Posted by on Nov 26, 2018 in publications | 0 comments

Deliberate Distortion and Misinformation in Movie Productions of Literary Works: A Study of Beowulf

 

Aloy Nnamdi Obika PhD

Department Of English,

Madonna University, Nigeria,

Okija Campus, Anambra State.

08033820690

aloyobika@yahoo.com 

&

Uche Oboko, PhD

Department Of English,

Madonna University, Nigeria,

Okija Campus, Anambra State.

ucheoboko@yahoo.com

 

Abstract

The tendency towards taking anything associated with the Information Communication Technology (ICT) to be modern, accurate, scholarly and enlightening is causing problems in the study of literature and language studies. This problem has so permeated scholarship that many classical texts on poetry and fiction have been dramatized and saved on compact discs (CDs). These plates being cheaply sold in the market are mostly bought and watched by students who then jettison the original texts which are in hard copies. They go so far as to look down on the few students who go back to the abandoned hard copies. For the present researchers to prove that this trend is inimical to academic enquiry and growth, they collected many versions of the Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf. Using ordinary random sampling, they selected just one since studying all the numerous copies obtained will not be possible in a paper of this nature. But as it is in Beowulf, so it is in many classic works of literature. On studying just one of them, and applying Formalism as the theoretical framework, the researchers discovered four sources of errors that make the ICT version to differ from the original texts. These sources are: errors due to interpolations by the producers, omissions of parts of the original text, alterations of the text and the impossibility of transposing a work of literature from one genre to another. Given the wide deviation between the ICT version and the original text the conclusion is that any student whose only knowledge of a text is based on the ICT version cannot be said to have seen and known the text. Finally, there is the urgent need for all teachers of literature to warn their students about the danger in relying on video versions of recommended texts.

Keywords: Beowulf, Epic, Formalism, ICT, Language

Introduction

The craze about technology in our modern world conferred some superiority on anything that comes out of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) superhighway such that ideas expressed in the Internet or electronically disseminated are seen as not just current but scholarly. However, a critical study of some of the knowledge or literature electronically disseminated reveals the erroneous nature of this standpoint. An example of where such imperfection is glaring is in the aspect of rendering a literary work from one genre (poetry) to another (drama). This rendering is on the increase with some students jettisoning the printed copies of the texts and studying only the dramatized texts as they are in compact discs (CDs).

                With regard to the issue raised above, the experiences of the researchers illustrate what is currently in vogue. While teaching a group of students the Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf, one of the researchers discovered that almost half of the class had watched the dramatized epic poem in a video. On further enquiry, it was discovered that many classic works of literature have been dramatized and are being sold cheaply in the market. Among such works are: Homer’s Odyssey which is sold with its original title and the Iliad, which goes with the name Troy. Other reworked epic poems revolve round classical characters such as Hercules, Tristan and Isolde; the brothers Grimm and Alexander the Great. Other affected literary texts are Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur which sells with the name Merlin, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, etc. 

                It was difficult for the lecturer to convince the students to jettison the electronic versions of the text. To say the least, such versions are already adulterated with a lot of interpolations, misinformation, alterations and omissions. In their refusal, these students pointed out that the CD versions are more interesting and are rendered in simpler and modern English. What is more, the ICT versions are less voluminous and do not harbor archaisms that the hard copy versions contain.

                Inasmuch as they have a point in the argument put forward, the truth remains that there are overwhelming shortcomings in respect of the veracity of the story told in the dramatized electronic versions and their language of presentation. Literary scholars and critics should therefore create a proper platform to enlighten students of literature on the distortion inherent in the dramatized versions of literary works.

 

Method of Data Collection

Data for the research were collected from the hard copies of the classical texts produced in CD plates as well as their video versions produced in CD plates. These video versions were studied and analysed to determine the extent of the deviation from the original classical texts. This was done with a view to ascertaining the extent of distortion of original classical version and scholarship.

In view of the number of texts in which this distortion of the contents manifested, this research was restricted to the study of Beowulf. Given that many versions of Beowulf are in CDs, the researchers employed random sampling to select the version for analysis in this research. The theoretical framework adopted for the research is formalism.

 

Theoretical Framework

Formalism as an approach to literary criticism has to do with the elements with which critics analyse works of literature. With these elements, creative artists infuse meanings into their writings. Such elements are: characters, characterization, plot, diction, setting, imagery, point of view, figures of speech, et cetera. All these elements are subsumed in the type of language used by the writer. It is no wonder then that Robert DiYanni posits that: “Formalists emphasize the form of a literary work to determine its meaning, focusing on the elements such as plot, character, setting, diction, imagery, structure, and point of view”.

Going by this assertion by DiYanni, any distortion to the form of a literary work with respect to these elements amounts to changing the meaning or theme of that literary work. From the foregoing, it is quite obvious that reducing the poetry of Beowulf to the prose of the video version has simply destroyed the work by giving it another meaning. This is because without the elements of literature as they are in the original, what it is reduced to is a work that may be similar to the original work, not the original work itself. How can somebody who has not seen a poem know anything about the rhyme scheme, enjambment, metaphor, parallelism and so on? The present researchers agree that such a person may get the theme correctly. However, theme is not all about literature since the style is missing.

                For M. H. Abrams and Geoffrey Harpham in A Glossary of Literary Terms (2005:107), the ICT version has ceased to be literature if we go by their assertion that:

…literature is a specialized use of language and proposes a fundamental opposition between the literature (or poetical) use of language and the ordinary “practical” use of language. It proposes that the central function of ordinary language is to communicate to auditors a message, or information, by references to the world existing outside of language. In contrast, it conceives literary language to be self-focused, in that its function is not to convey information by making references, but to offer the reader a special mode of experience by drawing attention to its own “formal” features—that is, to the qualities and internal relations of the linguistic signs themselves.

                What the ICT version uses is the ordinary language normally employed in conversations and not the heightened verse of dactylic hexameter of the epic. The literary language in the original whose intention is not only to inform has three aims which ordinary language cannot easily achieve: to entertain, to educate and to help build the culture of the people. Any person who is conversant with the dactylic hexameter mentioned above can never fail to be touched by the nobility or grandeur of the language which is as a result of the meter. It was with this grandeur of language that the ancient poets incited their warriors to noble deeds.  

                On his own part, Roger Fowler (1973:78) starts his analysis of formalism from its inception. According to him, it grew up in Russia from the works of the SYMBOLIST movement. This movement emphasizes the autonomy of the work of art and the sharp difference between the language of literature and other kinds of language. Fowler goes on to insists that:

The Formalists, impatient with the obscurantism that disfigured Symbolist poetics, set about the objective and ‘scientific’ examination of literary style, defining it in terms of its departure from established norms by means of identifiable and analyzable devices. One talented Formalist critic, Victor Shklovsky, in the early essay Art as Device … emphasized that the deformation of reality, or what he called ‘making strange’, was central to art.

Here as in the views of other critics, the emphasis is in the use of language. Encapsulated in the language is the plot inside which are embedded all the elements of literature. It is with the plot that the creative artist creates suspense with which he holds the interest of the readers or hearers. This arrangement of words which produces the plot is also paramount in all genres of literature.    

                According to DiYanni, for the formalist, a literary work draws its life “…outside of any reader’s recreation of it” (p. 2071/77). In other words, what the movie producer does in order to capture the viewing audience and make more sales has destroyed the literary work because what he comes up with is totally a new work which he entitles Beowulf. By his interpolations, he has destroyed the plot and structure of the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf. His omitting certain scenes has destroyed some of the original images employed by the creative artist. For him to change the poetry of the work, he has tampered with the diction. No matter how it is assessed, when Formalistic Approach is used to evaluate the two versions, the result is that the two are different texts that have different meanings. Therefore, any student whose knowledge is only based on the ICT version cannot be said to have seen and known Beowulf.

 

 

 Data Analysis

                It is in the process of watching the content of the selected CD plate and comparing it with an authentic translation, that the researchers discovered four different sources through which errors creep into the dramatic presentations in the video versions. These errors come through: deliberate interpolations by the producers, omissions, alterations and deviations due to the restrictions posed by the genres from which and into which the text is being rendered. These four points when taken collectively can help to prove to any discerning scholar that the texts in the CDs are not the real texts but a travesty of them. In other words, these videos are not suitable for academic studies, and these students should be alerted about the danger involved.

 

Deliberate Interpolations

Most producers of these films have no regard for accurate rendition of the original texts. That can account for the different interpolations that they use to stifle the original texts out of shape. When one first watches the production of Beowulf by Movision Films which they did in collaboration with Darelight Films Endgame Entertainment, the first thing one notices is the title which is Beowulf and Grendel. At the end of the film, there is a repetition of the title followed by the name of the “author”, Andrew Rai Berzing.

                One may ask who this author is. Is he the anonymous author of the original and only Beowulf of the Old English Period? Is this Beowulf and Grendel the same as the Beowulf of Old English Period? A lot of questions can arise since what the film shows from these two aspects are at great variance with known facts about that primary epic. Instead of indicating that the script has been tampered with, the producers want the unwary public to be misled.

                This interpolation shows more when the film starts with two children somersaulting in an open field with an ape-looking man who has hairs almost all over his body approaching them from a distance. Also coming towards them is a group of warriors on horsebacks. On seeing them, the ape-looking man runs away carrying one of the children, without the producer taking the other child into consideration. When the soldiers have nearly overtaken him, the man puts the child down in order to face them. When he does so, the soldiers riddle him with arrows thereby killing him. Then, they throw a blazing faggot at him. Next, they throw his corpse over a cliff for it to fall for a long time to the foot of a mountain. Near the foot of this mountain is a raging ocean. The boy is spared by one of the soldiers after looking at him. Later, the boy traces the corpse of the man to where it fell. After several attempts, he hacks off its head and carries it away.

                But is this, part of Beowulf, let alone its being the first part of that epic poem? What the producer had in mind while producing the work was to pander to popular taste. There is no doubt about it that the appearance of such a scene at the beginning of any work can help to arrest the interest of the viewing populace but no matter its entrancing ability, this is not the opening scene of the poem which has to do, according to Abrams in The Norton Anthology of English Literature vol. 1 (1993:27), with “the early history of the Danes”. This early part talks about the glory of the spear Dane’s Kings who were so warlike that they “…took mead-benches away from enemy bands from many tribes, terrified their nobles” (Abrams p.27). If this real opening will be boring to the people whose taste is being catered for, the producer can start with the next important episode.

                True enough, Long (2013:10) has rightly pointed out that this prologue is not an essential part of the story but can be reviewed for the sake of the splendid poetical conception that produced Scyld, King of the Spear Danes. As Long (2015:10) further points out, this splendid poetic conception has brought about something that can satisfy the masses: “At a time when the Spear Danes were without a king, a ship came sailing into their harbor”. If the sailing in of this mysterious ship into a harbor does not arouse interest on its own, the baby who is the only occupant of the ship will, especially with the goods and wealth surrounding it. It is this baby that will later form the ancestor of the royal house.

                Some of these interpolations are there to create fear and apprehension in the audience, majority of who do not know the original text. The more bizarre a scene is, the more interesting it is. That can explain what happens when the soldiers who arrive with Beowulf are walking near a mountain. All of a sudden, a weird looking and leafless tree full of interconnected branches gets uprooted from the top of the mountain. With part of it sticking to its former position, it tumbles down swinging precariously downwards over the soldiers. This episode cannot be seen in the original text. Therefore, no matter how interesting it is in portraying the precarious life of the epic days, this is bad and misleading most especially to students who rely on the ICT production of this text.

                Another fear-instilling episode can be seen when Beowulf and his team are coming to rescue Hrothgar and his people. While one of the soldiers is leaning at the edge of the ship, a mysterious hand from the sea nearly draws him into the water. When the hand fails in its mission, it swiftly withdraws into the water.

                Also, after the falling of the bizarre looking tree, a scene of skulls arranged in a straight line is shown. A man is there, aiming and throwing stones at them. When any skull is hit and it falls, he goes back to prop it up again for him to start throwing his stones once more. No matter how fearful this is, the scene is not in the original Beowulf.  That it also adds to what Trivedi (2007:10) calls “…the most remarkable quality of the poem [which] is its haunting melancholy” and in spite of its cheerless and gloomy tone and atmosphere, this interpolation is deceitful and must be avoided by serious minded students.

                Many are the additions that went into the production of the movie. Some of these can be seen when the soldiers are searching for Grendel. At a time, they arrive at a waterfall. Near that is an oval-looking aperture in the mountain. These soldiers start shouting at each other through this opening. They then move to a cave searching for the monster, holding blazing faggots which produce light as if they have been rubbed with petroleum products. One should not question the producer to name the sort of wood that could produce such fire in those far-off days. This is more so when later, hidden electric light is seen in Heorot. Therefore, anachronism cannot be frowned at as far as the producer succeeds in beguiling the unwary public and the lazy students who base their knowledge of the work only on his film.

                But we cannot leave this section without talking about a sexual depiction shown in the movie. There is no insinuation in the original text of such a happening for the epic heroes and their antagonists are too serious minded to indulge in sexual escapades.

                Finally but without all the interpolations being taken into consideration, during the struggle between the soldier and Grendel, a soldier is killed in the affray. Not only that the soldiers discuss about this dead man as the person that nearly killed the small boy in the opening scene, there is a flashback showing the killing of the ape-looking man. The conclusion finally is that it is that boy that has grown up and has killed the murderer of his father. It is at this time that we are told that the boy is the son of the ape-looking man.

                Next in the consideration of what makes the movie to be a very bad study material for literary students is that in addition to interpolations, some essential parts of the texts are left out. Such a situation is bad no matter how interesting and entertaining the production is. This, then, is the essence of the next section.

 

Errors from Deliberate Omissions

                The writer and producer of this movie also mutilated the original story by omitting some essential parts of the story. The seriousness of this can be better understood when we understand what Sanders (2005:22) means when he states that: “…the poem  is in fact constructed around three encounters with the other-worldly with monsters who seem to interrupt the narrative by … intruding themselves into accounts of human celebration and community. Around these stories are woven stories which serve to broaden the context to a larger civilization and tradition.”

                But the “writer” has gone on to omit one of these encounters which is the last segment of the epic. In that section, somebody has tampered with a dragon’s lair and in anger, the dragon goes about setting people’s houses ablaze. By then, Hygelac, Beowulf’s kinsman and King has died and Abram’s (1993:55) translation has it that “… the broad kingdom [had] come into Beowulf’s hand”. Already, Beowulf has ruled as a king for fifty years and as such has become old and that is when the dragon with its destructive incendiary starts wreaking havoc. The old king has no alternative but to go for an attack in defense of his people.

                While preparing for the attack, the old King recalls part of the exploits of his youthful days:

                I would not bear sword, weapon, to the worm, if I know how else according to my boast I might grapple with the monster, as I did of old with Grendel. But I expect here his battle-fire, steam and poison. Therefore I have on me shield and mail-shirt. I will not flee a foot-step from the barrow-ward, but it shall be with us at the wall as fate allots the ruler of every man [Abrams 1993:59].

It is in the course of this battle that the old warrior loses his life having been deserted by all his warriors apart from one known as Wiglaf.

                This section of the epic is a very important one because without it, the entire epic seems inconclusive. In view of the fact that Beowulf is projected as a very strong and caring leader who can go to any extent to be helpful  to his people, this part could not have been omitted by the film producer. There is no reason whatsoever somebody who reads the poem will ignore this section because of its importance in the plot of the epic. It is the resolution of all the conflicts in the epic and as such, without this third part of the epic, the work is incomplete

                One may like to know if a student who leaves that part unread has actually read the epic. Based on this, it is essential for all hands to be on deck to point out the lapses in only watching the movie for what the movie presents is a far cry from the original script. While the original script caters for the need of academics and serious minded researchers who want to know the whole truth about a particular topic, the movie panders to the entertainment of the masses. Such people watch the movies and forget about them and will not, in the future, be taxed to account for their knowledge of what they watched.

                Another glaring omission can be seen in the episode at Grendel’s mother’s lair. If the producer has omitted only the way Beowulf was attacked by “… many a sea-beast,” it can be ignored (Abrams 1993:46). But where he goofs is an essential part of the work that helps to show the monastic intrusion into the epic, for on the hilt of this ancient weapon was etched “…. the origin of ancient strife when the flood, rushing water, slew the race of giants–they suffered terribly: that was a people alien to the Everlasting Lord” (Abrams 1993:49). This is a reference to Noah’s deluge.

                This sword, as it is in the original script, was hanging on the wall before Beowulf took it for the attack. When he used it on Grendel’s mother and other monsters, “…that war-sword, wavy-patterned, burnt away as their blood sprang forth, hottest of battle-sweat” (Abrams 1993:48).

                The errors here are many and some of them belong to other areas apart from omission but at the appropriate heading, we shall look at them. Apart from omissions, the sword in the film has not been reduced only to the hilt, being melted by the blood of the monster. Next, when Beowulf takes hold of it in the film, it is not hanging on the wall but lying on the ground. When finally he wins the battle and is going home, no mention is again made of this mysterious sword. Therefore, the hilt being taken as evidence to Hrothgar can only be strange information to those who shy away from confronting the original text.

                Many are the omissions but some of them are not so important that they can throw an unwary student overboard the epic ship. One of such omissions is that the biggest hall in the world of those days, Heorot, was closed for twelve years before the coming of the Geatish prince, Beowulf. But since these are not major parts of the narrative, a look at the writer’s deliberate alterations of clear facts of the epic is worthy of our perusal.

 

Deliberate Alterations

                One bad thing about this particular production that blazingly shows the limitation of studying literary works using their movie versions is the producer’s deliberate alteration of parts of the original work. In one of such alterations, Grendel enters Heorot after its twelve years of closure with the coming of Beowulf who orders that it should be opened. On hearing the celebration going on in the hall, the monster comes for an attack.

                In the movie version, the solders being apprehensive are all battle ready waiting for his arrival. As soon as he enters, they all surround him, each thrusting his sword and other weapons at his disposal. But is this a fact from the poem? By no means, for the poem has it that: “There came gliding in the black night the walker in darkness. The warriors slept who should hold the horned house all but one. “It was known to men that when the ruler did not wish it the hostile creature might not drag them away beneath the shadows” (Abrams 1993:36).

                Because of the frontal attack on the monster and because all of them are awaiting his arrival, the monster is unable to kill anyone. The only death recorded is accounted for as the soldier who killed the ape-looking man that was killed at the beginning of the film. The reason given for this lone death is that the boy, who has now grown up, has killed him. His reason is that the soldier killed the ape-looking man, his father.

                But is that the authentic record as can be found in the poem? No because while the only one who is awake, Beowulf is watching: “…the monster mean [not] to delay it [his quick onslaught], but starting his work, he suddenly seized a sleeping man, tore at him ravenously, but into his bone–drank the blood from his veins, swallowed huge morsels, quickly he had eaten all of the lifeless one, feet and hands” (Abrams 1993:36). The only warrior who dies in this battle is eaten by the monster but that of the movie has his corpse carried away. Is this reckless disregard for actualities what students study as a depiction of Beowulf?

                Further, during that attack of Grendel, the movie shows the monster having his hand tied to the roof of the mead-building. When he is unable to extricate itself, he continues struggling until his hand breaks off from its socket. With this freedom, he escapes to the fens. But is that so? No! His struggle with Beowulf shows that:

…the great-hearted kinsman of Hygelac [Beowulf] had him by the hand. Each was hateful to the other alive. The awful monster had lived to feel pain in his body, a huge wound in his shoulder was exposed, his sinews sprang apart, and his bone-locks broke. Glory in battle was given to Beowulf. Grendel must flee their mortally sick; seek his joyless home in the fen-slopes (Abrams 1993:39).

                After the departure of Grendel without one of his hands, the original script states that Beowulf “…had remedied all the grief, the malice-caused sorrow that Grendel caused. For him to prove this new situation, he “…set the hand up under the curved roof–the arm and the shoulder there all together was Grendel’s grasp” (Abrams 1993:37).

                Another alteration which has to be briefly pointed out because of its connection with an omission earlier referred to has to do with the sword with which Beowulf killed Grendel’s mother. The main actor in that action, Beowulf reports how: “…the wielder of men granted me that I should see hanging on the wall a fair, ancient great sword–most often he has guided the man without friends- that I should wield the weapon. Then in the fight when the time became right for me I hewed the house-guardians” (Abrams 1993: 48).

                But the movie version, Beowulf and Grendel shows the female monster pinning Beowulf on the ground with her haggard bone-like body. While the hero is wriggling to escape, he sees a sword lying nearby on the ground. He then stretches his hand and grips it. It is with this sword that he slays her. If somebody has only watched the movie production, has the person known the Anglo-Saxon epic?      

                Another episode with a brazen alteration can be seen when Beowulf and his crew are received in Hrothgar’s court. A courtier known as Wulfgar welcomes and interviews the visitor on behalf of the King, Hrothgar, the protector of the Syldings. On his telling the King about Beowulf, the old and heaving man replies: “I know him when he was a boy. His father was called Ecgtheow: Hrethel of the Geats gave him his only daughter for his home. Now has his hardy offspring come here, sought a fast friend” (Abrams 1993: 32).

                Although at the time of this story, women were given fair recognition, such recognition had a limit. But in this film, it is Wealhtheow the queen who welcomes Beowulf and his men although Hrothgar had also run to welcome them. It is the woman who speaks before the King, “With my King, I welcome you all”, The film is totally silent about the courtier, Wulfgar.

