is now becoming our major weakness as a nation.
She highlighted the need for the governments at all levels to begin the
gradual process of ensuring excellence in the official applications of all the languages that God has blessed us within the country.
She recommended the working knowledge of an indigenous language as an indispensable tool for national development which will help Nigeria to better manage the numerous ethno-religious crises facing the country.
She noted that the decline in the ability of the young people between the age of 15 and 25 years to speak fluently one or more indigenous languages has serious repercussions for sustainable
Adebileje canvassed for the overhauling of the current national policy on education to promote multilingual education at all levels and the training of language teachers across the multilingual
landscape for educational purposes.
She advised that government must encourage parents and teachers to allow the use and application of many indigenous languages at home and in the classroom at all levels.