Every linguist is convinced that there is no one language that is better than the other, on the surface of the earth. And the other untold truth is that, no language is useless, ineffective or invalid. A people’s language is not just their make up identity; it foretells their destiny, it represents origin and value, it facilitates their output and production, it emboldens their earthly phenomenon in the comity of vast lingua franca.
There is no greater disservice than the disposition of an individual or people said to deny or disassociate themselves from their language. The significance of a language is, therefore, a function of the contribution of and commitment to the development of the human race by the owners as well as the users. Imperialism used language exportation as a vehicle for intimidation whilst unduly encroaching on the unsuspecting colonies territory.
No nation, at least from the diligent study of history, has attained sustained developmental growth or any enviable heights without sticking to their nature endowed and God given language. Otherwise, a confederation of divers people under a unitary government (as the United States of America typifies) adopts a preferred language as their official language, still have the tendency to excel at that. A standard language is a structured system of communication and by all means the primary medium by which humans exchange views and expressions either conveyed by speech, sign or writing.
Confucius studies locations as established in Nigeria are minimal. I have undertaken it upon myself to persuade higher school admission seekers to consider Confucius studies for very obvious reasons. This is a curriculum course that deals with the study of Chinese culture, language and history presently either as Bachelor of Science (BSc) or as a crash study program. Successfully, I have introduced nothing less than 100 students to read Confucius spanning three years now, unfurnished. This dispassionate effort is geared towards the appraisal of an available fleeting opportunity that is aimed at cementing bilateral relationships between world largest populated nation – China and Africa counterpart and number One country – Nigeria.
It also seeks to provide solutions to the rising unemployment statistics and proffer succour to our disconsolate loitering jobless youths. A country that has achieved almost zero poverty level and has more millionaires than indigent papers and destitute, their language deserves to be studied. A country which rapidly rose from obscurity and pariah status to become arguably world largest economic giant within less than 2 decades inspires interest and amazement. Without necessarily reading meaning beyond the ordinary, the acquisition of Chinese language knowledge stands anyone out and fetches the individual the landing of job opportunity, among other superior benefits.
Interestingly, my findings have revealed that a number of Chinese nationals sponsored by their government are in Nigeria universities like Nnamdi Azikiwe University of Nigeria Anambra state studying Igbo language. Don’t wonder why until you make a cursory visit to Sanyuanli City Guangzhou Prefecture China. This is a place in China where it is almost difficult for anyone to recognize as part of China but Nigeria as virtually all shops, offices in this place are predominantly owned by Nigerians of Igbo extraction. The few Chinese nationals here themselves speak Igbo language except if you don’t want to flourish in your business or socialise.
The Association of Nigeria Community in China headquarters in Guangzhou Guangdong Province and headed by Mr Maximus Ikenna Ogbonna is a monumental intermediary body and efforts at expediency functioning as or rendering public relations services primarily to China government regarding Nigerians residents in China. The Nigeria embassy at Beijing, notwithstanding. Perhaps as a way of appreciating the difficulty in deciphering the commonly used language of this overwhelming number of Nigerians residents in China and containing few but regular incidents of transactions gone awry, Chinese government deemed it worthwhile to understand the people language.
Other valid but inadmissible related matters in this discourse cannot be far from the issues surrounding the now biting debt profile rising of China to Nigeria. As dysfunctional, unkempt and disorderly Nigeria foreign debt may have proved up till date, it behoove a prudent lender who has no ulterior motives to study the ROI (for example) prospects or if truly the borrowed money is judiciously utilized, before deciding. Resentment and detachment attitude of Nigerians towards their President prodigal inclination to borrowing and sorrowing cannot be said to be misplaced. Granted that a radical analysis of and critical delving into this China Nigeria bilateral deals shrouded in precarious circumstances wil earn the detectator unpopularity, but truth must be published. On a good level playing ground, the two nations respective negotiating power appear to be on the equilibrium. The relationship, therefore, can only be of mutual respect and cordial and beneficial.
Language is, in conclusion, a vital tool by which other purposes are pursued and solidified. The exchange of language between two or more nations on friendly basis fosters development and sound recognition of the others cultural values and traditional standpoint. Funny enough, many Nigerians underrate the variety of beautiful languages which God has blessed us with only to realize the influx of foreigners on sole purpose to learn our language(s). Before we begin to bite our fingers in regret, shall we return to our senses, look inwards and as a masterful salesman, learn the art of seduction – translating your products and potentials to payments.
Most especially our wandering youths…while ASUU strike lingers indefinitely, acquaint yourself with Chinese language online course, and by the time the wicked government representatives wake from their slumbering, it will dawn on them that they have been beaten at it. Earn your good money and secure your peace and happiness. Anything outside of this will dig a void in your heart and when it is proved unsatisfying, unfulfilling, the disappointment and disgruntlement will be huge and unbearable. They are callous and selfish and will forever prefer subjecting you to this stalemate while sending their children and wards to prestigious universities in foreign lands. Balderdash!
Orajiaku, investigative journalist and social activist, writes via