                But from the knowledge of the poem, Wealhtheow has no place there. She only appears when she says welcome to everybody. That is when her husband’s retainers and the soldiers from across the sea are entertained in the mead-hall, Heorot. When she appears, the narrative as was translated into modern English by Abrams (1993:35) records that she is:

…mindful of customs, gold adorned, greeted the men in the hall and the noble woman offered the cup first to the keeper of the land of the East-Danes, bade him be glad at the beer-drinking, beloved of the  people. Then the woman of the Helmings went about to each one of the retainers young and old offered them the costly cup, until the time came that she brought the mead-bowl to Beowulf, the ring-adorned queen, mature of mind. Sure of speech she greeted the man of the Geats, thanked God that her wish was fulfilled, that she might trust in some man for help against deadly deeds.   

So, from where did the author get the feministic impulse that made him to project Wealhtheow as her husband’s courtier? In the bid to do that, he removed Wulfgar out of action.

There are many other deliberate alterations of the original work that show clearly to any wary reader that what the movie shows is not what is in the script. These are indexes that point to us that whoever watches the movies must do so for mere entertainment, not for literary and academic studies except when the person is involved in film production.

But then, the major point that shows more clearly that these productions on CD and DVD plates must be jettisoned for healthy academic enquiry to thrive is that each genre has certain peculiarities. Such peculiarities must hinder or restrict its scripts from being rendered into another genre or being handled with the strange elements of another.

In this case, this epic as a work of poetry can hardly be amenable to the permissible format of the movie or even theatre productions. So, scripts of epics when transposed into dramatic pieces do lose certain features. With such lost features, are we certain that we can get all we need when we watch the video version? It is in the light of the above that we study the deviations that result when epic narratives are acted out instead of being read in their normal poetic format.

Deviations due to Genre Restrictions

                The epic as a form of poetry, according to Altenbernd and Lewis (1963:2) is “… the interpretative dramatization of experience in metrical language”. Like other poetic forms, it must be concrete and specific in the language with which it portrays such experiences. In addition, emotion being the major thrust of poetry is the sum total of what the epic uses so that the society may be induced to emulate the epic hero. To crown it all, it should be noted that “An epic poem is a ceremonial performance and is narrated in a ceremonial style which is deliberately distanced from ordinary speech and proportioned to the grandeur and formality of the heroic subject and architecture” (Abrams and Harpham 2005:83). Here, the appropriate meter that best goes along with the grandeur of the epic is the dactylic hexameter.

In other words, readers of the epic, be it secondary epics such as Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained or primary epics such as Odyssey and the Iliad are meant to be aware of these facts for a proper interpretation and understanding of the work. This is how actually it is in this written version of Beowulf. Like other forms of poetry, the reader will be voicing it out in his mind so as to be hearing it with his mind’s ears. But is such obtainable in the movie version?

                To further complicate the issue in the study of Beowulf, the age that produced it observed some stylistic devices some of which are no longer in popular use. Then, there was emphasis on the use of accent and alliteration to create musical effect. However, some of the translations we are using today cannot quite portray this, but whether there are some who do and others who do not, Long (2013:17) is emphatic when he states that:

The rhythm of Beowulf and indeed of all our earliest poetry depended upon accent and alliteration; that is the beginning of two or more words in the same line with the same sound or letter. The lines were made up of two short halves, separated by a pause. No rime was used, but a musical effect was produced by giving each half line two strongly accented syllables. Each full line, therefore had four accents, three of which (i.e. two in the first half, and one in the second) usually began with the same sound or letter.

In other words, what the viewer is watching is far from the transcribed words of the scop whose voice from section to section gets to the readers in spite of the translation even when the translation is in prose. Such a viewer can only interpret the pictures presented to him using his own words which in most cases cannot be guided by the epic style shown above. In these cases, such interpretations will be done in prose and not in poetry.

Here, nobody ever uses the meter of the epic to think or speak. Lost also will be the observed accent and alliterations. The result is that the grandeur of the epic and its accompanying musical quality will be lost to those who only base their study on the dramatized versions even when such versions present all that is in the original work. That poetry helps to build the language and eloquence of its readers is not for such people because they only use the words already known to them to interpret the pictures presented to them.

                In that case, what benefit are poetic devices with which the epics are garnished, to such persons? They are lost in the process of transposition from the written or spoken form to the dramatized version. As an illustration, how can a producer render such coinages like “beloved bed-companion,” “ring-prowed ship,” “mead-benches,” “whale-road”? Such coinages abound in the epic, Beowulf. When dramatized, they lose their epic flavour.

                For the explanation of such coinages, mead, as it is in mead-benches, is fermented corn mixed with honey and it is alcoholic and intoxicating but sweet. The best that the producer can do is to show a cup of mead on a bench. This is not the meaning, for the coinage simply means a bench where the retainers sit as they are being entertained with mead after returning from battles. Also, the best he can do with whale-road is to present a whale swimming in the ocean. This is an inadequate way of doing so because that coinage has the connotation of the ocean as a means of fast transition not only for the denizens of the sea including the whale but for everything and everybody just like the road on land. Therefore, Beowulf like other epics is made up of such expressions which can make little or no meaning when shown, for in the main, all epics are for oral presentation.

                Just as certain coinages are problematic when taken out of the written or spoken context of the epic so are sentences, an illustration of which is “Hrothgar was given success in warfare, glory in battle, so that his retainers gladly obeyed him and their company grew into a great band of warriors” (Abrams 1993:28). Where will the producer start in just this sentence out of the 3182 verses of the epic?  (Alexander 2007: 28). How many wars will be enacted in the movie for Hrothgar to win in order to show his success in wars? How will the producer depict Hrothgar’s glory in battle and use that to show how his retainers gladly obey him? How can somebody watching the presentation know that the soldiers are to be referred to as retainers? Then, comes the question of their group growing to a “great band of warriors”.

                These are some of the implications in just a line of verse. It is no wonder that no producer has, to the best of our knowledge, taken the pains to account for everything in the epic. Any attempt to do such a thing with all the important aspects of the epic will simply produce an unfortunate concatenation of badly-sewn and confusion-breeding episodes that will end up boring the already depressed audience. But let it be clearly stated that anything short of what is written in the epic has delimited the content. So, no person who watches the movie presentation can ever say that he has known that epic.

                In addition, the function of the imagination in the study of written works cannot be ignored. Each person imagines as it suits him. Such helps to project the idea of the creative artist. An illustration can be given with Hrothgar’s statement about Beowulf. According to him “…seafarers who took gifts there [Geatland] to please the Geats used to say that he has in his handgrip the strength of thirty men, a man famous in battle” (Abrams 1993:32). Each person after reading this statement conjectures a picture of a man who should have such strength. Therefore, portraying the picture of such a man as it is done in films frustrates the expectation of many. What comes after the frustration is disappointment and unbelief, thereby reducing the joy derived from the work. Such can aid in losing memory of the work and being disenchanted.

                Therefore, while considering the physique of the hero of this movie production, one can say that he is stout enough. But can he have the strength of thirty men in his arm? Many will answer negatively being affected as was described above. In other words, movie production is not the right medium for producing accurately, literary works most especially, epics, with their superlatives, for instead of helping to project certain images in the work, they help to demean them.

                This idea is well taken into consideration in the way Christopher Marlowe presents Helen in his The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. All scholars have their views about the beauty of this woman who Homer says was the most beautiful woman in the world of her time. But is she short or tall, slim or plump, blonde or brunette? Homer has not said anything definite. In bringing her to the stage for all to see her, all that can be said is what Marlowe (1993: 796) puts into the mouths of two scholars. According to them after looking at her as she passes across the stage, we have the following observations:

SECOND SCHOLAR: Too simple is my wit to tell her praise whom all the world admires for majesty.

THIRD SCHOLAR: No marvel that the angry Greeks pursued with ten years war the rape of such a queen whose heavenly beauty passed all compare.

This character being so admired and described, just fleetingly as a spirit glided across the stage and never waited to be x-rayed by all and sundry. The members of the audience only see this paragon of beauty in their minds’ eyes. The producer of Beowulf and Grendel is not that experienced. He must put on the stage a man who has the strength of just a man (because he is only a man) telling us that he has the strength of thirty men.

There are other errors which creep into dramatic productions due to the restrictions posed by the difficulty in rendering a literary work from one genre into another but suffice it to take just one more. This one is that all epics recount in passing, oblique references to other events using epic similes and other devices. Such a technique is very important in the epic. But here let us illustrate with just one of such references: “Hildeburh, daughter of the former Danish King, Hoc and sister of the ruling Danish King, Hnaef with a party of Danes made what was presumably a friendly visit to Hildeburh and Fin at their home Finsburg and the quarrel that broke out between the Jutes and the Danes” (Abrams 1993: 41).

This story inside a story in all the film versions of this epic we have watched were dropped because of the difficulty that it poses. It is not only this story that exists in this way in Beowulf. Therefore, any student that has studied only the video production has no knowledge of these epic throw-backs and similes. Under such a condition, such a student’s knowledge of the original text, to say the least, is very doubtful.

 

Conclusion and Recommendation

                From the observations above, there is doubt that transforming prose and poetry texts into drama texts using ICT applications do not augur well for accurate scholarship. Unfortunately, many students love to watch these transformed versions instead of reading the original texts. To them, the ICT versions are more modern and less tasking. But to say the least, these students miss a lot and are not supposed to be adjudged as to have mastered the texts because of the shallowness of their knowledge of such works, most especially when epics are involved. This study that compares one video production of Beowulf with the original text discovers four areas that make the video version a travesty of the original. These four areas are: errors due to interpolations by the producers, errors from the omissions of parts of the text, deliberate alterations of the text and the restrictions posed by the genre (poetry). In all, students should be encouraged to read the original texts of all literary works.

 

                                                     

References

Abrams, M. H. (1993). Ed. Beowulf. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1. New   

York: W. W. Norton & Company.     

Abrams, M. H. and Geoffrey H. (2005). A Glossary of Literary Terms 8th edition. Boston: Thomson Higher Education.

Alexander, M. (2007). A History of English Literature 2nd edition. Hampshire Palgrave Macmillan.

Altenbernd, Lynn and Leslie L. Lewis. (1963). Introduction to Literature: Poems 2nd edition. Toronto: Collier-Macmillan Canada Ltd.

Berzing, Andrew Rai. Beowulf and Grendel. produced by Movision Film in collaboration with Darelight Films Endgame Entertainment. No place & date.

DiYanni, Robert. (2002). Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama 5th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Fowler, Roger Ed. (1973). A Dictionary of Modern Critical Terms. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Long, William J. (2013). English Literature: Its History and its Significance for the Life of the English Speaking World. Delhi: Altbs Publishers, India.

Marlowe, Christopher. (1993). The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus in The Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol.1. M. H. Abrams (General editor). New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp.768-801.

Sanders, Andrew. (2005). The Oxford History of English Literature 3rd editon. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Trivedi, R. D. (2007). A Compendious History of English Literature. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House PVT Ltd.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Effects of Bad Governance/Corruption on the Economic Development of Nigeria

 

 

By

 

Barr. Okeke Bartholomew S.  Ph.D.

Reader In Economic

Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe

Anambra State Nigeria

 

 

 

Abstract

In Nigeria today every one, parents, teachers, school children etc have become worried on the escalating level of bad governance and its corruptive effects that has eaten deep into the root of Nigerian economy. Thus, this forms the basis for engaging in this study. This paper thus aimed at examining the effect of bad governance and its corruption which it breeds on the economic development of Nigeria such as its effect on employment, standard of living, educational growth, and investment. The study employed the political elite theory as the main theoretical framework upon which the study is anchored. The study also examined what good governance is that needs to be embraced by every democratic government.  Various cases of corruptive practices of our political leaders were highlighted, starting from the first republic to the present. The study also showed how bad governance and corruptive practices affect economic development. It also proffered the way out or how bad governance and corruptive practice could be arrested. These included among other things, that there is the need for the independence of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corruption Practice Commission   (ICPC) and other related Offences (ICPC) to prevent government inference from their operations, and that government should found ways of inculcating good moral values into our youths since they are the future leaders of this great nation Nigeria

 

 

Introduction

`Nigeria as a country in the continent of Africa is a victim of poor and bad governance, and this poses a challenge to the effective economic development, inhibiting security and peace of the nation. Nigeria as a nation, has suffered greatly from poor leadership and bad governance, and this withholds the country from moving forward. Economic development seems stagnated and as though she will never get there to measure among some developed countries of the world. Each day the people of Nigeria look forward to a better Nation but, corruption and bad political practices have eaten deeply the root that holds Nigeria strong and united. A country that is known for peace and unity, now is been terrorized in every state and city by way of killing, kidnapping, stealing, fighting, as well as other innumerable corrupt practices that are going on, because of one or more selfish political gains.

The nation is gradually falling, as the leadership and political responsibilities of our leaders do not play a key role in promoting economic development or dealing with issues that affect the wellbeing of the general population. Therefore, everyone lives in fear as though all hope is lost. Everyday there is a struggle in the life of every man to make ends meet by engaging in one activity or the other but at the end, it seems all resources are limited. Businesses are limited, scarcity of necessary resources such as fuel, high rise in prices of goods and services. Some of these make life difficult for the common man. At the end of struggle and survival of the fittest, many families and homes tarnish in poverty and lack of food and social amenities causing men, women, and children to end in the grave because they cannot afford the standard of living in the country called Nigeria. All hands then point to the government and leaders who bear rule in Nigeria, because a measure of responsibility has been laid on them to provide a measurable standard of living for the people of Nigeria, to accommodate the poor, but reverse is the case.

Importantly, Academic scholars from the West believed that African underdevelopment is caused by the mode of production imposed externally (Zambakari, 2012). Some scholars such as Amin (1972) and Rodney (1972) are of the view that African system of penetrating into the world economy is responsible for its underdevelopment. Other academic scholars blamed the condition imposed by the Breton Wood Institutions i.e the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Africa for its underdevelopment (Amin, 2010; Easterly, 2001; Goldstein & Montiel, 2007). On the other hand, Amin (1990) and Arrighi, (2007) assert that “the problem of underdevelopment in Africa lies with the system of production and the capitalist system. Hence, new research by African scholars has put the blame of the continent underdevelopment on the doorstep of African leaders”. They argued on this hypothesis that “corruption in Africa leads to the continent’s underdevelopment”. This assumption is based on the fact that funds that would have been used to develop the continent are stolen by African leaders and splashed in foreign accounts overseas. The proponents of this theory are Nageri et al 2013; Agbiboa 2012; Maunro, 2007; Obayelu, 2007; Sachs, 2005; and Smith 2007).

 

The bad governance thus breeds corruption and this has permeated every section of the Nigerian economy and has thus crippled  the economic growth and development of the country.  

 

Theoretical Framework

The Theoretical framework for this study is the Elite theory. 

 

Political Elite Theory

Elite theory is a theory of the state that describes the power relationships in a contemporary society. The theory asserts that a small clique (minority group) composing of members of the political class and the policy making network holds the most power in a state and they exert substantial power over policy decisions. Vergara (2013) posits that the “elite is a small powerful group that controls large amount of power”. Pareto (1963) emphasizes the psychological and knowledgeable power that the political elite has obtained, and he consideres them to be the governing elite. The political elite is a cabinet of people that control the reign of government (Vergara, 2013). In the Nigerian context, the political elite is a group of people one sees in government institutions such as the Presidency, National Assembly and the Federal Executive Council that control government machinery. At the state level, they control government apparatus. They include governors and members of the State Houses of Assembly. Renowned constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay has berated the political elite in Nigeria for the country’s underdevelopment. He accused members of the National Assembly for consuming large amount of the country’s wealth as salaries at the expense of Nigeria’s development. The former Central Bank of Nigeria, Governor Sanusi Lamido corroborated this fact when he said in 2010 that “the National Assembly members that are less than one percent of the population consumed 25 percent of the nation’s budget”. Billions of dollars have been mismanaged by the ruling class since independence which have dragged the country’s development into crisis. The former EFCC chairman Nuhu Ribadu and the former World Bank Vice President for Africa Oby Ezekwesili have estimated that over 400 billion dollars have been stolen from the Nigerian coffer by public office holders since independence. Corruption breeds poverty and that is why there is the prevalence of poverty in Nigeria. In a similar manner, poverty breeds insecurity. The security challenges befalling Nigeria has been blamed for the high-level poverty in the country (Awojobi, 2014).

 

Meaning of Bad Governance

Bad governance is a complete opposite of good governance, which involves the abuse of human rights, corruption, lack of transparency, lack of responsiveness, and lack of accountability. It is in fact the inability of public institution to manage affairs and public resources, and failure of a government to meet the needs of society while making the best use of all resources at their disposal  (Kan, 2014). Bad government thus supports exploitation and abuse of its power, and it is thus characterized by corruption, crime, and no freedom of expression by the public.

Generally, bad governance has the following characteristics: corruption, abuse of human rights, no freedom of expression, high level of centralization, absence of transparency and accountability (World Bank 1997). Thus (Heywood 2014) stated that “governance is bad if things fall apart, especially the economy and the relations between members of governing bodies”.   

Meaning of Corruption

Salisu (2000) encapsulates corruption to mean “the mismanagement of public funds for private gain”. Oludayi (2015) states that “corruption occurs if funds that are supposed to be used for development purpose in Nigeria are pocketed by politicians at the detriment of the nation’s development”.  Ateihe and Agada (2014)  State that “corruption among politicians occurs in a democratic setting. It occurs when politicians and political decision makers who are the custodian of law for the benefits of all are corrupt”. Corruption among politicians are unlawful, immoral and unofficial exploitation of one’s political position for personal gain (Nager et al 2013). Corruption may be conceived as a form of dishonesty undertaken by a person entrusted with a position of authority offers to acquire benefits.

Corruption may include many activities such as bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are illegal in many countries. The general view is that whenever corruption is mentioned, attention goes to public office holders only, but even the common man is not left out in corruption practices. No doubt, the monsters of corruption has grown so long and strong that it has permeated all aspects of our lives. Broadly speaking, corruption is of the three types, namely,

  • Grand corruption: This involves acts committed at a high level of government that distort policies or the central functioning of the state enabling the leaders to benefit at the expense of the public good.
  • Petty corruption: This involves everyday abuse of entrusted power by low – and mid-level public officials in their interactions with ordinary citizens.
  • Political corruption: It involves manipulation of policies, institutions and rules of procedure in the allocation of resources and financing by political decision makers who abuse their position to sustain their power, status and wealth.    

Corruption therefore is the intentional mis-performance or neglect of a recognized duty, or the unwarranted exercise of power, with the motive of gaining some advantage more or less directly personal. Tanzi (1995) states that “corruption is the intentional non-compliance with the arm’s-length principle aimed at deriving some advantages for oneself or for related individuals from this behaviour.” Corruption is thus the act which deviates from rules of conduct governing the actions of someone in a position of public authority or private-regarding-motive such as wealth, power or status. Gray and Kaufmann (1998) define acts of corruption to include “bribery and extortion, which necessarily involve at least two parties and other malfeasances that a public official can carry out alone including fraud and embezzlement”. For them, it manifests in governmental activities through the appropriation of public assets for private use and embezzlement of public funds by politicians and high-level officials. Lipset and Lenz (2000) define corruption as “an effort to secure wealth or power through illegal means-private gain at public expense”. Corruption is “the abuse of public office for private gain.” In other words, the use of this definition excludes the possibility of corruption in the private sector, and it focuses exclusively on corruption in the public sector. This definition is consistent with the beliefs of Gary Becker that “if we abolish the State, we abolish corruption”. Alatas (1990) defines corruption as ‘a situation where two people can act to increase their own pay-off at the expense of a third person’. This does not mean that an individual cannot perpetrate the act. It is important to note that transparency International (2003) has chosen a clear and focused definition of Corruption; it is operationally defined as ‘the misuse of entrusted power for private gain’. Transparency International further differentiates between “according to rule” corruption and “against the rule” corruption. Facilitation payments, where a bribe is paid to receive preferential treatment for something that the bribe receiver is required to do by law, constitute the former. The latter, on the other hand, is a bribe paid to obtain services the bribe receiver is prohibited from providing.

Various cases of Bad Governance /Corruption in Nigeria

Bad governance/political corruption in Nigeria started even from the First republican government in Nigeria. By definition the First republic in Nigeria came into being when Nigeria became free from foreign rule and that was after independence in 1960 and it started in 1963 but regrettably lasted only 3 years (1963 – 1966). The abrupt collapse of the First republican government in Nigeria was due to the military intervention in the governance of the country (Akanade and Akanade, 2011). This was more because the First republic was noted for ethnicity, nepotism and unprecedented level of corruption. Hence Ogbeidi (2012) sates thus “the First republic under the leadership of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the Prime Minister and Nnamdi Azikewe, the President was characterized by widespread corruption”. According to him, “that government looted public funds with impunity”. Also, Federal government representatives and Ministers were at this period not free from corruptive practices as they flouted their wealth with reckless abandon.

The Military government then toppled the government in power due to the wide level of corruption and other reasons best known to them. The Second republic which came into being in 1979 lasted for only four years (1979 – 1983) as the military government accused the civilian government politicians of high level of corruption. This led to jailing of many prominent politicians for financial corruption by the military Junta.

However, one cannot give any account of reasonable corruption during the third republic. This is because the period did not last as it was derailed and truncated by Ibrahim Babangida administration during the Third republic which was marked by a return to a democratically elected civilian government on May 29, 1999 and this was characterized with resurgence of financial corruption by politicians that had undermined national development sixteen years of uninterrupted democracy. The worrisome trend as regard the magnitude of financial corruption by the politicians moved the Obasanjo administration to introduce two anti – corruption agencies, namely, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices & Commission and other Related offences (ICPC). Ogbeidi and Ogundoya (2012), Ayobulu (2006) & Sachs (2005) argue that “corruption is the bane to Nigerian development and that it had retarded economic growth and had remained an insurmountable problem”.

Subscribing to the above fact, Achebe (1983) states that “the trouble with the country called Nigeria is that political leaders use the instrument of power to commit and maintain corruption”. It is thus on the basis of the above cases of corruption prevalent in Nigeria that had prompted this paper to investigate the effect of bad governance/corruption on economic development of Nigeria. Suffice it to say that the Fourth republic has not been exempted from widespread corruption despite the two anti – corruption agencies created by the Obasanjo’s government.

Hence this paper also exposes financial corruption in Nigeria during the Fourth Republic. During the period of Obsanajo’s administration (1999-2004) the Presidency was involved in corruption Scandal  (Oludayi 2014). According to him, for example, the vice president was indicted by the senate committee to investigate the vice – President role in the activities of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF). The president, Obasanjo was not free of corruption as he used his influence to acquire shares in transcropt. He also used his political power to persuade the economic elite of the country to build a presidential library for him at Abeokuta. Worse still, even the 16 billion dollars that was budgeted for power generation in the 8 – years of his regime was not accounted for since there was still erratic power supply in Nigeria during the era and even now.

President Yar’ Adua started on a good foot step but was accused of bowing to the whims and caprices of the politicians that made his election to come true to remove the EFCC chairman Nuhu Ribadu. In the same way, President Goodluck Jonathan was accused of conspiracy silence in the corruption allegation leveled against the Minister of petroleum as well as for granting presidential pardons to convicted political criminals. Some of the federal Ministries that have been accused of corruption included Sunday Afolabi, Fabian Osuji, Hussani Zannuwa Akwanga, Alice Osomo and Stella Oduah, etc. (Urien 2014).

Regrettably, the National Assembly in Nigeria is not free from corruption that results from bad governance. This is because the National assembly which is the watchdog of the executive arm of government as being bestowed the role of checkmating the financial excesses of the executive has used this power to involve in corruption scandal. For instance, some members of the National Assembly that have been involved in financial corruption include late Chuba Okadigbo Adolphus Nwagbara, Dimeji Bankole and his deputy, Farouk Lawal, Boniface Emanalo, Ndu Elumelu and Herman Hemba (Urien 2014). However, Dimeji Bankole and his deputy  and Ndu Elumelu have been exonerated by the anti court, of corruption charges (Oladayo2014). Similarly, the state is not free of financial corruption as a sign of bad governance. Recently the Minister of finance required the Nigerians to ask their various governors what they have been doing with their federal allocation that they usually receive from the federation account since these allocation did not show the presence of physical development in their states. This is to say that most state governors are corrupt which results from their bad governance as they use the allocation for their personal gain. This, thus, prompted the former EFCC chairman Nuhu Ribadu to state that 31 state governors have corrupt cases to answer and his immediate successor Farida Waziri lamented to Nigerians that the case files of the 31 governors were missing.

According to Urine (2012), the regime of General Babangida, actually is seen as the body that legalized corruption, as his administration refused to give account of the Gulf War windfall, which is estimated to be $12.4 billion. He annulled the only successful election in the history of Nigeria in June 12 1993, and he lives in a very exquisite mansion in his home State  (Niger-state) in the Northern part of the country. The death of the General Sani Abacha revealed the global nature of graft. French investigations of bribes paid to government officials to ease the award of a gas plant construction in Nigeria revealed the global level of official graft in the country. The investigations led to the freezing of accounts containing about $100 million United States dollars. 

Meaning of Economic Development

In the past people conceive economic growth to mean economic development. Accordingly they saw economic growth as an increase in the real gross national product and this has been used as a proxy for measuring economic development. Struten (1995) identifies that “though economic growth remains unarguably an important aspect of economic development, there is now a realization that economic growth is not always tantamount with economic development”. A major breakthrough in the thinking about economic development came with the work of Mahbub UL Hug (1995) and Amarlya Sen (1999) which led to a redefinition of the economic development process from one that focuses on economic growth to one in which the fruits of economic growth benefits the population, higher literacy rates and education level, better health (low mortality rate) and good  nutrition and more equality. Simply put, while economic growth deals mainly with increase in the gross national product or real physical output of goods and services of a country over a time economic development goes beyond that to making sure that these goods and services are evenly distributed to the entire population with major objective of reducing unemployment, inequality, absolute poverty, mortality and illiteracy rates (Okeke 2005). Below are the major distinctions between economic growth and economic development.

It is intestinally to have the knowledge that economic development is just one aspect of development in any nation because development in any nation is measured in terms of a pattern of interaction among social, economic and political factors. Hence Todaro (1997) defines development as “a multi-dimensional process involving major structural process in social, attitude, and national instructions, as well as acceleration of economic growth, the reduction of inequality, and the eradication of poverty”. Simply put, development refers to the process of improving the quality of life of all human beings specifically for the purpose of this study the author concentrates on   economic development as one aspect of development.

Distinction between Economic Growth and Economic Development        

There is an important distinction between the terms economic growth and economic development – a distinction not always made clear m the literature on the world’s materially poor countries.     

 

Economic development can be defined as “an upward movement of social, economic and political system of a country”. (Okeke, 2003)  It thus refers to a quantitative and qualitative increase in the economic system of a country.  It involves an increase in productive employment which implies an increase in the share of the poor sections of the society, of the national product and equitable distribution of income in the economy.            

 Economic growth on the other hand refers to physical growth in output of goods and services. That is, the quantitative increase in the supply of goods and services in a given economy. It refers to an increase overtime in a country’s real output per capita which is measured by gross national product (GNP). Moreover, it is usual to measure economic growth in terms of GNP per capita, but economic development has no single parameter for its measurement, although in the words of Zuvekas (1985) “one might say that development occurs if overtime a progressively high percentage of the population share the fruit of economic growth”.

`Economic growth does not necessarily imply development while development invariably embodies growth. This is because in the words of Wilber (2013) “economic growth is analyzed in terms of changes in the value of economic parameter in given institutional conditions, while economic development refers to a situation in which changes in the value of economic parameter are accompanied by institutional changes” Mydral (1983). Economic development is thus concerned with long term increases in the production of goods and service in a country and how these goods are distributed among the population with a view to reducing inequality in the sharing. But unlike economic development, growth is not concerned with distribution but, indeed quantitative expression over-time (Jhingan 2008). The implication of this is that output may be growing and yet the majority of the people may be growing poorer. Secondly, economic growth unlike economic development is not primarily concerned with consumption of the output. This implies that as far as economic growth is concerned output may be growing but consumption may be declining, perhaps, through much saving.

 

 

Meaning of Good Governance

Before a discussion on how bad governance and corruption affect economic development in Nigeria it is first and foremost very important to briefly explain what good governance stands for.

Good governance is an indeterminate term used in the international development interactive to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources.  From the above definition, governance refers to the process of decision making and the process by which decision are implemented or not implemented.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), “governance refers to the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to mange a country affairs at all levels or it comprises mechanisms, processes and institutions  enough which articulate decision making through which citizens and groups articulates their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations of development resources”.

Accordingly, good governance involves among other things participatory, transparent and accountable, effective and equitable, and it promotes the rule of law. It also ensures that political, social and economic priorities are based on broad consensus in society and that the voices of the poorest and the most vulnerable are heard in decision making over the allocation of development resources. In other words, the characteristics of good governance include participation, rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, conscious orientation where by good governance mediates different interests to reach a broad conservative group and where possible on political and procedures. Other characteristics include effectiveness and efficiency, accountability and strategic vision. By strategic vision it means that leaders and public have broad and long term perspective on good development along with a sense of what is made for such development the historical, cultural and social complexities.

The major distinctive feature of UNDP definition of good governance is that it encompasses not just the state but the private sector and civil society as well. This is because all the three are viewed as crucial for sustainable human development. Specifically, the role of the state is viewed as that of creating a stable political and legal environment conducive to sustained development while civil society institutions and organizations are viewed as means of facilitating  political and social interaction and mobilizing groups to participate in economic, social and political activities.

    The World Bank sees the term ‘good governance’ as “the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development”. On this premise, the concept of governance is concerned directly with the management of the development process, involving both the public and the private sectors. It thus encompasses the functioning and capability of the public sector as well as the rules and institutions that create the framework for the conduct of both public and private business including accountability for economic and financial performance and regulatory frameworks relating to companies, corporations and partnerships. Broadly speaking, good governance is concerned with the institutional environment in which citizens interact among themselves and with government agencies/officials. In summary therefore, the key dimensions of good governance identified by the World Bank are:

  • The public sector management
  • Accountability
  • Legal framework for development
  • Transparency and information.

However, according to United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, the true test of good governance is the degree to which it encourages on the promise of human rights civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. Hence the commission’s key question is: are the institutions of governance effectively guaranteeing the right to good health, adequate housing, sufficient food, quality education, fair justices and personal security?                 

 

Effect of Bad Governance and Corruption on Economic Development of Nigeria

Generally, it is a well known fact that corruption resulting from bad governance leads to lower income per capital, lower educational levels, high income inequality, low investment. Specially, corruption is associated with an increase in barriers to do business. This is because big companies are able to access public goods by leveraging their balance sheets. These include electricity and water pipes among others. Smaller companies cannot afford these and rely on the government for provision but corruption weakens public fund management and public goods provision. Hence, corruption makes it more difficult for small and medium scale business to compete. It is important to note that corruption affects the indices of development such as employment, literacy rate, poverty and standard of living and even productivity.

In terms of employment, the rate of unemployment among Nigerian youths is alarming. This is because of corruption. Due to corruption vacancies that would have been filled up in many institutions are either filled up with already retired personnel or left unfilled while at the same time the managers of those institutions continue to receive their salaries and divert them to their personal pockets. Thus the percentage of unemployed graduates continue to skyrocate.  More so,  many people are poor today in Nigeria due to the high level of corruption resulting from bad governance. This is because most of the resources that were mapped out for capital project that can generate goods for the benefit of the masses are diverted to the personal pockets of our political leaders. The same corruption affects the educational level on the country thereby increasing the illiteracy rate. This is because the funds being mapped for educational growth are either half spent or wholly diverted to the personal pockets of our leaders. This thus leads to poor infrastructural facilities, employment of low quality teachers, and poor academic environment that adversely affect effective teaching and learning.

The economic development of Nigeria is also affected as the revenue meant for different categories of development are always diverted to the personal pockets of our political leaders. Hence Negaria (2013), Agbigboa, (2012), Obayelu (2007), Sachs (2005), and Smith (2007) posit that “the causes of economic woe of the African continent are the African leaders”. They assert that “Africa is rich in natural resources endowment and the money that is accrued from the sale of the mineral resources to other countries that are supposed to be used to increase the quality of life for Africans are misappropriated by African leaders”. This is in fact applicable to Nigerian leaders. Suffice it to say that the accumulation of the nation’s economic resources for personal benefits had variously contributed to the leakage of capital from Nigeria for illegal deposits abroad. This no doubt has affected capital formation in Nigeria. A case in point is Abacha’s loot  with large sums of millions of dollars deposited in Swiss banks. This had in fact affected the growth and development of Nigerian economy.

As already stated above, Urien (2014) asserts that “corruption deepens poverty and makes it difficult for the ordinary man in the street to survive as far as his income is concerned”. The instinct for survival makes it difficult to resist the demands of corrupt officials. Thus corruption endangers political instability, breakdown of law and order, brain drain, inefficiency of public service; and all these affect economic development of the nation in different dimensions. Regrettably, corruption negatively affects the socio-cultural values of the Nigerian society as people no longer value good morals, instead they appreciate any short  cut for achieving wealth irrespective of whether it demands corrupt practice or not.

Mohammed (2013) gave a summary of how bad governance/corruption affects economic development adversely in the new democratic dispensation in Nigeria to include:

  • Low social welfare.
  • Loss of public trust and legitimacy by the government.
  • Increased insecurity.
  • Increased poverty, unemployment and low investment

 

The Way Out From Corruption

Callaghy (1994) asserts that “because of the wide spread of (petty) and “grand” corruption the international business community regards the whole of Africa as a sinkhole that swallows their money with little or no return”. Gray (1996) noted that “one of the reasons why the measures against corruption have not been fruitful in Nigeria is that they have operated at a level of more symbolism”. This is more because those political leaders that wage corruption in Nigeria are corrupt in themselves. To arrest the problem of corruption in Nigeria a number of policies have been experimented such as Judicial Commission of inquiry,  Mass Mobilization for Social Justice and Economic recovery (MAMSER), the Code of Conduct Bureau,  National Open Apprenticeship, War Against Indiscipline Council (WAIC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial  Crimes Commission (EFCC). Thus, in spite of the above good  measures to eradicate corruption in Nigeria, corruption resulting from bad governance is the bane of the Nigerian society as it has been rooted in every aspects of the society, since the police officers, Senators, President and all categories of public servants are not free from the act.

However, to arrest and eradicate corruption in Nigeria, there is the need to re-orientate the Nigerian youths who are our future leaders to start appreciating good moral and social values and debunk any form of short cut way of acquiring wealth. The Nigeria government should also provide jobs for the teeming unemployed graduates so that they can positively feel the impact of the government. This would in fact help in shaping their mind towards achieving a better Nigeria free from corrupt practices. In this direction therefore, the Nigerian police officers of any category should be upgraded in status and be well trained, well equipped and well paid and if possible, make police an elite profession that would be open only to those with good moral standing or character. Importantly, our mass media should also be in the fore front of fighting corruption by exposing corrupt political leaders and rogues in the country and to achieve this there is the need to stress more on the freedom of the press.

     Robert S. McNaamara, former Presidents of the World Bank and Ford Motor Company, has argued that for any campaign against corruption to be successful in Sub-Saharan Africa certain characteristics should be common in the plans against corruption. His suggestions on how to control corruption in the region include:

  1. Require direct, clear and forceful support of the highest political authority, the president or prime minister;
  2. Introduce transparency and accountability in government functions, particularly in all financial transactions;
  3. Encourage a free press and electronic media to forcefully report to the public on corrupt practices in the society;
  4. Organize civil society to address the problems of corruption brought to the process of transparency and the activity of the media.
  5. Introduce into government watch-dog agencies, anti-corruption bureaus, inspectors general and Auditors general who will identify corruption practices and bring them to public attention.
  6. Minimize and simplify government regulations, particularly those involving the issuance of licenses, permits and preferential positions, thereby restricting opportunities for rent seeking by corrupt means.
  7. Insert anti-bribery clauses into all major procurement contracts and with the assistance of both international financial institutions, bidding on African procurement contracts, accept such clauses and the penalties associated with their violation.
  8. Introduce similar anti-bribery clauses into contracts relating to privatization of government enterprises, and the development of natural resources.
  9. Ensure that enforcement is predictable and forceful
  10. To criminalize the acts of bribery; prohibit the deduction of bribes for tax purposes; and erect barriers to transfer to Western financial institutions of financial gains derived from corrupt practices,
  11. Declaration of Assets: The state should require that all high-level Nigerian officials (Presidents, Ministers, Legislative officers, Central bank governors, Police and Customs Chiefs, Military Generals) sign a statement granting permission to bank (both local and foreign), real estate or investment house to disclose any personal assets they may hold.
  12. Withholding of Aid: International donors (the IMF and World Bank) can be helpful by cutting off completely distribution of assistance to any country marked for high level corruption.
  13. Scrutiny for sources of income: As was pointed out above, scrutinizing individual depositors of huge sum of money by financial institutions, for sources would go a long way to curbing looting of national treasury by civil servants (Boeninger, 1998).
  14.  

 

 

Conclusion

From the above exposure, it will be observed that corruption resulting from bad governance is a byproduct of underdevelopment in most of the developing nations of the world especially in Nigeria which is the focus of this paper. This is because most of the funds meant for development are usually diverted to the personal pockets of our political leaders which adversely affected many projects in the country; some of them either abandoned or poorly completed. It could also be observed in specific terms that political corruption resulting from bad governance   breeds poor social welfare, loss of public trust, increased insecurity, increased poverty, unemployment and worse still, low investment. Hence if the above recommendations are employed they will go a long way to reducing bad governance and its deadly consequences of corruption.   

 

 

References

Achebe, C. E. (1983). The Trouble with Nigeria, Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers.                                                                         

Akanade, O. and Akanade, T. (2011). The First Republic and the interface of Ethnicity and Resource Allocation in Nigeria’s First Republic. Afro-Asian Journal of Social Sciences 2(2), 1-27

Alatas, M. (2003). Society, Politics, and Economic development, John Hopkins University Press Baltimore transparency international (2003).

Amin, S. (1990). Colonialism and Rise of Capitalism, a Comment Science and Society, 45(1) 57-72.

Amin, S. (2010). Dead Aid: A Critical Reading PAM BA ZUKA 470.

Amin, S. (2010). Colonialism and the Rise of Capitalism: A comment, Science and society 54 (1) 57-72.

Arrighei, G. (2007). States, markers and capitalism East and West positions. East Asia  Cultures critiques, 15(2) 251-284.

Awojobi, O. N. (2014). Political Corruption and Underdevelopment in Nigeria Forth Republic International Journal of innovation and Scientific Researcher, 1(1) 15-157.

Boeninger, E. (1998). “Governance and Development: Issues and constrains” Proceedings of the World Bank Annual Confrence on Development Economics. The World Bank.

 Ogundayo, I. S., Garba I. & Danlami, L.M. 50 Years of Nigeria’s Nationhood, Issues and Challenges of Sustainable Development: A Publication of the faculty of Social Science, USman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto.

Easterly, W. (2001). The Lost Decades: Developing Countries Stagnation Inspite of Policy Reform. 1980-1998. Journal of Economic Growth, 6 (2) 135-157.

EFCC Report (2005). Effects of Corruption on Nigeria’s Economy. Nigeria EFCC Information Communication Technology Development, Abuja.

 Galbrailb, K. (1981). The causes of Poverty as cited in M.R Todara, Economic Development in the Third World 2nd edition U.S.A.

Gray, H., & Kaufmann, J. (1990). Democracy Governance and Economic Growth. Theory and Evidence, paper presented at conference on Democracy, participation and Development held in New York.

Hag, M. (1995). Reflections on Human Development. Oxford University Press, New York.

Heywood J.  (2000). Key Concepts in Politics, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

I.C.P.C. (2006). Nigeria and Corruption, Independent  Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission.

Lipset, H., & Lenz, K. (2000). Understandings and Misunderstandings of Multi-dimensional Poverty measurement, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative University of Oxford  Gan,  B., (2011). Country and Multi dimension Poverty Measurement Journal of Public Economics 95(7) 477-487

Maunro, P. (2007). The effect of corruption, on growth, Investment and Government expenditure: A cross Country Analysis. IMF Working paper WP96/98.

Midken, H. (2014). Paths to Sustainable Development the role of Society Indicators, Futures, 28(2) 125-127.

Montiel, P. (2007). Evaluating fund stabilization, programmes with Multicounty Data. Some Methodogied pitfalls. In G. Bird and D Guad.   

Mydral, G. (1983). Economic Theory and Underdevelopment regions London Prentice Publishing House.

Nagare, K. I., Umar, G., & Abdul, F.A. (2013). Corruption and Economic Development Endence from Nyens Kuwait Chapter of Arabian Journal of Business.   

Obayelu, A. E. (2007). Effects of Corruption and Economic Reforms on Economic growth and Development: Lessons from Nigeria: Being a paper submitted for 2007 African Conference.

Ogbeidi, M. M. (2012). Political Leaders and Corruption in Nigeria since 1960: A socio-economic Analysis Journal of Nigeria Studies 1(2), 15-30.

Ogundayo, S. I. (2012). A Nation in the Wilderness Corruption, Elite Conspiracy and Illusion of Development in Nigeria Macmillan Publishers.  

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Oludayi, H. (2014). Bad governance and its implication for growth and Development of a country. Journal of Social Science 2(5), 18-29

Rodney, W. (1973). How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Tanzanian Publishing House and Bogle L’Over ture publications.

Sachs, G. (2007). Corruptions Remains Nigeria’s Long Term Challenges. The Daily Independent Paper. Thursday 24 April 2007.

Sagay, H. (2011). Corruption and Due Process London Production Publishing House.

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Urien, J. (2012). Impact of Corruption on the socio-economic development of Nigeria Crown Research in Education, 2(2), 143-152.

Vegara, L. G. Elites, Political Elite and Social Change in Modern Societies, REVSTA DE SOCIOGIA, 3 (28), 31 – 49.

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Zuveka, C. (1995). The Development of Underdevelopment, New York. Zukas Publishers Ltd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Scientific Study on the Aththani Pillar Inscriptions

by

        Senior Lecturer R. K. M. T. Indrani,                                                         Department of History & Archaeology,                                              University of Sri-Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka.

 

Introduction and objective

Introduced as Aththani Pillar Inscriptions, a certain kind of pillar inscriptions were written in Sri Lanka between 8th and 9th centuries A. D. The Sinhalese encyclopedia mentions that the word ‘Attani’ has the meaning ‘council hall’ or ‘The agreement done by Royal Court’. It was a custom at that time for the king’s emissaries to fix them at the pre-arranged places after etching those orders and agreements in store pillars for informing the public. Those pillars became famous as Attani Pillars (Sinhalese encyclopedia 1963, pages 256-259). Because these Attani Pillars contained information about privileges offered to individual people, institutions or villages, they are also known as ‘processions’. The objective here is to research that in a research about political or economic co-operations, these Attani Pillers provide more information than what is provided by historical resources like ancestral stories.

Key Words: Aththani, Inscription,Officials,Tax,Raja

Methodology

The research is expected to be done analyzing the data collected by making use of literary resources as well as inscriptional resources. Kingship got the first place in ancient Sri Lanka. It is clear at this stage that the preliminary concepts like gamani, parumaka raja, mahaaraaja and gamika evolved more at this stage (Liyanagamage&Gunawardene, 2014:225). At this stage kings have alternatively used the coronation names Sirisangabo and Ahaasalamewan that were developed from this generation. As an example, according to the Thimbiriwewa Inscription (EpiZey, 1985: 10) evidence is found about the use of this Title of Degree.

Sirilakdevhipihitisiripidyasaisuriruhunadanaw male mahdulutamahatpiribokalaudaeahrasalamevanmaharadhusohouru’.

The coronation name Ahasalamevan is connected to the rain concept and righteousness. The degree titles received from the coronation as well as Royal coronation could be introduced for making the kingship permanent. Care seemed to have been taken to decide the king’s lineage from the year of coronation as well as to get that year noted in every document issued during one’s reign. This idea is more confirmed by the Bilibewa Pillar inscription (EpiZey, 1985:1).

Another factor that affected the permanency of the kingship is the purity of the casts and tribes of the person who becomes the king. Some kings claimed their royal ancestry up to king Suddhodana without stopping at the ‘Okkaka Royal Ancestry’ in India. There were many occasions, when only the children of coronated queen inherited the kingship and children of other queens had no chance. There are factors that show that the order of inheritance of the kingship was from father to son, brother to brother etc. These methods of inheritance prevailed at the early Anuradhapura era as well as at the end of it (Liyanagamage&Gunawardene,2014:233).The eulogy ‘Ruhunudanaw mala madulesekaeaannalcotthama hat Siribhoga Kola’ (the Moragoda Pillar Inscription) (Amarawamsa,1959:63) is often in Attani pillars. Attani pillars provide factors about a well-organized administrative system that was there when these pillars were erected (Tissakumara, 1990:15). The Medaulpotha inscription shows that the place where high officials met and presided by the king was mentioned as ‘Attanihala’. This should be the same place as ‘Ektansamiya’ (EpiZey,Vol 4:188). According to the inscriptions in the Colombo museum, the second ruling unit could be introduced as ‘council’ (EpiZey, 1928:274).This was chaired by the officer called ‘Piriththi’Dey’. The following quotation shows that it was a very important executive body ‘Sabhapathideppulapiriththi…’

The special administrative unit was under ‘Mahalekam’ (general secretary). In addition to that, except for Lekamgei Samdaruwan and the low grade executive officers Maapa and Epa who were also called Kudaasala, the most important government office there could be introduced as Senevirad’. The Thamarawevainscrition explains a payment received by such a Senevirad. (RanawellaS, 2001:83)

Though it can be guessed that ‘Mahalae’ was in charge of the treasury according to Paranavithane’s view only, a few evidences could be produced for that (Hemachandraya, 1956: 356). According to the Welmilla Pillar inscription, taxes should be paid to the treasury from the payments received from certain areas (EpiZey, 1928:190). The pillar inscription at the Colombo museum mentions that Mahale was privately engaged in social welfare services. In addition to this, there were also the officer’s president Pasladu, Rataladu and organizations were very important in the political section. ‘Meikkaappar’ alias army ‘paabalak’ alias infantry and ‘Dunuvaa Balathu’ alias army using only bows arrows can be said to be included in this. There were a great number of officers to collect the taxes due to the government. They were known as ‘Rajcol Samdaruwan’ (EpiZey, 1985:30, 39, 93).

While observing the economic section, it becomes evident that the agro-economic pattern was popular in this era. It was the responsibility of kings to make large scale tanks. In the Athurapolayaagama inscription, what is mentioned as ‘Waethen’ is a crowd of Bethmaka officers including villagers who were taking care of the tanks (EpiZey,Vol V:387). It could be observed according to this letter that there was a right to get work done by the villagers or by the cattle owned by them.

According to the Welmilla Inscription, it seems that paddy fields were cultivated in both seasons evidence of which, is found as the existence of Chena cultivations. The cultivated crops included pulses, spices and vegetables. According to the AluthWewa inscription, the areas where ulundu and green gram were cultivated and separated from others. In the Attani pillars chenes are mentioned as blocks of protected land (Ranawella, 2001:190).

The crops needed daily, like areca nut, mango, rose-apple Palmyra, coconuts, bees’ honey tamarind etc. were cultivated. The trees that should not be cut included palms, coconut trees and tamarind and a person cutting these trees were liable to be fined (EpiZey, 1928:323). Every village that received Attani pillar inscriptions had Cart-Cattle, Cart-Buffalos and cows as important needs. The Inscriptions of this era mention that the important economic items of this era are dry ginger fenugreek, rice, oil, ulundu, cocks and goats. The killing of animals was prohibited and dead cocks and goats were more important for hospitals and many kinds of oil may have been in use (EpiZey, 1928:29).

‘Pamunu Bim’ could not be taken back and there is mention in the Attani pillars that till sun and moon exist, nobody can change those payments (EpiZey, 1943:188). As far as the economic field is concerned, the main sources of income of the government were taxes. All the properties including the land owned by temples and monasteries were exempted from tax. The word ‘vaeri’ seen in the pillars was a tax that should be paid. There was also a double tax system including ‘Mahavas’ and ‘Suluvar’. ‘Magmahavar’ could be shown as a factor to prove that there was also a system of this kind for roads.

The Raja Sabha inscription at polonnaruwa introduces kinds of money in this manner. ‘Sudhingurnodiyahunaeklahasuvakamekakkak ran hunakdenukotisa.’It is seen that in a considerable number of Attani pillars have figures inscribed on them. Inscribed on these pillars are figures of sun, moon, dogs, crows sad persons and in addition to that, there was some circular object with an carved engraved handle and a multi linear chart. Symbols like the sun and moon mean that the payments are valid until the sun and moon continue to exist.

The figures of dogs, crows or sad human or spirit figures mean that if those payments are violated by somebody, he or she will be born in the future as those animals. (Ranawella, 2004:225)It is mentioned in this manner. ‘Mae  attanikanuhindvanaladimaeannaeulaeghanakalakaenekethnamkaudubaluwethvaa’ (LakdivaSellipi, 1930:62-63).

Conclusion:

Considered as a whole, it is reasonable to say that the Attani pillars that were discovered in the 9th and 10th centuries provided permanent political information as well as information on the economic field and the symbols included there are of a special nature.

 

References

  1. Encyclopedia, Vol I, D.E. Hettiarachchi, Government Press, 1963.
  2. Aryasinghe, Abhaya, “AththaniPeraharataSolu Lee ha HasmuduYeduWagai”, ShilaLipiSangrahaya, edit. JayanthaUduwara.
  3. Thissa Kumara, Ananda, PeraniLakdiwaAththaniPradanaVidhi, 1990.
  4. Hemachandrarai, University of Ceylon History of Ceylon, Government Press,1956.
  5. AmaravansaHimi, Kothmale, LakdivaSellipi, S. Godage and Brothers, Colombo, 1969.
  6. Liyanagamage, Amaradasa&GunawardhanaRanaweera, edit, Anuradhapura Period, Godage and Brothers, 1961.
  7. Ranawella,G.S,Inscription of Ceylon,Vol V,Part II,Department of   Archaeology,            2001,
  8. Wickramasinghe, D.M. De Z, EpigraphiaZeylanica, London, 1904-1912,1928,1985.

 

 

 

 

 

Linguistic Presentation of Womanhood in Selected Nigerian Drama Texts

Amaka C. Ezeife, PhD ¹                                                                    Department of English and Literature,                                                  Nwafor Orizu College of Education Nsugbe, Anambra State

 &

Ijeoma U. P. Nnagbo²                                                                     Department of English and Literature,                                                       Nwafor Orizu College of Education Nsugbe, Anambra State

 

Abstract

Studies on feminism or gender are not nil. Many scholars have drawn attention to female/male interaction both in literary and nonliterary texts, and both in academic and non-academic discourses. However, the paper examines the influence women wield in some Nigerian homes and in the society at large. Data were drawn from two drama texts written by different Nigerian female playwrights: Akinjobi’s Family Secrets and Omeje’s The Conquered Maiden. The selected texts are believed to depict the regular positions of women in the Nigerian society. The data were analyzed using insights from van Dijk’s socio-cognitive approach to critical discourse analysis, dominance and social constructionist theories of gender, which derive meanings from social context. The findings reveal how playwrights apply linguistic items such as metaphor, proverbs and rhetorical questions in struggling for their rights; this is a common phenomenon of their existence in Africa, especially in Nigeria. As such, the success or failure of a female in a society lies seriously upon extraneous societal constraints, disregarding the individual’s will power. The paper concludes that a study of women’s appearance in drama texts, using a theory of ideology aids a better understanding of gender issues, and provides insights to the female writers’ ideology of male/female existence in Nigeria.

Key words: gender discourse, ideology, womanhood, dominance and playwright

Introduction

Gender dealings in Nigeria are believed to be characterised by a lot of imbalance, to the disadvantage of women. Meanwhile, gender is a set of characteristics distinguishing between male and female. Depending on the contexts, the distinguishing characteristics vary from sex to social role and to gender identity. For this study, however, gender may be understood to refer to defined capacities and attributes assigned to persons based on their alleged sexual characteristics.

The gender categories are never neutral nor are they equal. This construction of gender perpetuates the system of dominance across the society. In spite of being disadvantaged by gender, a number of Nigerian women, particularly from Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups, have made their marks in diverse fields. All the same, the picture of the Nigerian woman shows her in a continuous struggle in comparison to her male counterpart. However, there has been slight change in the twenty-first-century. In the drama texts under study, the woman is ideologically presented as the domineering force, controlling the entire family. On the other hand, she is presented as a sex object, an object of humiliation which stands at the mercy of men and the society.

Previous Studies

A large concentration of studies on gender comes from the literary perspective (Acholonu, 1995; Ledent, 2002). Acholonu (1995) examines the feminist perspectives of family love in Nigerian fiction. Gail Low (1999), working with Caryl Phillips’ The Final Passage along with the fiction of Joan Riley’s The Unbelonging (1985), and Farhana Sheikh’s The Red Box (1991) addresses the ongoing reassessment of race, migration, identity and urban spaces by exploring the representation of the city through women. Low (1999) only succeeds in examining the part gender plays in representation of urban experience. While Ledent (2002) stretches broadly the woman’s issue in some of the novels of Caryl Phillips, Jegede (2008) uses The Beggars’ Strike and The Triumph of the Water Lily in countering the misrepresentation of woman in prose fiction. Ledent briefly explores the relationship between women and blacks who are sometimes seen and treated as the “Other” as Jegede portrays the struggle of fulfillment: a constitutive feature of most African women, and represents the man as the sole authority in marriage. Kolawole (1997) articulates the various portraits given to women by male writers. While condemning Soyinka’s ambivalent portrait, she applauds Isola’s and Rotimi’s positive female characterization, among others. She also maintains that some women writers portray women in more derogatory images than men. 

Moreover, the drama texts under study, Akinjobi’s Family Secrets and Omeje’s The Conquered Maiden (henceforth FS and CM), to the best of our knowledge have not received any scholarly attention both in linguistic and literary circles. The texts are virtually “virgins” when it comes to an erudite discussion which has its analysis anchored on a theoretical framework such as CDA. It is our expectation that the application of CDA to the study of literature will not only stretch the frontiers of CDA, but will also provide revealing insights to the fact that literature is a site for contest between the opposing sex of society. The choice of FS and CM has been informed, not only by the little or no attention given to the texts, but also by the richness of their language, especially in presenting womanhood. For analysis, only sampled excerpts that vividly express the nature of womanhood either negatively or positively are selected from the two texts. They are analysed based on van Dijk’s cognitive theory of CDA, dominance and social constructionist theories of gender.

 

Methodology

This study consists of sampled extracts that are randomly picked from each of the texts to depict the regular positions of woman in the society. The choice of these drama texts as earlier stated is because they have not been studied in the literature, and are written by women. Therefore, we want to see how female writers use linguistic items such as; metaphor, proverbs and rhetorical questions in presenting the nature of womanhood in Nigerian drama texts. In portraying the condition of being a woman using socio-cognitive approach to CDA, we intend looking at two major issues (or subject matters); “the woman as influencing the affairs of the home” and “the woman at the mercy of the society”. These two plays seem to have portrayed the two issues which this paper intends to ascertain.

 

Socio-cognitive Analysis

                The theoretical framework adopted by the present paper is van Dijk’s socio-cognitive approach to CDA. van Dijk’s approach focuses on the fundamental importance of society in the critical analysis of discourse. His focal triad is constructed between discourse, cognition and society. Owing to this reliance on cognition, his approach is “concerned with mental schemas that represent the social and give rise to stereotypes, that in turn gives rise to various ideologies” (Chilton, 2005, p. 20-21). For van Dijk, discourse and social structure are mediated by social cognition. Social cognition is defined as “the system of mental representations and process of group members” (van Dijk, 1995, p. 18). Social cognitions, then, are socially shared mental representations. In this sense, “although embodied in the minds of individuals, social cognitions are social because they are shared and presupposed by group members” (van Dijk, 1993, p. 257). 

van Dijk’s cognitive analysis also lays emphasis on the analysis of power. To him, ideology is “a form of social cognition, shared by the members of a group, class, or other social formation” (van Dijk, 1997, p. 24). This ideological framework itself consists of socially relevant norms, values, goals, and principles which are selected and applied in a way that they favour “perception, interpretation and action in social practices that are in the overall interests of the group” (van Dijk, 1997: 24). Ideologies therefore, provide the “cognitive foundation” for the attitudes of various groups in societies as well as the furtherance of their own goals and interests.

Moreover, the socio-cognitive analysis is interested in studying the actual processes of decoding interpretation, storage, and representation in memory and in the role of previous knowledge and beliefs of the readers in their process of understanding texts. It emphasizes the analysis of discourse in a way that “we capture both the properties and processes of text and talk, and the micromechanics of social interaction and social structure” (van Dijk, 1997, p. 31). Also, this level and scope of analysis allows a socio-cognitive assessment of knowledge, opinions, attitudes, ideologies, and other social representations that exercise the cognitive control of acting agents in such situations. Finally, these social microstructures (e.g. a classroom lecture or an interaction between a doctor and a patient) may in turn be related to relevant social macrostructures, such as institutions (for e.g., the school, the education system, and their ideologies) and overall social relations.

 

Gender Theories

Gender theories have been approached from two angles: binary and non-binary. The binary angle splits into dominance and difference approaches while the non-binary one involves gender as a construction, on a domain and specific basis.

 

Binary Theories of Gender

The dominance theory of gender identified features of women’s language as: lexical hedges e.g. you know, sort of …; tag question e.g. she is very nice, isn’t she?; rising intonation and declaratives, e.g. It’s really good; empty adjectives e.g. divine, charming, etc.; precise colour terms, e.g. magenta, acqamarine; intensifiers such as just and so; hypercorrect grammar, e.g. consistent use of standard verb forms; superpolite forms, e.g. indirect requests, euphemisms; avoidance of strong swears words, e.g. fudge, my goodness; emphatic stress, e.g. it was a BRILLIANT performance (Holmes, 1993, p. 314). These features have been perceived by early feminist scholars as indices of women’s subordinateness to men and the latter’s powerfulness. In as much as these theorists have tried to challenge some dominance tendencies among certain groups of men, they have been criticised for being narrow in scope and for not being representative in terms of the totality of all women’s linguistic behaviours. Another scholar describes the way male dominance over the female reflects in language use through what she labels, “talking like a lady” (Lakoff, 1975, p. 10).

However, the difference theorists “turned to an analysis of the socially constructed differences between women’s and men’s language, seeing these as akin to dialects spoken by different groups who interacted with each other” (Mills, 2003, p. 166). The approach highlights the differences in language use of men and women based on the different subcultures both were socialized in. The belief is that women and men come from different sociolinguistic subcultures, and therefore they learn to do different things with words in a conversation (Maltz & Borker, 1982). Some critics argue the absence of power relations in the theoretical conception of gender by difference theorists (Cameron, 1998). Cameron refers to it as cultural difference model in which analogies are made between gender and other social divisions such as ethnicity.

 

Non-Binary Theory

The criticisms of both approaches in the binary class gave rise to the non-binary theory of gender. Theorists in this group are “interested in making more nuanced and mitigated statements about certain groups of women or men in particular circumstances, who reaffirm, negotiate with, and challenge the parameters of permissible or socially sanctioned behaviour” (Mills, 2003, p. 169-170). Scholars in the non-binary school have, since early 1990s, shifted gender theoretic thinking from “binary difference [to] diversity of gendered and sexual identities and practices” (Cameron, 2005, p. 482). This approach shifted away from the overgeneralising and dichotomysing positions of the binary group. This theory helps in examining linguistic relations and identity representations among men and women in different communities and among different groups such as miners, racial groups and lesbians. This trend has been named “Postmodernist perspective”, “social constructionism” and “third wave” (Cameron, 2005, p. 485).

In as much as postmodernist theory is the most current in gender studies, there are several aspects of dominance theory relevant to this study. Gender practices in the drama texts accord more recognition to men than women in the family and society. This reveals the unequal power relations; while men monitor their interactions for aspects of power, women monitor theirs for signals of solidarity or intimacy. The choice of dominance theory and socio-cognitive analysis becomes inevitable.

 

Akinjobi, Adenike’s Family Secrets (FS) & Omeje, Chinedu’s The Conquered Maiden (CM)       

The play, FS describes a family knit together by deceit. Tayo, the supposed niece of Mrs Feyisetan, suffers indiscriminately in the hands of Mrs Feyisetan. While Tayo is subjected to dehumanizing acts by her aunt, the woman does everything to cover the nefarious activities of her biological son, Gbenga, whose real father is not Mr Feyisetan as she claims. Woven around politics, secrets, family relationship, banking and broken relationships, and set in twenty-first-century Nigeria, FS tells the story of a woman who does everything to keep her secrets sealed to hold her marriage. The marriage, however, hits the rock when the secrets that kept it are no longer “protected”.

On the other hand, CM centres on woman’s unique confrontation with male superiority, female subjectivity and socially endorsed antipathy that inhibit her progress in a male dominated society. The heroine’s (Akaego) innate determination to succeed meets a brick wall. Although she does not break free from the restriction of male dominance, as espoused in Akaego’s attempts to challenge status quo, the dramatist suggests that even in the most stifling circumstances, the woman’s chance of survival lies on societal mores. The CM is about one of the most insidious and horrendous harmful traditional practices in Africa- the dedication of young women and girls to fetish shrines. It is a tragic story of Akaego, the conquered maiden, in the harem of the Chief Priest of Omuma land. This is a disheartening pointer to the overwhelming odds that trail the struggle against women degradation in Africa. Akaego is deprived of her human and marital rights because of primitive tradition. She fights back but is finally conquered; this metaphorically upholds the magnitude of societal force(s) in individual’s personal life.

 

Analysis and Findings

The ideological undertones that lie beneath the categories of woman as “influencing the affairs of the home,” and “being at the mercy of the society” are revealed in the analyses under linguistic item such as metaphor, proverbs, rhetorical questions, declarative, and exclamatory sentences. Our study portrays these categories as depicting the woman as indispensable, yet subservient. However, the play, FS generally portrays “the woman as influencing the affairs of the home”, she does that to protect her home because of the importance attached on marriage.

In FS, when Tayo’s food got burnt as she went out to buy beverages, her aunt intervened:

Mrs Feyisetan: (Sniffing the air dramatically) Tayo! Tayo! What will l do to this girl? Eh?   (FS, p.9)

Even when Mrs Feyisetan’s husband tries to calm her down, she stares back at him with contempt and mimics him:

Mrs Feyisetan: … Just look at! Look at! I know you can’t perceive the smell even if your head starts burning. But look at! Look at! (FS, p.9)

The above rhetorical expressions present Mrs Feyisetan as a woman who uses everything within her reach to exert control over her family. She treats her husband’s “supposed” niece, Tayo, badly because she is not her daughter; it is also the husband’s idea to bring Tayo into the family. So, Mrs Feyisetan, in trying to frustrate her husband’s efforts to make Tayo happy, finds fault in anything Tayo does. This is evident in her use of rhetorical questions and exclamatory sentences. She actually sends Tayo to buy some beverages, and instead of looking after the food in the kitchen, she relaxes in the sitting room. When the food is burnt, Mrs Feyisetan grasps the opportunity to manipulate her husband into believing that Tayo is a-good-for-nothing-girl. The ideology of control works on the mentality of Mr Fayisetan. Though he knows that his wife maltreats Tayo, he lacks the will power to denounce his wife’s notion of Tayo. Exploiting her manipulative skill, Mrs Feyisetan makes those statements, authoritatively asserting her control of the family as well as portraying herself as being so tolerant over Tayo’s excesses. Her manipulation is to produce a change in her husband’s perception of Tayo such that Tayo is presented as a worthless girl.

After the burnt food incident, Mrs Feyisetan orders Tayo to put their “supposed” son’s (Gbenga) food in the oven. Then, Mr Feyisetan wants to know why Gbenga is not eating with everyone. His wife answers:

Mrs Feyisetan: Ask him when he comes back! (FS, p. 11)

The above exclamatory statement represents the idea of a woman who is in effective control of her household. Mrs Feyisetan over indulges her only son and sees nothing bad in his deleterious and night-crawling demeanor. Even when her husband tries to reprimand Gbenga or talk about her treating Gbenga with kid gloves, she counters his opinion out-rightly. Entrenching her authoritative nature, she asks Mr Feyisetan to get answers to his questions from Gbenga when he returns. The overall intention is to project Gbenga in a positive light. Conscious of his mother’s support, Gbenga does not hesitate in raping Tayo as evident in the next example.

Gbenga: … (Removes her wrapper and pins her to the wall)… l’m just about to teach you something new about family ties. (Drags her along as he moves towards the television to increase its volume, then rapes her) (FS, p. 27-28)

Despite Tayo’s cry for mercy, Gbenga rapes her, trying to justify his actions with the metaphoric expression; l’m just about to teach you something new about family ties. This callous act is motivated by his mother’s supportive role, how her pampering impresses on Gbenga’s negative behaviour. By this act, we see a woman facilitating the abuse of womanhood. Ideologically and by our encyclopedic knowledge of women in most African societies, they are presented as objects of sex, meant to be used by men to satisfy their sexual urge. It is so unfortunate because Gbenga, “believing” that Tayo is his relation still abused her sexually. Tayo represents a great number of women who are subjected to sexual abuses by their fellow women. Even when the rape results to pregnancy, Mrs Fayisetan does all she can to cover her son’s track. Mrs Fayisetan’s behaviour goes a long way to discredit the claim that, “Nigeria is male, a fact that is daily thrust in myriad ways on the Nigerian woman” (Ogunyemi, 1988, p. 60). Tayo’s rape is fueled by a fellow woman. Mrs Fayisetan’s outright disregard for womanhood is also demonstrated below:

Mrs Feyisetan: Tayo, what has come over you? Are you sure you’re not due for a psychiatric test?                                                                               

Tayo: But it’s true. He did it. He forced me. He tore my wrapper and night gown and beat me up. (FS, p 33)

When Tayo becomes pregnant as a result of Gbenga’s rape, Mrs Feyisetan, in her domineering propensity, uses rhetorical questions to make it clear to Tayo that no one will believe her. Knowing that her son is responsible for the pregnancy, Mrs Feyisetan hatches a plan to free him. To frustrate Tayo’s quest for justice, Mrs Feyisetan accuses her of making damaging remarks on an innocent person. Mrs Feyisetan’s disposition portrays some women’s proclivity of approving negative behaviour. By labeling Tayo “crazy” for saying the truth about the paternity of her unborn baby, it exposes Mrs Feyisetan’s absolute and negative control of her household as well as the women under her spheres of influence. By trying to cover-up her son’s irresponsibility, she attributes control to herself, but unknowingly gives power to men at the expense of women. Similarly, she presents Tayo as a never-do-well and wayward girl who lacks control over her sexuality.

When Mrs Feyisetan finds it difficult to convince Tayo into saying that Kanmi, Chief Alade’s son is responsible for her pregnancy, she develops a diabolic alternative:

Mrs Feyisetan: I’ll help you. I promise. I’ll work something out but you must cooperate with me.   (FS, p. 34- 35)

Tayo: How? (FS, p.35)

The above declarative utterances by Mrs Feyisetan exemplify how desperate some women could be. She manipulates Tayo to believe that they can work together to solve the problem, but it is a deceit. The verb must, however, makes it obvious that Tayo is compelled to cooperate. Tayo is surprised at her aunt’s sudden willingness to help. Here, there is an interface between the micro-structure and macro-structure levels of discourse. The society in which Tayo lives does not allow those in power to condescend to the level of the powerless in order to help. Being aware of societal strictures, Tayo psychologically struggles with the idea of her madam’s willingness to help, and need for her cooperation. They are both women, but one is presented as wielding authority while the other is left to providence to decide her fate. And the help comes:

Mrs Feyisetan: … (Holding a knife) Swear to me by Ogun the god of iron that this secret will not be leaked to anyone, that if you tell anyone, Ogun should bathe in your blood (FS, p.35).

The metaphorical expression, Ogun should bathe in your blood is used to commit young Tayo into doing something contrary to her wish. This exposes the power of words in human cognition. Frightened, Tayo swore by Ogun, not to tell anyone the truth about the paternity of her unborn baby. Story has it that it is against the Yoruba tradition for a woman to swear before Ogun, the god of iron. But Mrs Feyisetan undermines the tradition and makes Tayo to take such oath. Mrs Fayisetan tells Tayo that they have made a covenant; therefore, if she tells anybody the truth, she dies. There is a shift in paradigm: Mrs Fayisetan becomes Ogun’s priest who commits her maid, Tayo, to take an oath of confidentiality. This is another form of humiliation meted to woman by woman.

Pushing her influence beyond the threshold of her house, Mrs Feyisetan informs Chief Alade that his son, Kanmi, is responsible for her maid’s pregnancy. She further threatens that the issue will be taken to the court of law if Kanmi does not marry Tayo. Chief Alade, being a responsible man, takes Tayo in. He is extremely disappointed with his son and will not listen to Kanmi’s side of the story. Chief Alade’s disposition towards his son is a product of Mrs Fayisetan’s control. However, in the next example, the playwright tries to make a point:

Mrs Alade: (Runs after her husband) You can’t do that to him, he said he’s not responsible (FS, p.38).

Mrs Alade: (Turns back to Kanmi who holds the door, thinking) Kanmi, are you responsible? Tell me… (Holds him) please tell me… (FS, p. 39).

Mrs Alade, from the above utterances, symbolises the caring nature of womanhood. This is evident in her use of declarative sentence and rhetorical question in the excerpts explicated above. Naturally, a woman is supposed to be gentle in her dealings with people, and Mrs Alade is presented in such light. She tries to balance the reports from both sides (Mrs Feyisetan and Kanmi) and brings serenity in her home. She tries to make her fuming husband to listen to their son’s side of the story and pleadingly inquires from Kanmi to tell her the truth. The playwright portrays Mrs Alade as a peace-loving woman, yet full of power. The only difference between Mrs Alade and Mrs Feyisetan is that while the latter wields negative influence, the former has a positive influence. The underlying ideology that needs to be explicated from the cognition of both women is that of control. In the example that follows, we see another dimension of power play by Mrs Fayisetan.

Mrs Feyisetan: The wind has blown now and we’ve seen the hen’s private parts. … the saint is pregnant now, … For the son of your politician friend, Kanmi   (FS, p.42).

When Mr Feyisetan tries to inquire from Tayo, Mrs Feyisetan hastens to displays her power thus: 

Mrs Feyisetan: (Laughs) … l’ve sent her away for good. I’ve been weak in claiming my matrimonial rights. You remember when you brought her here, you didn’t consult me. You played the African man to the core … all authority. … Now I’ve sent her to Kanmi who impregnated her (FS, p. 43).

In the above instance, Mrs Feyisetan uses a proverb The wind has blown… and metaphor, the saint is pregnant… to establish her power as well as her husband’s unintelligibility. Evidently, the excerpt demonstrates her manipulative nature and the confidence she has achieved. Mrs Feyisetan has been looking for a way to send Tayo parking out of her house. In the bid to legitimize her authority, she sends Tayo away without consulting her husband, applying thos linguistic items to justify her actions. Even when her husband considers her action as the highest form of disrespect, she is never bordered. She wants to win the husband into believing that Tayo is a badly behaved girl. In the subsequent example, Mrs Feyisetan’s quest for power and domination reaches climax.

Mrs Feyisetan: (Laughs) Mr. Husband, take it or leave it, l’ve done just that and there’s nothing you’ll do about it. Nothing (FS, p. 43).

Evidently, Mrs Feyisetan stresses her point authoritatively, using declarative sentence as manifest in the above excerpt. She confidently and ironically tells her husband that she does not need his approval before doing anything in her house, and that he cannot change her verdict. This is a typical example of a domineering personality, trying to control the activities in her family in an overbearing manner.

Contrary to FS, CM presents woman as being at the mercy of the society (men). In the subsequent section, we examine the presentation of womanhood in Omeje’s CM.

The town-crier summons the villagers (men) to the chief priest’s house in order to notify them about the replacement of one of the maidens who was struck dead by the deity for committing adultery. When the villagers convened at the chief priest’s house, the following dialogue occurs:

Oko: Mbo, I wonder what it is this time? The last time such a call came it was in connection with the wife of the late Donatus whom the Chief Priest insisted had to drink the water that leaked from her dead husband’s body to prove her innocence in the charge of poisoning her husband to death (CM, p. 6).

Mbo: … after the incident, the poor woman’s tummy became swollen. She is now critically ill and by our custom, no medicine man can administer any treatment on her less the ancestral gods be provoked (CM, p. 7).

From the above utterances, we understand that the chief priest summons the villagers, and when such summonses are made, they concern women. Those utterances portray women as existing at the fringes of the society they live. The first expression uses rhetorical question to inform us that a woman was forced to drink the water from her husband’s cadaver in order to prove her innocence about his untimely demise. Women, because they are not allowed to participate in the village meetings where issues that concern them are discussed, are presented as powerless. The second utterance …the poor woman’s tummy became swollen metaphorically affirms the pathetic subjugation of the woman who had to drink the water that drips from a cadaver. Then, the chief priest tells them the reason for the call:

Chief Priest: You all know that our great deity, Okpukpu usually has eight young women who attend to him… It is also common knowledge that one of the young women was struck dead recently by the deity for committing adultery and lying under oath (CM, p. 8-9).

After the people’s approval which is done amidst murmurs and ululations and noticing their approval, the priests goes on with his manipulative exclamatory statement:

Chief Priest: The deity has decided on his choice of a young maiden to replace the deceased. … Ogu! Your daughter, Akaego is the chosen one. Remember that the decision of the deity is irrevocable and it is death to refuse dedication and service to the deity (CM, p. 9-10).

The above utterances typify how the chief priest mediates between the given and the new. From background knowledge, we notice that it is ingrained in the people’s mental architecture that the deity can take any bride at any time it pleases him. Through mental processing of the given, the men know what it takes to be of service to the deity as: there is a great hush as each man prays that his daughter will not be the next (CM, p. 9). Those eight young women who attend to the deity are in bondage, warming the chief priest’s bed at his will. Also, nothing is said about the man who committed adultery with one of the maidens who was struck dead by the deity, one begins to wonder the justice and integrity associated with the service which is irreversible and results to instant death if the maiden refuses. While the first utterance affirms the general knowledge of their custom, the second utterance informs and establishes what happens to any maiden who refuses to be of service to the deity.

When Akaego’s father informs her of the chief priest’s verdict, she becomes sad:

Akaego: But papa, what of Chris, my wedding, my education, my life? I will neither have anything to do with that deity nor that old Chief Priest (CM, p. 12-13).

Ogu: Shut up you idiot! … You must do as l say; on the Ofoka festival day, you will be      formally handed over to the Chief Priest for dedication (CM, p.13). 

The first utterance is a rhetorical question; it portrays the struggle of a woman who wants to free herself from the obnoxious strictures of society. Akaego, representative of the maidens in her community, laments the psychological torture women experience simply because they are women. She vows never to have anything to do with the deity or the chief priest. Aligning with the ideology that death awaits anyone who dares the gods, her father shouts her down, using exclamatory statement. The realization that her marriage plans, studies, and life dreams are to crash at the feet of tradition, creates excruciating pains in Akaego. Although her father is not happy about it, he believes that obedience is the only option. The presentation of women’s humiliation and suffering is a strategy that castigates the extremities of culture. Akaego decides to fight her cause despite the fact that her culture leaves her with no option. Working within the deconstructionist canons, the dramatist’s intention is to empower her readers to challenge the status quo.

The empowerment is exemplified in Akaego’s subsequent actions. First, she employs her fiancé to back her in the confrontation, but Chris thinks otherwise. He believes, just like every member of the society, that it is deadly to defy the deity’s orders.

Chris: … You must put yourself together. This is not time for endless tears, emotions and fantasies. … It is sad but you better accept the deity’s nomination (CM, p. 16).

Akaego: (Sobs the more) Is that all the love you have for me? … What is my crime for being born a woman? (CM, p. 16).

The society is dominated by male oriented ideology hence Chris’s declarative sentence; It is sad but you better accept the deity’s nomination. The implication of this sentence is that no man seems to understand Akaego’s plight. Worst of all, the man she loves cannot stand by her in her moment of grief. Even when Chris counsels her not to disobey the deity, he does not demonstrate any willingness to fight. In fact, Akaego feels betrayed by the one man she loves. She wonders if he really cares for her. However, we may not blame Chris completely because he feels unhappy as apparent in his declaration: l hate this primitive community and everything it stands for (CM, p.16). Evidently, he cannot fight the gods; he believes his culture supersedes all.

Subsequently, in Akaego’s battle for freedom, she adamantly repudiates the advice and warnings of her parents, Chris and the chief priest. She complains to her friend Janet whose advice seems reasonable. They decide to meet Lady Silvy, who promises to help. From Akaego’s house, they all went to see the chief priest:

Lady Silvy: (To the Chief Priest) We have come to appeal to you to kindly reconsider your decision for many reasons (CM, p. 29).

In the above assertive utterance, Lady Silvy, the Coordinator of Women Liberty is seen negotiating power through appeal with the chief priest. She tries to manipulate the chief priest with her linguistic choices so as to review the decision that violates Akaego’s reproductive right and human dignity. When the chief priest refuses, Lady Silvy threatens to go to court to enforce Akaego’s right. However, Lady Silvy decides to quit the fight after a terrible accident she had as she leaves the chief priest’s house. Everybody believes the chief priest caused the accident. Frustrated, filled with self-doubt and self-pity when Lady Silvy quits the struggle, Akaego leaves her village, hoping to curb the divination. By refusing to accept the social conventions which govern woman’s role in a traditional Igbo society, Akaego shows a conscientious effort to challenge status quo, to break free from the domineering society. On the day of dedication, Akaego is nowhere to be found. Her father feels so bad because she had given him the impression not long that she had accepted the decree. He rages:

Ogu: … Stupid girl!, l will certainly kill her when l lay my hands on her. … I am sure her mother must have encouraged her to do this (CM, p. 43).

Ogu’s (Akaego’s father) use of exclamatory and declarative sentences above presents him as a selfish weakling whose only interest lies in the shame Akaego’s escape brings to him. He does not border about the physical and psychological damages the dedication will cause his daughter. In total subservience to the cultural ethos of his society and inability to rescue his daughter from the shackles of domination, Ogu considers his daughter disrespectful. In furthering his alliance with the chief priest to dehumanize the women folk, Ogu heaps the blame of Akaego’s escape on his wife. A corollary of what obtains in most African society where women are seen as being responsible for their children’s negative or delinquent demeanors.

Angered by Akaego’s elopement and his loss of sexual grip on her, the chief priest, in the usual eloquent way he has controlled the people; convinces them to see the imminent disaster that awaits Akaego. He authoritatively declares:  

Chief Priest: None has defiled Okpuku and lived to tell the story. Since Akaego has decided to run away…she shall be brought here dead or alive (CM, p. 44).

Consolidating his chauvinistic disposition, the chief priest concludes with declarative sentences indicating that whether Akaego likes it or not, she must be brought to the shrine dead or alive. In all, the events in the play depict the excruciating pain Akaego encounters for being born a woman. In a sustained effort to arrogate control to her female counterparts, she leaves her village for the city only to be returned to Okpuku’s shrine in an unconscious state. Her fleet from the traditional restrictive ideals of a suburban community to the modern unrestrictive Densville is an effort to create a change in the mental architecture of men, letting them know that women are not only capable of living a worthwhile life, but also able of confronting the male folk when the need arises. Akaego’s revolution succeeds in creating an effusive discourse as well as arouses women’s consciousness of male hegemony. While the discourse is effusive, it forms a foundation for a change of women’s subservient identity. Though Akaego is said to have failed, her action brings about a change: a change of perception by the women of Omuma that it is possible for them to reinvent their lives instead of languishing in perpetual subjugation and servitude.

Conclusion

This study has succeeded in revealing a comprehensive, composite and pessimistic vision of African societies in a cataclysmic flux of gender struggles in Nigerian drama texts. It suggests how the manipulative use of metaphors, proverbs, rhetorical questions, declarative, and exclamatory sentences functions as a criterion for human survival in a capitalist world filled with spouses, siblings, traditions, societies and sexes at variance with one another. While FS extensively portrays the woman as the one who controls the affairs of her home, CM illustrates vividly the woman as one who, in spite of society’s domineering strictures, tries to live above board. Therefore, the two drama texts depict woman as being assertive in the home to attain societal standard on one hand, and suffering while trying to overcome societal/traditional subjugation, on the other. It can be surmised that the linguistic presentation of womanhood in the studied drama texts are realistic reflection of what obtains in contemporary African society. Consequently, this paper has contributed to the explication of the unfolding complex vision of the heroine in the Nigerian imaginative drama texts and the society at large: the society expects her to always perform the role of a mother, wife or maiden. It can be established that the dramatists’ theses reflect their beliefs that the success or failure of a heroine in a society lies seriously upon extraneous societal constraints, disregarding the individual’s will power. It also shows the dramatists’ belief in self-struggle and doggedness of intentions: the need for one to carry on even when every other person seems not to understand.

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                Indigenous Music: A Catalyst for National Development

 

By

 

  1. ACHU, A. O.

Department of Music

Nwafor Orizu College of Education,

Nsugbe

 

Abstract

Throughout history, music has been one of the most common means by which one expresses his emotions, feelings and sentiments. The primordial man used music to express fear, pain and danger. In seventeenth century Europe, music was used to express the state of the souls.  In current day Nigeria, music is a tool for self–expression. This paper however, appraised indigenous music as an essential part of the Nigerian culture and its implications for national development. It discussed music as an important part of culture and its roles towards achieving vision 20:2020, aimed at positive development of the country.

 

Key words: Indigenous music, national development, culture, vision 20:2020.

 

Introduction

Music is generally defined as an organized sound that has its concept varying from one society to another. Everybody in every culture recognizes music when he hears one or needs it. Furthermore, music is culture bound, meaning that every culture decides on what is music. It is the entire culture that determines what is acceptable as music to its people. Music can be referred to as an expression or art that is most accessible to human beings in any situation and in their lives, crisis or calm, recreation or reflection (Okafor, 2005). It is used as a medium of communication to express ideas, emotions and melancholic.  Music is used to move, mobilize people and rally them to solidarity. To Plato (400 B.C), “music is the appropriate means of social and political education”.  Music originally, is one of the mine arts over which the daughter of Zeus presided in classical Greek mythology.

Generally, music is a phenomenon that cuts across racial, culture, social, educational and economic barriers, which enhances cultural appreciation and awareness. It also makes it possible to experience process from beginning to end, develop both independence, collaboration, and thereby, provide immediate feedback and opportunities for reflection. It makes it possible for one to make use of one’s personal strength in meaningful ways and to bring in to understanding, sometimes difficult abstractions through these strengths.

Indigenous music can be seen as a music emanating from a particular place or country rather than arriving from another place. It is a term for the music of an original ethnic group that inhabits any geographical area. It can also be the expression or art that is most accessible to human beings in any situation in their lives. Indigenous music is used to influence the lives of an African and everything we do; even in our traditional occupations like farming, weaving, blacksmith, carpentry, dyeing, hunting, etc. Africans craftily form danceable rhythmical patterns with the tools and often complement the beats evolving through deliberate manipulation of the tools, with indigenous tune.

The Geography of Nigeria

Nigeria is a land of more than 500 languages and hundreds of ethnic groups, the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba being the largest.  Nigeria is referred to as the giant of Africa due to her large population and distinct economic achievements in comparison to countries that surround her.   Nigeria is found in West Africa and borders Benin, Chad, Cameroun and Niger. It is a fascinating country made up of 36 states comprising over 500 ethnic groups and over 500 languages. There are about eight largest ethnic groups in Nigeria which include,

  • The Hausas: They are the biggest ethnic groups in Nigeria with estimate of 67 million population making up to 25% of the Nigerian population. Their culture is homogenized. They are known for raising cattle, and other stock; growing crops and trading. Their religion is majorly Islam.

 

The Yoruba:  They make up approximately 21% of the population of Nigeria, making them the second biggest ethnic group in the country. They are usually Christians and Muslims, though a lot them still uphold their traditional practices and beliefs. This ethnic group sticks to many cultural traditions including music and cultural festivals.

  •  
  • The Igbo: The Igbo have long been opposed to sharia law in Nigeria; hence a lot of them are Christians. The Igbos are not reliant on a centralized society, unlike the Hausas and the Yorubas. They are mostly dominated by men and women with business dispositions.

 

The Ijaw: They live in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria and contribute around 10% of the population of the country; their land is rich in oil.

The Kanuri: They are found in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. Their population is believed to be around 4% of Nigeria’s population. They are predominantly Muslims. They are believed to be subjected to violence and Sharia law.

The Fulani: The Fulanis have been intertwined with the Hausa of Nigeria. This is due to intermarriage between them. Both ethnic groups make up approximately 29% of the Nigerian population. Their religion is mostly Islam. They have been the dominant figures in the politics of Nigeria since independence in 1960.

The Ibibio: They are mostly found in the south eastern Nigeria. They make up to about 4.5 million which is equivalent to 3.5% of the population of Nigeria. They are mostly Christians with amazing artistic culture, mostly known for creating intricate wooden masks and carvings.

  • The Tiv: They are mostly known for their rich agricultural produce and the trading of their produce. They make up about 3.5% of Nigerian population. They are mostly Christians with few Muslims and traditionalists. The other ethnic groups include: Ebora, Edo, Gwari, Jukun and Igala, to mention a few. They are majorly found in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria.

 

Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020

The vision 20:2020 is a dream statement that Nigeria will become one of the first 20 economies in the world by the year 2020. This statement came as a result of the assessment of its abundant human and material resources and on the assumption that the country’s resources would be properly managed and channeled to set economic goals. The then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, branded the dream as vision 2020 (Onyekakeyah, 2008). It involves the leadership and direction to galvanize the nation. The process involves a bottom- up strategic planning to ensure ownership by all stakeholders.

In the analysis of the federal government blueprint, (Akpan, 2009) stated that the vision 20:2020 has seven objectives thus:

  • To make Nigeria one of the 20-largest economies in the world;
  • To make Nigeria an international finance centre;
  • To evaluate Nigeria potentials using development;
  • To make Nigeria to be Africa’s financial hub where most of the international financial transactions in Africa would be connected with Nigeria;
  • To help other African Nations move out of financial doldrums;
  • To move Nigeria out of third world country states to an industrialized status;
  • Generate 60,000 megawatts (mw) of electricity in the year 2020.

Indigenous Music and National Development

Dejo (2003) stated that “The study of indigenous music would on a wider view allow for cultural alignment and continuity in individual”. Usually, when mention is made of indigenous music, people tend to look at it from the local entailment that music provides or perhaps is adding color to the events. However, if the roles and functions of indigenous music are to be critically examined, especially to the development of nation, it is clear that the roles of music have gone beyond the narrow perception of the less informed. Indigenous music is fully part of manifestation of cultural heritage of a given society, which provides not only an outlet for creativity but that of self-expression of noble thoughts and feelings. Looking critically at the prevailing circumstances in Nigeria, one can see closely the connection between indigenous music and education as they play an important role on National Development.

Furthermore, Nigerian indigenous music has a lot of economic capabilities. This is evident by the increasing record sales which seem to add tone to Nigeria’s unstable economy. For instance, statistics has it that in 1981, 4.5 million records were sold in Nigeria (Gronov and Saunio, 2008). The World Bank estimate of music sales around the world stood at 6 billion dollars per year. A quarter of this estimate (1.5 billion dollar) is said to be derived from African music, especially the indigenous music.

Also, indigenous music and its prospects is a big channel not only for national development but for providing job and wealth creation to several individual ranging from song writer, music publishers, composers, printing companies, cassette, CD,VCD, DVD manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of musical recordings, dealers on musical instruments, studio and stage sound engineers, musicians, singers, dancers, promoters, talent scouts, entertainment writers, stage designers, lighting crew, structural engineers, advertising practitioners media houses and many more professionals. A lot of income accruing to government coffers through various taxes across professional lines cannot be over-emphasized (Emelu, 2008).

Culture, however, is a very important heritage of Africa. According to Ologe (2009), “The need to integrate cultural activities and values in all spheres of life has been very loudly pronounced in the post-independence development of Nigeria”. On the political sphere, many politicians and political parties have found it expedient to use indigenous music as the medium for carrying their slogan and through the medium of indigenous music, communicate to the entire region; the lyrics carry the particular message of the common Nigeria as well. Indigenous music is, therefore, paramount in reaching both those in rural and urban areas.

Bottlenecks to National Development

There is a great challenge in maintaining or achieving developmental balance in Nigeria. This is due to a lot of factors, which need to be properly harnessed before they yield good results. They include various schemes and projects that can help to better the lives of people. They include social services, culture, and education.

Social Services: If a citizen of a nation grows, certainly it means the nation itself is growing. Therefore it becomes obvious that any nation which bears the growth of her citizens at heart, her utmost target would include fair distribution of social services and amenities. No nation’s development is complete if the welfare of the inhabitants is neglected. Therefore, music is one of the basic social services that need adequate consideration. No nation’s social life is worth living without music. It sensitizes, criticizes, moulds character, entertains, communicates and heals.  Indigenous music is an ardent social mobilize, which awakens the society on the events in the country. Indigenous music, however, alerts the society on the essential social services around their environment and also sends signal to the government on the lack of basic amenities for quick intervention.

Culture: Culture is another factor of the wheel of development of any Nation. A society is distinguished from another as a result of culture. Culture consists of the totality of customs, rituals, norms and values that regulate the people’s pattern of life. Okafor and Emeka (2005) define culture as “all the knowledge, beliefs, customs, values and skills available in a society and by which the society can be compared to or differentiated from other”. It could also be added that culture can only be felt through societal expression of it and that is what portrays the Nation’s identity.

Any nation that respects her culture, normally preserves, promotes and keeps it alive through social activities. This view automatically underscores the importance of indigenous music as a culture promoter. Music performed by every society carries the social cultural nuances and messages of the society. It is also said that development is a function of culture because people cannot be developed outside their experiences and cultural ethos. Through cultural exhibitions which indigenous music is a part of, the Nation achieves economic and social growths. This encourages tourism, inter-ethnic relationship, and provides avenue for foreign exchange. Any nation that turns her back from or looks down on indigenous music and dances of her people, is jeopardizing her economy.

Education: It is regarded as the key to nation building. It ranked second out of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGS), which aim to achieve primary education with the special target that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. In Nigeria as it stands today, education is not receiving the expected attention, most especially in the areas of performing and creative arts which music is among. Music is the life wire of the nation’s education policy. Emenyonu (2004) unequivocally stated that “education is the biggest industry in Nigeria today, but it is also the most underfunded and the most under nourished industry” The government schools around the country have suffered lack of infrastructure, instructional aids and adequate teaching staff. And indigenous music has been a useful avenue through which these ills are made known to the appropriate authorities and the public at large.

 

Conclusion

It is quite obvious that indigenous music is indispensable in nation building. It, therefore, becomes imperative that it should be made an integral part of the school curriculum and offered by every child in the Nursery, Primary and Secondary schools. Indigenous music and its practices in each ethnic group in Nigeria should be properly included in the curriculum content. It is not too late to start because not starting at all is worse. National development requires great effort from various angles and indigenous music has proven to be a very viable one at that. Hence, the government and all individuals should explore the various opportunities made bare through this study to help increase the economy of this Nation.

Recommendations

  1. The federal Government should reinstate its commitment towards achieving vision 20:2020 by putting the appropriate mechanism in place.
  2. Cultural week should be part of academic calendar in our various institutions of learning; this will help cement our rich cultural heritage to the new generations.
  3. Indigenous music should be incorporated as a major part of the basic Education curriculum due to undeniable role in Nation building.
  4. Nigerian language should be used in teaching indigenous music especially in our primary and secondary level of education.

 

References

Akpan, J. (2009). AES National conference portends insight in the realization of the Federal Government’s Vision 20:2020. AES Entrepreneur Digests 3, (1), 35/36

Dejo, K. (2003). Africa music, arts and folklores, Nigeria examples. Abeokuta: Satellite.

Emelu, A. (2008). Popular music and Youth empowerment in Nigerian. The Conference Proceeding of the Professor Femi Osofisan International Conference on Performance. Ibadan: University of Ibadan.

Emenyonu, E. N. (2004). Ideas and challenges in Nigeria education. Enugu: New Generation.

 

Okafor, R. C. (2005) Music in Nigeria society. Enugu: New Generation Books.

Okafor, R. C., & Emeka, L. N. (2005). Concept of culture. In Nigerian People and Culture. Eungu: New Generation.

Ologe, B. (2009). National language and national development. Congress of the Language Association of Nigeria-Law. http//:www.wikipedia.org. Retrieved March 07, 2014

Onyekakeyah, L. (2008). Vision 20: 2020 and seven point agenda: Any connection.Guardian.https//www.nigeriause.Com/20080819051159zg/nNigeria-watch/Vision-2020-and-seven-pointagenda-any-conection-by-like-onyekakeyah/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A study on the assistance received from archaeology in the study of history

By

Senior Lecturer R. K. M. T. Indrani,                                                Department of History & Archaeology,                                            University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka.

 

Abstract

History can be simply introduced as a description about past events as a study done on the activities of human kind from the beginning up to now. The main activity of the educationalists who do that study on education should be to view these necessarily with the present eye and to look at the future with the light of those problems and to help plan the future correctly through assessments. History should depend there on real facts and it should also include historical facts.  It is not a list of names of kings or a discussion about tanks and dams of certain years. The Sinhalese word ‘pura’ is used as a part in the tern ‘puravidya’ considering the meaning of the Greek word ‘ARCHIOS’. That Greek word has the meaning ‘very old’. The tern ‘vidya’ used together with the ‘pura’ has been used to give the meaning of the Greek word ‘Logo. The ordinary meaning of the word puravidya is scientifically studying the principles of ancient things. Here ancient things are certain eras spread in history. These eras change from country to country as historic and pre-historic. In Sri Lanka this is shown in three main steps. These are pre-historic, proto-historic and historic. ( Deraniyagala,: 1992 : 366) The pre historic era is before the 6th century BC. During this era history was built up through archaeological excavations. In the study about this subject archaeology contributes in an unparalleled manner. Accordingly archaeological excavations provide a lot of information to know about the Egyptian culture, Babylonian culture, Indo-valley culture and the Veddas of Sri Lanka. Archaeological resources are immensely helpful in building up the history.

Key Words: History, Archaeology, Inscription, King, Important

Introduction

Mostly from the earliest times up to the time of the relevant writer of ancestral stories an explanation about the challenge and response system about the economic, political, social, cultural and religious life of a community living in a definite area is called history (Carr, 1892:7-13). There is also a description about the facts that caused the phenomenon faced by that community. These facts and figures are focused to a special attention as history becomes meaningful and because of these facts and figures.

According to this, history is a time based story based on the situations that really existed and the incidents that really took place. The specialty here is the ability to learn lessons from the present time up to the future based on these past experiences.

Burckhardt says that history is the document about things found from another era and thought as valuable to be written during some other era. In his book ‘A study of history’ Arnold Toynbee says that the civilizations are built as a result of facing challenges. Therefore it is correct to introduce history as a mirror used for planning the future and understanding the past incidents with realization in this manner from the present. (Toynbee,1988:37-52)

Stuart Piggot shows that taken in a wide sense history is the study of the past of the human society from the distant past up to now. (Basnayake and Hettige;1992:16) Taken in a wide sense history is a successful media used for finding the history of the human society and archaeology belongs to that. Praising a historian because of being faultless is like praising an architect because of using well-seasoned timber or well mixed concrete for his building. Here the historian has to get the help of subjects named in history as ‘Assisting Science’ such as Archaeology Science of Inscriptions, and Numismatic. (Basnayake and Hettige ;1992:97)  That means that archaeology provides decisive contribution for confirming or not confirming the historical facts.

On one side, archaeological resources help to build-up the history for the periods where a written history doesn’t exist. Especially about pre-historical and proto-historical periods definite information could be obtained only from archaeological data. As the explorations from time to time could change the existing ideas, history and archaeology should be mentioned as subjects that often become new. Fossils are found inside and outside caves’ layers of sand etc. Deraniyagala (1992:392) helps a lot to build up a certain incident about pre-history and definite information about proto-history could be had through materials found in graves as well as tools found in strata’s of soil in association with the settlements that existed at earlier times (Senevirathna, Vol V,237-307). The proto-historic era is the period from the 6th century B. C. up to the 3rd century B. C. For this period the Chronicles like Mahawansa and Deepawansa could be used and the contribution of archaeological data could also be taken. The era from the 3rd century B. C. up to present is the historical era. In the study on this era, the help of literary as well as archaeological resources could be taken.

As Glen Daniels shows, archaeology is finding the history of man in association with material resources (Basnayake and Hettige; 1992:17).  David I. Clerk shows that archaeology is revealing the society and studying it in a methodical manner (Basnayake and Hettige ;1992: 17).  Further to this, archaeology could be said to be a section studying the creative activities of man. That means, it is a detailed study done by the archaeologist about instruments from very ancient stone tools up to products of machinery and about buildings from very old temples up to huge churches and mansions. By the 2nd half of the 20th century archaeology has become a wide subject area developing the mix-up of every subject.

The question raised is whether there is a difference between archaeology and history. An orderly story done about a certain thing is history. History is dependent on written information. But archaeology goes further away from written history. The unwritten era in history is studied by archaeology. In this manner, archaeological findings confirm historical facts. It is apparent that knowing history is helpful in finding out archaeological facts.

In every country in the world, to see ancient things, poets songs accompanied by music praise the heroic deeds of kings. In the Raghuwansa, Wishwamithra got the name ‘purawith’ because he knew about ancient times. In the Pali literature also Lord Buddha presented facts about ancient times repeatability starting with the words “Bhatapubbangbhikkavedesissami” (Monks, I will tell something that happened in the past.)(Pirirvanapothvahanse,2006:26-27). In this manner, there is a close relationship between history and archaeology.

By confirming the details in literary books by archaeological resources, presentation of details and correction of false details take place. That means historical details are confirmed by archaeological details and archaeological details are confirmed by historical details. The book ‘A short introduction to archaeology’ written by Professor B. G. Chide in 1956 mentions that ‘Archaeology is a resource that can be used to study history’. (Chide, 1956:10-16) According to this, the knowledge about the past could be widened by the activities of the archaeologist. Then the archaeologist becomes also a historian. As Professor Graham Clerk says ‘Archaeology is an organized educational system done to build up the story about the human past by using ancient books. He says that to have success in this method, the archaeologist must have a complete knowledge about history.

Archaeology has disclosed information about the dark periods of history. For example, the historical information about king Devanampiyatissa is confirmed by the Ritigala inscriptions (Paranavithana, 1983:9). The first cave in Andiyakanda mentions it.

It is mentioned as ‘Devanapiya Maha Rajaha’ (Paranavithana,2001:262-266). The king Walagamba of the Mahawansa is introduced as ‘peethroo Maharaaja’. This name with its title is confirmed by the Brahmin inscription at Nuwarakanda. The historic nature of QueenViharamaha Devi is confirmed by the inscription found in Mihintale (Paranavithana, 1943: 213). The inscription at Yala Kotademuhelahas stated it in this manner. ‘AbisaraVahera, vehera, vihara’ (Paranavithana,1970:41).

In historical documents like Rajavaliya, kings are introduced by title names. The inscriptions discovered disclose that these are true. For example the Molahitiyawelegala inscription says ‘Devanapiyatissa MahaRajaha’ for king Devanampiyatissa (Paranavithana, 1983:4-5). The Abhidana Abhasalamevan and Sirisangabo are also used. These Abhidana names are included in the inscriptions found in Mihintale in Attani inscriptions and the inscription at Gerandigala (Mudiyanse, 2000, 241-243). The Gerandigala inscription clarifies that the king Senathe 2nd conquered Dembadiva. Further to this, the Mahawansa mentions that the king Manawamma went to Pallawa Desha and served that king and expelled Tamils from Sri Lanka after bringing a battalion from there (Mahavamsa,2003:237-239). This is proved by the Gerandigala inscription. The Mahawansa also mentions that king Parakramabahu attacked Barma and for that purpose, he sent the colonel called Keerthi Nayarapallawa.

This is confirmed by the Dewanagala inscription (LakdivaSellipi, 1959:89). The Sangam inscription proves the news in Mahawansa about the peace pact between kings Parakkramabahu and Gajabahu. It seems that literary facts are confirmed on archaeological evidence.

Archaeological evidence is helpful to correct wrong historical facts. The Mahawansa mentions that the king Keerthi Shri Megha reigned for nineteen days. The Tamgoda inscription says that he reigned for 19 years. (Mahavamsa, 2003, 366) Though the Deepawansa mentions that kingVasabha had one son, the Hebessa inscription proves that he had two sons samed Utara and Dutaga (Paranavithana, 1983:84-85). Similarly the best news showing that Sri Lanka is a unitary state is the copper grant at Vallipuram (Paranavithana, 1983:79-81).

The plan known as Kadurugoda in history has been identified as the place called Kantharoda in Jaffna and there are Buddhist ruins at this place. The Sanskrit inscription found at Thiriyaya confirms the Thapassu – Bhalluka story coming in the PaliTripitaka. Further to this it was possible to interchange the names Abhayagiriya and Jetawanaya in old resources with the help of the KanishkaTissa’s inscription found in association with Abhayagiriya (Wimalakirthi, 1959:1-16).  In this manner archaeological evidence had done a great service to rectify some false historical information.

Similarly, when historical stories are building up continuously, the places which are not understood by literary resources are disclosed by archaeological evidence. During the reign of king Mihidu the fifth, Sri Lanka was attacked and conquered by Soli people of India. The name of this colonel who carried out this victorious campaign is not mentioned in the Sri Lanka ancestral stories. But that name is mentioned in the Tamil inscription found at the Hammenhil fort (Mudiyanse, 1997:145).

Information about posts in the old society could be disclosed by using inscriptions. More important here are the ‘cave letter’s like the one at Vessagiriya. (Paranavithana, 1986:48-51)

According to those inscriptions

  • Gapathinagaputhathishasalenesagasa
  • Upashikalenesagasa
  • Parumakashenahaleneshagasha

It is mentioned that various people have carried out cave offerings using honorary names like Parumaka, Upashika, Gapathi and Gamanika. The Thonigala inscription mentions about the agricultural crops in Sri Lanka (Madayangoda, 1957; 98-106). The inscriptions at Wewelketiya and Kaludiyapokuna confirms about the legal side. (Wimalakirthi, 1959:80-99) There are factors in the Vewelketiya inscription showing that those days, village councils had the opportunity to function independently, a permit was necessary to travel from one village to another and about the punishments given to offenders of law.

The information found in literary resources has been confirmed by archaeological evidence. The Ambagamuwa inscription gives facts proving the information mentioned in Mahawansa about the construction of facilities for alms-giving by king Nissankamalla for pilgrims in all 3 routes to the Sri Pada  (Wimalakirthi, 1959:122-123).

Further to this, inscriptions mention about the fate faced by people who damage the items like land donations offered to temples etc. Examples for these are the inscriptions at Moragahawela and at Aththani (Ranawella, 2001:59). It is understood that some information from literary sources are confirmed by archaeological resources. Local inscriptions as well as some foreign inscriptions help as resources in the study of the history of Sri Lanka. The Buddhagaya inscriptions in India provide evidence about certain relationship that existed between Sri Lanka and the Gupta kingdom. The Alahabad inscription of Emperor Samudraguptha is of significant importance (LakdivaSellipi, 1969:7). Some inscriptions found at Nagarjunikanda in South India provide information about the religious relationships between Sri Lanka and Nagarjunakanda.

Conclusion

Also for the study of the cultural history of an era, especially to study archaeology and artistic traditions, literary books are not at all sufficient. Therefore all archaeological evidence like buildings, ruins of buildings, sculpture, statues, walls and pictures are raw materials that help to build the history again.

The historical and archaeological information received in this manner should be used with criticism to get decisions. It is just like a judge giving comparative verdicts about incidents that happened outside according to the evidence and instruments that unfold on his table. The various pre-decisions that the writer of history had, influence his writings. E. H. Carr has mentioned to know the historian before studying history. In fact the past is viewed collecting the data coming in the history through this window called resource. Here, by analyzing the literary resources of data comparatively with the resources received from archaeology, one could get important practiced gains.

 

 

References

  1. Amarawamsa, Kothmale, LakdivaSellipi, Gunasena & Company, 1959.
  2. Basnayake, H.T &Hettige, Uda, Puravidya Praveshaya, Godage & Brothers, Colombo, 1992.
  3. BodhagamaChandima Rev, PirivanapothVahanse, Sri Lankan Buddhist Foundation, Bandaragama, Thaipe, Thaiwan,2006.
  4. Mahavamsa, Buddhist Cultural Centre, Dehiwala, Sri Lanka, 2003.
  5. Mudiyanse, Nandasena, DravidaSihiwatana, Godage& Brothers, Colombo, 1997.
  6. Mudiyanse, Nandasena, Sinhala shilalekanaSangrahaya, Godage& Brothers, Colombo, 2000.
  7. Paranavithana, S, EpigraphiaZeylanica, Vol V, II, Colombo, 1943
  8. Paranavithana, S, Inscription of Ceylon, Vol I, Colombo, 1970.
  9. Paranavithana, S, Inscription of Ceylon, Vol II, Part 2, Department of Archaeology, 1983,
  10. Ranawella, Sirimal, Inscription of Ceylon, Vol I, Part I, Department of Archaeology,2001.
  11. Senavirathna, Sudarshna, “The Archaeology of the Megalithic Black and Red Ware Complex in Sri Lanka,” Ancient Ceylon, Vol V.
  12. ShiranDeraniyagala, S.U, The Pre History of Sri Lanka, Part II, Department of Archaeology, Colombo,1992.
  13. Wimalakiththi, Madauyangoda, shilalekanaSangrahaya, D.P Dodangoda& Company, 1959.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Examining linguistic role in constructing individual identities among the Idoma civil servants in Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria

A.P. Achadu (Ph.D)¹, N.O. Ahamefula² & B. E. Odehᶟ Department of Linguistics, Igbo & Other Nigerian Languages, University of Nigeria, Nsukka                                               Corresponding author: ndubuisi.ahamefula@unn.edu.ng

 

Abstract

One major function of language is the construction of individual identities and distinguishing one group from another; although, there are other distinguishing parameters like the type of dress worn by members of a group, the food they eat, the houses they build or the group totem, tattoos and other cultural practices. It is the language that distinguishes groups of people most precisely. This paper examines linguistic role in constructing individual identities among Idoma civil servants in Makurdi, Benue State of Nigeria. It focuses on how these people leave or set aside their indigenous languages and chose “powerful” languages to construct their identities. The theoretical framework adopted by the researchers is core value theory. The data was collected through questionnaires and interviews from the native speakers comprising 15 respondents from different ministries, parastatals and agencies used for the population of the study in Makurdi metropolis. The respondents were selected randomly from people belonging to different salary grade levels. The result analyzed descriptively shows that language can be an effective marker of individual or group identities in society. However, the loss of social identity through a deliberate policy of suppressing the indigenous languages and opted for a “powerful” or “dominant” language affects the true manifestation of their identities individually and collectively.

Keywords: Individual identities “powerful” languages, indigenous languages, Core value theory

 

Introduction

Language can be described as an indispensable tool that people use to process their thoughts and further express such thoughts. Apart from this primary role of being an instrument of communication, language plays a vital role in the way individuals see or identify themselves and also in the way individuals are seen or identified by others. In fact, language performs the additional function of shaping people’s perceptions about themselves and also that of shaping their perceptions of others and circumstances in their environment. Gibson (2004:10) states that “language is a control feature of human identity. When we hear someone speak, we immediately make guesses about their agenda, level of education, age, profession and place of origin.” In essence, we often make conclusions not just from the way people speak (which is the oral performance of language) we also make conclusions based on the way people write, taking it further from Gibson’s perspective. Hence, constructions can use both oral and written performances to perceive others identifies and even their ideas and beliefs based solely on their use of language. Language is therefore, an important instrument in identity formation. Furthermore, Pagel (2011) asserts that “language is a kind of influential, risky and revolutionary peculiarity which is usual choice that has ever developed” (Pegal, 2011, 19). Thus, language constructs our ability of how to communicate and this ability makes human race more equipped than any other group of living beings. Oegak (2011:19) further states that “… language is characters of our genes.” Human, beings are developed throughout the history because of language. New technologies are invented through the help of languages and that is why we have different identities in different domains.

The research will help to lay out some of the more significant assumptions embodied in understanding role of language and its connection to individual identities. The research objectives are: to understand the relation of language with individual identity and to understand the reason behind the people leave their indigenous language and chose any powerful language to make their identity. The study is significant in the sense that it provides sociolinguistic awareness not only to researchers but also to the common folk to develop their understanding about their own language which is an active agent and marker of their identities.

Literature Review

The focus of this section is on theories of identity, review of empirical studies and theoretical framework. The core value theory was propounded by Smolicz in (1981). The theory is a social science framework with a humanistic sociological approach. The theory states that the relationship between language and identity at any level is not predictable making it possible for variations to exist amongst different groups. With the notion of core values, Smolicz argues that different cultures have different values that are fundamental to their existence as a group, and the rejection of which can lead to exclusion from the group. For some cultures, language is such a value, for some others it is not. Somolicz explains that:

Core values can be regarded as forming one of the most fundamental components of a group’s culture. They generally represent the heartland of the ideological system and act as identifying values which are symbolic of the group and its membership…. Whenever people feel that there is a direct link between their identity as a group and what they regard as the most crucial and distinguishing element of their culture, the element concerned becomes a core value for the group (1981:75-7).

The theory asserts that there is a basic division between language-centred cultures (cultures for which the native tongue constitutes a core value) and other cultures which are based upon family, religion or some other ideas, be then political, historical or cultural (Omonike, 2017).

One of the major criticisms leveled against this theory was offered by Oaks (2001). He argues that a language can only be a core value if it serves as a regular instrument of communication as upholds by Smolicz. Besides, language has other important functions like acting as a symbolic make of identity as opines by oaks.

Social identity theory was postulated by (Tajfel, 1974; Tajfel and Turner, 1986). It was formulated with the ambient of social psychology of inter group relations. It is anchored on four major propositions which are connected in a causal sequence. These include: social categorization, social identity, social comparison and psychological distinctiveness. The social categorization entails the ways the individuals categorises themselves and others into social groups from an early age. Such categorisation could be ethnic, nation, state etc. it is from this point that an individuals can determine his group he belong either to the same group (in-group) or different groups (out-group). The social identity concept arises from people’s awareness of their own social group and the positive or negative values that are related to their membership in that group. The concept of social comparison describes the way individuals favour members of their in-group and discriminate against those of the out-group. This ethnocentric behaviour, which relies heavily on the use of popular myths and stereotypes such as those about neighbouring countries, seeks to generate or maintain a state of psychological distinctiveness which is the last concept in the theory. This state of psychological distinctiveness usually leads to a positive self-esteem and social identity.

One of the defects leveled against social identity theory is that the desire for a positive self-esteem is the motivation behind the construction of social identity. But others argue that self-esteem is not enough, the need to incorporate additional motives into social identity theory. Such alternative motives suggested include the desire for material wealth, power, control, psychological comfort or stability, security, self-efficacy, meaning and self-knowledge (Abrams, 1993). Yet, the seeming restriction of social mobility as referring to assimilation to the dominant group. Oaks (2001) argues that social mobility should be extended to groups as separate entities.

Ethnolinguistic Identity Theory is also a social psychological approach and was propounded by Giles and Johnson (1981). It was formulated as an extension of the social identity theory. This theory was based on the same fundamental principles of the social identity theory but with the addition of three factors which are allude to the thematic concept of ethnolinguistic identity theory: perceived permeability of boundaries, multiple group membership and ethnolinguistic vitality (Oaks, 2001).

The perceived permeability of intergroup boundaries influences social mobility in that it deals with the accessibility or otherwise of intergroup boundaries. That is to say, boundaries which are perceived as soft and permeable facilitate social mobility while those perceived as hard and impermeable do not allow for social mobility and usually lead to heightened ethnolinguistic identities on both sides. By implication, groups with soft boundaries accommodate out-groups while groups with hard boundaries do not accommodate out-groups making it easy for members of out-groups to gain access to groups with soft boundaries and vice-versa. The multiple group membership concepts as suggested by ethno linguistic identity theory has to do with the number of social groups to which an individual belongs. The implication is that the strength of ethno linguistic identity is determined by the number of social groups to which an individual belongs. These groups could be professional, social, class, age, religious etc. It is of the belief that the fewer the groups an individual belongs to, the stronger his or her ethno-linguistic identity will be as a result of the fact that belongingness to several social groups weakens ethno-linguistic identity. Ethno-linguistic identity is the third concept of the ethno-linguistic identity theory. Giles, Bourhis and Taylor (1997) defined ethno-linguistic vitality as that which makes a group likely to behave as a distinct and active collective entity in intergroup relations.

In-spite of the effort made by the propounders, the theory does not go free of criticisms. This theory fails to explain why language is favoured by some groups more than others as symbol of ethnic or national identity. The theory has also been criticized for oversimplifying large social groups by considering such groups as homogenous groups when infact large social groups comprise smaller sub-groups, even at the level of the individual. Husband and Saifullah (1982) make the use of the term “groups” problematic for large-scale categories such as nations. Also, the theory considers all groups alike regardless of their size and nature. In essence, the theory neglects the specific meanings of social categories and flattens out different ways of representing the word.

The theoretical framework adopted for this study is the core value theory. This is a theoretical proposition of social science embedded in humanistic sociology interpretative approach. The theory stipulates the different communities accord different identity markers varying degrees of importance. While some ethnic groups might place greater emphasis on their language as the rallying point of their identification, others place their emphasis on religion, ancestry culture, politics or anything else. The core value theory recognizes the fact that there are many factors which determine the role that language plays in the construction of a group’s identity aligns with the position of the present study which focuses on the examining linguistics role in constructing individual identities among the Idoma civil servants in Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria. The strength of the core value theory further stressed variations in the attitudes of different groups towards different identity markers and makes its application suitable for this research.

The following section takes a look at the empirical studies related to this research work. Various researchers have spoken extensively about the mutual constitutive relation between languages as well as identities. For instance, (Crawshaw, Callen & Tusting, 2001, Rosisole, 2004; Shi, 2006) postulate that language does not perform the role of identifying individual identities but also helps us to understand others identities too. According to researchers, language is the avenue of identity and identities are the result of language, it is the focal point for its cooperation. Besides, identity constructs is constructed by language. Identity foundation is based on the acknowledgement of share source including ethnic, linguistic, religious historical, territorial, cultural and political attributes with other people, groups or ideal, (Hall, 1994, 1996). Hall elaborates identities as “… a process never completed and logged in contingency” (1996, p.2): Identity is not an ending process, it goes on. It is continuously changing and transforming within historical, social and cultural developments and practices such as globalization, modernity and new innovations in technology. It is the language that plays a vital role in establishing identity (Djite, 2006). Going by this view, individual is a social-historical and social-cultural products, means different and multiple identities at different points of time and settings (Gergen, 1991; Hall, Helf & McGrew, 1992). The following review addresses aspect of how does language become powerful under historical, political, educational factors and others, and how does “powerful” language play its role in constructing in individual identities. The concept “powerful” language is given to many interpretations. Omoniyi (2017) sees powerful language as the language that allows you to ship the highest quality product at the lowest cost in the shortest amount of time. This implies that the language that one uses to achieve one’s objective(s) at a specific period of time with fewer difficulties. Kachuru (1986: 159) avers that people tend to demonstrate their identities in powerful languages. Kachuru’s concerned about language and power are on top of linguistics, history, sociological, attitude studies, politics and financial mediators. Powerful language is linked to with community power. Within historical concept of identity, many researchers conclude that language is closely connected to power in Nigeria (Agbedo, 2015). Powerful language is therefore a language that allows you to say many different things with the least amount of length possible.

Makurdi is linguistically divers state i.e. multilingualism. Agbedo (2015:115) describes multilingualism as “linguistics behaviour depends on the usage of two, three or more languages according to condition”. English is the official language since British rule in Nigeria, but in Makurdi some indigenous languages like, Idoma, Tiv, Jukun, Igala, Igede etc are used. Yet English is considered “powerful” language in multilingual setting of Makurdi metropolis. (Rahman, 2009): 38-42). Khokhar-Memon & Siddque (2016) identify the processes of how powerful languages use to construct identities. These includes: politically constructed identities, historically constructed identity, educational constructed identities, culturally constructed identities and social class constructed identities. Equally, Omonike (2017) identifies types of identities as: personal, social, gender expert-novice, national, ethnic identities. By implication, identity makers are of various types. However, we are going to briefly explain these identities.

Politically constructed identities according to Khokhar et al (2016), is that language that is widely spread in a particular setting. The speakers thought themselves more sophisticated than the other indigenous speakers. Kanffman (1990), adds that political identity refers to the recognition of the presence of reppressed or suppressed culture, people, values and ways of life. It is a political action to advance the interests of a shared and marginalized identity such as race, ethnicity gender and religion. Smith (2008) describes identity politics as the idea that only those experiencing a particular form of oppression can either define it or fight against it. All these show that identity politics mainly focuses on the interest and opinions of any particular sub-group in a society based on such group’s clams of being oppressed or suppressed on account of its ethnicity, gender, occupation, religion, class etc. Educationally constructed identities are another role of language use in education. In Makurdi, the language which is appreciated in education is English while Idoma do not have such educational value. The result is that people edneavour to learn English instead of other indigenous languages at the institutes. Abbas (1993) has written that English has strong presence in Education, which the dominant in media, it has been used as a medium for communication. There is the increasing importance of English in every domain. Sabiha Masroo (1993) conducted a research on the Punjabi students’ attitude towards languages and found that they ranked English highest, and other tongues second. Culturally constructed identities stipulate that languages are vehicles through which cultural identities are constructed, accumulated, stored and transmitted; hence language is a mirror of culture. The identity helps in maintaining and constructing links with different cultures (Khokhar et al, 2016). Language is therefore a central means whereby cultures are passed on to each society. Narrating the stories, fables, proverbs, idioms saying, riddles, songs and verbal education are used as means of preservation in society. Bourdieu (1977) states that we have to accept certain things from society that becomes our habits, those habit becomes our social experiences, we coordinate those experiences with others and it is language that helps us to coordinate our experiences with others. As a person is told that his language is inferior, means, one is giving negative illustration that their language is a disgrace for them.

This makes people to decline their cultural identity. In that way, they started to believe to ashamed of their true cultural identity. Resultantly people start to construct their cultural identities in powerful languages. Social identity has a link with personal identity, Edwards (2000:20) states that “no man is an island, entire of itself”. In essence, our personal characteristics derive from our socialization within the group (or, rather, groups) to which we belong; one’s particular social context defines that part of the larger human pool of potential from which a personal identity can be constructed. Thus, individual identities will be both components and reflections of particular social (or cultural) ones and the later will always be, to some extent at least, stereotypic in nature because of their necessary generality across the individual components. For example, certain actions are usually socially identified with certain groups of people. Washing of plates and changing of diapers are considered actions that are socially related to the female gender and where men perform these actions, they are seen as deviating from the normal social construction of their gender. Closely related to this is social class constructed identities. Khokhar et al (2016) assert that language may serve to perpetuate social stratification. Usually in every society, one sees a social class or caste system in which rulers belong to upper class, and working class belong to lower class. Wolff believed that “… this social hierarchy is normally constructed by linguistic differences”. (2000: 306). Unfortunately, the people who have to live miserable lives are poor caste systems and less powerful. The people that have lower castes have to accept lower social status but they themselves think people lower in social scale. That is why they start to leave their original identities and starts to make their identities in the status of educated and power people. In this way, different identities are constructed by rich and poor according to their parameters. For obvious reasons, this relates to language-shame; being embarrassed about one’s language, hence, to possible language death (Khokhar et al, 2016).

Having reviewed the relevant literature on how language constructs individual identities, what follow are explanation of the methodology employed, discussion of each method, the sample, sampling procedure and sample size; then, the procedure of collecting and analyzing data and discussion.

Research Methodology

This section explains methodology employed to collect field data. The purpose of this study is to provide background data for future research on relationship of language and identities. This section also introduces the participants’ selection procedure, the instrument used for data collection, the questionnaire for determining dependability of identity on which language will be provided and the data analysis will be handled in this unit.

The table below tells us the process of the selection of participants for this study.

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, bureau for local government and chieftaincy affairs, office of the head of service, ministry of health and human services and ministerial press briefing were selected for this study.

Ministries, parastatals and agencies Salary grade level Number
  01-06 07-10 12 and above  
Ministry of Education, science and technology, Makurdi Benue State 1 1 1 3
Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Makurdi, Benue State 1 1 1 3
Office of the Head of service, Makurdi, Benue State 1 1 1 3
Ministry of Health and Human Services Makurdi, Benue state 1 1 1 3
Ministerial press Briefing, Makurdi, Benue state 1 1 1 3
Total 05 05 05 15

 

Instruments:

Questionnaire

The procedure for collecting and analyzing data are discussed below. Baker’s (1992) version of the questionnaire was used in the present study. In this study, English was in use because all the participants were literate. Both open ended and close ended question were used. It was divided into two parts; part one of the questionnaires was based on 4 points likert scale from fifteen items. These items asked information on which language helps to construct individual identities. Part two of the questionnaire was open-ended. This part helped to understand the power of any language upon individual identities. In that part, participants were asked to discuss in written form their views on given statements.

 Questionnaire findings from part one, this part is quantitative source based on four column likert scale four language (Idorua, pidgin, English and other) were indicated for four items. The responses of the respondents are discussed below: comments which provided insights into the participants’ perceptions about powerful language” were also included for the item regard the position and role of English language in the state. (1) Your language of interest ……. (2) the language with the highest regard ……. (3) the powerful or dominant language ……. (4) your prefer to learn in ……. (5) you like to read books, newspapers and magazines in ……. (6) you prefer listening to news in ……. (7) you prefer to watch TV in ……. (8) the language mostly use in the office ……. (9) the language use in attending to questions in the office ……. (10) language use when discussing with your co-workers in the office  ……. (11) vital issues usually discussed in …………your office (12) which is the official language use in the office ……. (13) your language of communication outside the office ……. (14) language mostly used in your family ……. (15) your children show greater interstater……….. language. Question 01 expected participants to indicate language of interest. The “language of interest” in the state 05 (34%) of the participant reacted that they highly recognized and respected when speaking English, that is the language of administration, education, commerce, judiciary, science. Also it is an international language and the lingua Franca. Informants on item of the powerful language in the state” revealed that becoming sophisticated deals with the ability to speak English fluently. It is the global language,. The researcher however, discovered that the above statement is not feasible in the practical context. Because the dominant language in the state is Tiv. English is spoken throughout the world, also our curriculums in our institutions are in English. It is English that can give us good career so respondents reported English 6 (40%), pidgin 4 (26%), Idoma 3(20%) and other 2 (14%). Respondents reported the item on “you prefer to learn in”, “you like to read books, newspapers and magazines in”….” “You prefer to listen to news in”, “you prefer to watch Tv” Idoma 4 (26%) Pidgin 4(27) English 7(47) and others 1(6%) Idoma 4(26%), Pidgin 4(20%), English 5(40%) others 2(14%) Idoma 4(26%) Pidgin 3(27%) English 6(33%) and others 2(14%) Idoma 7(47%) Pidgin 3(20%) English 4(27) and others 1(06%) respectively. From the above figure English ranked highest in the scale followed by Pidgin. This shows that English have greater number of people that shows interest for it. On the next item English scored 6(40%), Idoma 4(26%) Pidgin 3(20%) while others 2(14%). The report justified the position of the English on that item. Also the next item indicate the position of Idoma tribes to be 5(34%) and 6(40%) for Idoma and English respectively, while 1(6%) and 3(20%) is for other and Pidgin. This further heralded the greater hatred they have for their language. They further add that listening to news being caste in their native language does not show the reflection of the realities.   Yet, respondents perceptions indicate 4(26%) for Idoma, 6(40%) for the English 3(20%) for Pidgin and 2(14%) for other languages respectively. From the arrays of these figures, English has a greater majority. According respondents report that “watching television in your language” will engender in you the sense of loyalty and commitments.

As for the item the “language mostly used in the office” Idoma 3(20%) English 5(34%) Pidgin 4(26%) and other 3(20%) in the office, in principle the official language is English, but most of the staff gather to chat and discuss issues in pidgin because they have confidence in whatever they are saying and believing that that make them fluent and easily understood. For the item regarded the “language of the office attendants”, Idoma 4(26%), Pidgin 6(33.5%), English 6(33.5%) other 1(7%). The office attendants are expected to be courteous because they do not know the background of the guest(s) that is visiting their office therefore he/she has to speak the official language which is English. But if the guest is a familiar person, the receptionist is free to address the person in his/her indigenous language. To talk about “language use in the family and children’s interest for a particular language, depends largely on the roles of the parents. Most literate parents hardly speak native language with their children at home. Some parents even go to the extent of justifying their children for not being able to speak the parental native language(s). On language, participants answered that 3(20%) of the Idoma speak their language, pidgin 5(34%) and those that speak English in their family is 5(32%) while 2(14%) for the other language. The related question of children’s interest indicated that English 6(40%) of the total respondents, pidgin 4(26%), Idoma 3(20%) and other 2(14%) respectively.

Part two of the questionnaire is qualitative source which is checklist of six statements, this part helped to understand power of any language upon individual identities. Researcher prepared six statements on which discussion was held thus: (1) it was a waste of time learn indigenous language because – 2) which language has no place in the modern world – – 3) our children should be made to learn and speak English/Idoma/Pidgin/other – – 4) speaking English helps in socialization – 5) Is there any need for national language – 6) what will be the implication of teaching one language in the school? – on the statement “it is waste of time….” It was brought to the fore that all languages are essential or important and have place in their localities, so no language could be neglected. If the indigenes failed to attach value to their languages, however, languages died because of its unscripted nature. Resounding on which “which language has no place in the modern world”, there is no language that does not serve a purpose, all the languages of the world are as important as any other language you might think of. The preference is based on individual perception as regard the importance of language. Informants reported on the statement “our children should be made to learn and speak English/Idoma/pigging and other languages. There is no danger in learning new language knowing other language will add more understanding in accepting world. It will broaden widow of knowledge through which we understand the wider world. According to a response on the statement “speaking English helps one in socialization, that it help us to freely interact with our neighbours and to fit in properly into the scheme of things in the modern world on the statement “is there any need for national language? The respondent reechoed the importance of language as a vehicle of transfer of thought, idea, feeling, emotion to any other party. These are heightened through uniform language. Therefore, national language could be that language that could be understood by all the people involved. Answer to the statement “what will be the implication of teaching one language in school?” The student may be clamped down linguistically and hindered from effective participation in the global affairs. The broaden of knowledge through language which one can see more precisely and with the lenses of the languages is darkened, thereby rendering one misfit in every sphere of life.

Findings, discussion and summary

The intrigue of language is that it was formerly meant to help in communicating but the problem arises when the community is facing multilingualism which is not merely obstacle in transferring thoughts as speakers have different languages but is also accountable for making domineering of one language over other. Also, the research has to demonstrate how Multilingualism in Markurdi context is responsible for constructing individual identities in dominant language. With the support of theoretical framework, it may be drawn that individual identities are the consequences of multilingualism, and people want to make their identity in the most powerful and dominant language. A considerable body of research supports the theoretical perspectives that language constructs individual identities due to different factors such as political, social, cultural, historical and educational factors. As a result, individual identities are classified to differ across social, cultural, educational and political backgrounds.  Idoma is a symbol/language marker of identity among natives of Idoma. English is believed to be powerful amongst Idoma civil servant in Makurdi because it is the language of administration, education, politics, etc. It is believed that with the “powerful language’ users can get more fulfillments of life than speakers of other languages.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

All languages in the world have equal importance and value. They represent particular group in every part of the world. No language is superior to other. All languages represent their social group. All languages should be respected and valued. Indigenous languages carry the cultural trait of the speakers. It is the duty of every citizen to preserve value and promote indigenous knowledge in the country along with the national language as it is our mark of identities in the state and country at large.

 

References

Abraru, D. (1992). Process of social identification. Social psychology of identity and the self concept. Breakwell, G. (Ed.). Survey University press/Academic press 57-99.

Agbedo, C. U. (2015). General linguistic historical and contemporary perspectives. Nsukka: ACE Resource Konsult.

Bourdieu, P. (1997). Language and symbolic power. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Crawshaw, R., Callen, & Tusting, K. (2001). Attesting the self narration and identity change during periods of residence abroad. (Electronic version). Language and Intercultural Communication 1(2), 101-119.

Dijite, P. G. (2006). Shifts in linguistics identities in a global world. Language problems and language planning 30)1), 1 – 20.

Gibson, K. (2004). English only court cases involving the U.S. Workplace: The myths of language use and the homogenization of bilingual workers’ identities. Retrieved May 25, 2015 from https://www.hawaii.edu/51s/WP-content/uploads/2014/09/Sibson.pdf.

Giles, and Johnson, P. (1981). The role of language in ethnic group relations. Intergroup Behaviour. Oxford Blackwell 199-243.

Giles, H., Bourhis, R. Y., and Taylor, O. M. Giles, H. (Ed.). (997). Towards a theory of language in ethnic group relations. Language, ethnicity and intergroup relations.. London: Academic press, 307 – 348.

Hall, S. (1996). Question of cultural identity. London, Sage.

Husband, C. and Saifullah, Khan, Y. (1982). The viability of ethnolingustic vitality some creative doubts. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural development.

Khokhar, S., Memon, S. and Sadique, K. (2016). Exploring role of language in constructing individual identities: A case study of Sindh, Pakistan. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 6. No. 3.

Oaks, S. O. (2001). Language and National Identity: Comparing France and Sweden. USA: John Benjamin’s publishing Company.

Ominike, O. y. (2017). Politics of language and identity in Ilorin Emirate, Nigeria. A Ph.D thesis University of Ibadan.

Pagel, M. (2011). How language transformed humanities. Ted. Keynote.

Rahman, T. (2007). Language planning in higher education: A case study of Pakistan Sabiha Mansoor TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 41. No. 2.

Rosi Sole, C. (2004). Autobiographical accounts of L2 identity construction in Chicano literature (Electronic version) Language and intercultural communication 4(4), 229-241.

Shi, X. (2006). Gender, identity and intercultural transformation in second language socialization. Language and Intercultural Communication 6(1), 2 – 17.

Smolicz, J. (1981). Core values and cultural identity. Ethnic and racial studies.

Tajfel, H, and Turner, J. C. (1996). The social identity theory of intergroup behaviour Psychology of intergroup relation.

Tajfel, H. (1974). Social identity and intergroup. Social science implication.

 

APPENDIX

Questionnaire

Part 1

                This part will help us to understand that which language help to construct individual identities? Note that the figure outside the parentheses are numbers of participants who were interview and figures in parentheses are the percentages.

  1. Your language of interest

Idoma 3(20%) pidgin 4(26%) English 5(34%) other 3 (20%).

  1. The language with the highest regard in the state

Idoma 4(26%) 3(20%) pidgin 4(26%) English 6(40%) other 2(13%)

  1. The powerful or dominant language in the states

Idoma 5(30%) pidgin 4(26%) English 6(40%) other 2(14%)

  1. You prefer to learn in

Idoma 3(20%) pidgin 4(27%) English 7(47%) other 1(6%)

  1. You like to read books, newspapers and magazines in

Idoma 4(26%) pidgin 4(26%) English 6(40%) other 2(14%)

  1. You prefer listening to news in

Idoma 4(26%) pidgin 4(27%) English 5(33%) other 2(14%).

  1. You prefer to watch television in

Idoma 7(47%) pidgin 3(20%) English 4(27%) other 2(14%)

  1. The language mostly use in the office

Idoma 4(26%) pidgin 3(20%) English 5(34%) other 3(20%)

  1. The language use in attending to guest(s) in the office

Idoma 3(18%) pidgin 5(33.5%) English 5(33.5%) other 2(14%)

  1. Language use when discussing with your coworkers in the office

Idoma 3(20%) Pidgin 4(27%) English 6(40%) other 2(13%)

  1. Vital issues usually discussed in your office

Idoma 3(26%) Pidgin 4(26%) English 6(34%) other 2(14%)

  1. Which is the official language in the office

Idoma 3(25%) Pidgin 3(27%) English 6(41%) other 1(07%)

  1. Your language of communication outside the office

Idoma 3(16%) Pidgin 5(30%) English 7(47%) other 1(07%)             

  1. Language mostly use in your family

Idoma 4(26%) Pidgin 5(34%) English 4(26%) other 2(14%)

  1. Your children show greater interest for ………….language

Idoma 3(20%) Pidgin 4 (26%) English 6 (40%) other 2 (14%).

Part Two

                This part will help to understand the position or power of any language upon individual identities. Research question two asked respondents to discuss the following statements.

  1. It was a waste of time to learning indigenous language because
  2. Which language has no place in the modern world
  3. Our children should be made to learn and speak ……
  4. Speaking English helps one in socialization
  5. Is there any need for national language
  6. What will be the implication of teaching one language in school?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Child’s Right Act and the Right of Nigerian Children

 

BY

 

Dr. Joyce N. Mbaebie

Department of Political Science

Nwafor Orizu College of Education,

Nsugbe

joycembaebie@gmail.com.

 

Abstract

This paper examined the Child’s Right Act and the Right of Nigerian children. Specifically, the work sought to find out the extent of commitment by the Nigerian government on the implementation of the act, the effects of the non-adherence to the provisions of the Act on the Nigerian child and the impact of government commitment on the implementation of the Child’s Right Act. The study was anchored on human need theory.  The study revealed that, the Nigerian government is not seriously committed to the implementation of the Child’s Right Act; poor implementation of the Act has also affected Nigerian children adversely. Based on these findings, the study recommended amongst others that the government should embark on an aggressive campaign to sensitize the public on the existence and provisions of the child’s Right Act; Government should work towards the establishment of Juvenile courts where young offenders can be tried and made to serve punishment commensurate with their age; Government should establish a public child welfare agency which can sue on behalf of a child who is a victim of abuse.

 

KEY WORDS:    Child’s Right Act, Charter, Conventions, Welfare, Child-abuse

INTRODUCTION

The need for the Child’s Right Act was identified by the Children and Young People’s Act (CYPA) before 2003, a law relating primarily to juvenile justice (Alemika and Chukwuma, 2004). Originally passed by the British colonial government in 1943, the CYPA was later revised and incorporated into Nigeria’s Federal Laws in 1958 (Alemika and Chukwuma, 2004).

However, Save the children Italy (2003) opined that apart from the CYPA, Nigeria acceded to several historical international conventions relevant to the rights and welfare of children ahead of independence in 1960; some of these laws were the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights of 1948, the convention for the suppression of Traffic in person’s and of the Exploitation of the prostitution of others 1949, and its 1956 amendment. These conventions and CYPA, were at the root of several articles adopted by the country to safeguard the rights of its citizens. Some of these articles were the Northern Nigerian Penal Code (Northern States), Federal Provisions Act, 1960 (the Penal Code), and the Southern Nigeria Criminal Code Act, chapter 77, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1960 (the Criminal Code). It is worthy to note that these two laws still exist and are enforced in the country (Save the Children Italy, 2003).

In the penal code in Northern Nigeria, trafficking is specifically referred to in section 279 and punished by 14years imprisonment, while the anti-trafficking related crimes of kidnapping and abduction of children (section 271 – 272) and slavery in general (section 279) may be punished with 10 – 14 years imprisonment. Exploitation for sexual purposes appears to be covered by the offences of procuring a woman or girl for an immoral purpose, which is punished by up to 7 years imprisonment (section 281), becoming 10 years where the girl is under 18 years of age (section 275). Boys are implicitly included in section 278, which punishes who buys, sells, hires or obtains or disposes of possession of anyone under 18 years for employment in prostitution or other unlawful or immoral purposes, though it is not clear what the actual punishment is (save the children Italy, 2003).                                    

The criminal code, on the other hand, has less severe punishment, though it does allow for the extra-territoriality of some offences and punishment; slavery-related offences with 14years imprisonment; penalties for procuring girls (under I8 years) for prostitution in or outside Nigeria range from imprisonment for two years (sections 222A and 223) to three years where fraud is involved (section 227), and one extra year where intimidation is used to subject victims (section 366) (save the children Italy, 2003).

With regards to these laws including the CYPA, Alemika and Chukwu (2004) argued that their “legal provisions fell short of the rights afforded by the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the United Nations minimum rules for the administration of juvenile justice”. These international instruments, particularly the CRC which was ratified in 1989 and came into force in 1990 and the ACRWC adopted in 1990, sought to lay down a new child protective system which would allow opportunities for the participation of children in matters that concern their rights and welfare (Representing children worldwide, 2005). In order to achieve this, participating countries were therefore required, in line with the provisions of the international conventions, to promulgate a law that will address the peculiar needs of children by ensuring their survival, development, protection and participation. In fact, UNICEF (2007) summarizes the kind of laws that participating countries were mandated by the International instruments to promulgate as those which “reflect children as human beings and as subjects of their own rights”. Nigeria signed both international instruments, that is, the convention on the Rights of the child (CRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) in 1990 and 2001 respectively (Anaba, 2003).                        

However, while Nigeria is a signatory without reservation to CRC and the ACRWC, the conventions had not been incorporated into domestic law thus had no legal force in Nigeria. As a result, in 1992, the Nigerian chapter of the African Network for the prevention and protection against child abuse and neglect (a conglomerate of over 60 different NGOs committed to child development) organized three conferences with the ministries of Justice, Health and social welfare in conjunction with UNICEF to produce new draft laws on protecting children in Nigeria in line with the principles enshrined in the convention on the Rights of the child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (Ajayi, 2006). 

But it was only after about ten years with several Heads of Government and heated debated by the parliamentarians that the draft Bill was eventually passed into law by the National Assembly in July 2003. It was assented to by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in September 2003, and promulgated as the Child’s Right Act 2003 (UNICEF, 2007).

Despite the existence of this law, the rights of the child in Nigeria are far from being respected as many of them are still denied sound education, adequate nutrition, health care, etc or exploited as child labourers, sexually abused and ravaged beyond their years by hard living and drug on the streets. Therefore, this paper seeks to examine the child’s Right Act and its impact on the right of Nigerian children. The study will also find out the extent to which the Nigerian government is committed to the implementation of these rights.

 

Conceptual Framework

Who is a Child?

A child is defined as “a young human being who is not yet an adult”. This definition is a biological one in the sense that it views a child as anyone in the developmental stage of childhood, between infancy and adulthood, or “between birth and puberty”. At that stage of life a child is either classified as a boy or a girl against an adult who is classified into man or woman (Wikipedia, 2008).

There is also a social definition which describes the term “child’ in terms of relationship with a parent or authority figure or in relation to group membership in a clan, tribe or religion (Wikipedia, 2008). According to the social definition, “a person can be called a child by his or her parents or any authority figure he/she is under, by virtue of his membership to a group, clan, tribe, or religion, no matter how old he or she is” (Simple English Wikipedia, 2008). Although the biology and social definitions are possible attempts at explaining who a child is, both definitions are inadequate when trying to determine who a child is under the law for the purpose of formulating and implementing polices that apply to children. The reason for this inadequacy is that in most countries,

Children go to school. Also, smaller children may enjoy going to play-time groups and also playing with small toys and using their imaginations to make their days more fun.  But in other countries, children work in factories or in the fields with their parents or guardians. (Simple English Wikipedia, 2008).

 

 The point being stressed here is that there are many places where children are made to take on the responsibilities of adults. In such places, children are given out in marriage when they are still young and psychologically handicapped to understand and challenge the complex nature of family life, children engage in one kind of economic activity or the other to earn a living or provide for the respective families and children are also held responsible for their actions and, are therefore, made to face the same sanction as adults (UNICEF, 2007). It is as a result of this deficiency in capturing who a child is from a much specific sense for the purpose of formulating and implementing polices that apply to him/her that a legal definition became imperative. However, research has revealed that the legal definition of a child just like the social and biological definition, still poses a problem in determining policies that should apply to children. The reason for this is obvious: different countries operate different laws which are in a larger sense a reflection of their valves, norms and customs. As a result of the discrepancy associated with the legal definition, Bagpai (2007) argued that “the trouble with child rights begins with the very definition of a child in law”.

However, the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) in 1989 tried to provide a way forward in this direction by adopting in its article I, a working definition of a child as “every human being below the age of I8 years, unless, under the law applicable to child, majority is attained earlier”. By using the age limit criterion and grating individual countries the discretion to determine by law whatever age is appropriate in determining who a child is, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child (ratified at the time of its formulation by 192 of 194 countries), sets the pace for other countries to; follow.

In India, for instance, a child attains majority at the age of 18 even though there are several grey areas such as the Indian child labour regulations which classifies a child as “a person under 14 years of age” (Bagpia, 2004). In Bangladesh, the women and children oppression prevention Act of 2000 deems a child to be a person under the age of 14 (Rahman, 2005).

In the United States of America, there are numerous laws that prohibit certain categories of children from indulging in certain activities which are considered inimical to their growth and development. These laws are as many as there are states in the United States as every state formulates its own set of laws. However, the federal law recognizes a child as any person who is under the age of 18 (Guggenheim, 2005). In Nigeria, the child’s Right Act which was passed into law in 2003 defines a child as one who is below the age of eighteen years (UNICEF, 2007). With respect to the use of age limits in determining who a child is Bagpai (2007) opines that:

Age limits are a formal reflection of society’s judgment about the evolution of children capacities and responsibilities. Almost everywhere age limits formally regulate children’s activities. When they leave school, when they can vote, when they can be treated as adults by the criminal justice system; when they can join the armed forces; and when they can work. But age limits differ from activity to activity, and from country to country.                                                

But we must note at this juncture, that notwithstanding the differences that exist in the use of age limits in determining when childhood ceases, nearly all countries and cultures share the view that children are the most vulnerable members of the society because they are physically and psychologically less able to define themselves (Bagpai, 2007).

 

Theoretical Framework

The study takes its bearing from the tenets of the Human Needs Theory. The position of human needs theory is similar to that of frustration, aggression and relative deprivation theory. Its main assumption is that all human beings have basic human needs which they seek to fulfill, and that the denial and frustration of these needs by other groups or individual could affect them immediately or later thereby leading to conflict. Basic human needs, in this sense comprise physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. In essence, to provide access to one (e.g. food) and deny or hinder access to another (e.g. freedom of worship) will amount to denial and could make people to resort to violence in an effort to protect these needs (Obikeze, 2009).

Therefore, it is the duty of the society to train the child, provide their basic needs and also protect the child from harm and deprivation since the children are considered to be an integral part of the society and are needed for the continued growth and development of the society. It is the contention of this study that the children should be taken care of both physically, morally and mentally, because they are the ones that would later run the society with all the experiences they acquired as they are growing up. To further show how important the children population is to the society as a whole, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (1995) contended that “Without National program that enable children grow up to realize their full potentials in health, peace and dignity, true national development is impossible”. In the same vein, Ajayi (2006) argued that “the protection and promotion of the rights of the child as well as the nation at large, and the way right of a child is handled in a country shows what the future holds for such a child and the nation. The increase in the number of poor beggarly children in Nigerian cities, the number of children without basic education, and the number of children in one form of servitude or the other indicate a nation’s level of development. In a nutshell, securing the future of a child is securing the future of a nation.                                                 

 

Forms of Child Abuse

The Human Resources office of the Diocese of Wilmington (2008) provided a list of the different forms in which child abuse is perpetrated in different parts of the world.                                   

  1. Engaging in sexual activity with a child.
  2. Denial of proper or necessary subsistence education, medical care, or other care necessary for the child’s health.
  • Use of restraint procedures on a child that cause injury or pain.
  1. Administration of prescriptive drugs or medication without the on­going super-vision of a licensed physician.
  2. Providing alcoholic beverages or controlled substances.
  3. Commission of any act, other than by accidental means, that threatens or results in any injury or death to the child.

These types of child abuse are grouped under three (3) different forms/kinds of child abuse the highlight of which concludes:

  1. Physical Abuse: Which has been described as any non-accidental physical injury to a child caused by an adult, which results in or threatens serious injury. Often adults who physically abuse children do not intent to seriously injure the children, but get carried away by anger and frustration in their own lives. Neglect is also another form of physical abuse. It is the failure of a parent or guardian to provide a child with adequate food, clothing with adequate care, education or supervision. Neglect is a chronic problem often resulting not from poverty, but from lack of knowledge as to the proper care required by children.
  2. Sexual Abuse: This is any physical contract with a child by an adult or older child in a position of power over the child for the sexual gratification of the adult or older child. Other terms for sexual abuse include child molestation, incest (if the abuser is a member of the child’s family) or child pornography. Usually, child sexual abuse is not violent, and the child knows the abuser.
  • Emotional Abuse: This is an important factor in all forms of child abuse. To be hurt so much by someone who should care and protect is very damaging to the emotional development of a child. Adults who do not physically harm a child may cause emotional harm by using words which threaten harshly, criticize, ridicule or harass (Human Resources Office, Diocese of Wilmington 2008).

                Virtually all countries, both developing and developed have recorded numerous cases of child abuse. In the last decade, for instance, an estimated two million children were killed in armed conflict, many of them by some of the 100 million landmines thought to be concealed in 62 countries, and more than half of this number are located in Sub-Sahara Africa. And a total of, perhaps, four to five million more have been disabled as a result of their experience in war, particularly in war-front parts of Africa (Liberia, Sierra – Leone, Sudan, etc) and more than 12 million made homesless (Abereijo, 2005).

The condition of children in Africa should be a source of concern to many considering the fact that about 300 million children under the age of fifteen live in Africa and this number is almost half of the continents population (Salami, 2003). However, it is not only in Africa that we find conditions that constitute great threats to the growth and development of children. These conditions also abound in most develop parts of Asia, the Americas and Europe. For instance, it is estimated that the number of children under 18 involved in prostitution exceeds two million, one million of whom are in Asia, and 300,000 in the United State (Abereijo, 2005).                                                       

Furthermore, Children Rights (2008) noted that child abuse and neglect is far too common in the United States. In 2004, there were:

  1. 3 million reports of child abuse and neglect,
  2. 872,000 children confirmed victims of abuse and neglect,
  • 65% experienced neglect,
  1. 18% experienced physical abuse,
  2. 10% experienced sexual abuse,
  3. 7% experienced emotional maltreatment,
  • Almost 1,500 deaths due to child abuse and neglect,
  • About 350 deaths of children already known to the public child welfare system.

In Nigeria, the case is no less different as Ajayi (2006) argued that “many children are still victims of obnoxious cultural practices like early marriages in the northern parts of the country and female circumcision (the victim in this case is the girl child)”. There has also been a tremendous increase in the number of children destitute on Nigerian streets who survive by doing menial jobs and begging for alms. Many children in Nigeria lack the basic and necessary subsistence education, food, shelter, medical care, etc. According to Defence for children international (DCI) – a non-governmental international organization concerned with the welfare of children, the condition of children in Nigeria should attract the sympathy of the world because:

  1. Over 70% of Nigerian children live in abject poverty,
  2. Over 80% lack access to medical care,

iii.            Over 89% are malnourished,

  1. Over 90% lack access to sound education,

vi             Six out of every ten Nigeria children die before their tenth birthdays as a result of

                preventable diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and diarrhea,

  1. The percentage of children who are orphaned as a result of child abandonment is on the increase,

vii.           Over 60% of Nigeria children under the age of 18 have been subjected to one form of abuse or the other particularly sexual abuse,

viii.          Nigerian children, particularly those living in the Niger Delta Region of the country have experienced one form of brutality or the other either from law enforcement agents or from the militants who have taken over the area,

  1. Over 60% of Nigerian children live apart from their parents as maids in other people’s homes,
  2. Children in the Niger Delta suffer from the environmental degradation such as gas flaring inflicted on them by the multi­national oil corporations in the area (Defence for Children International, 2008).
  3. Trafficking in Nigerian children is on the increase both within and across the nation’s boundary (Defence for children International, 2008).

The plight of Nigerian children generates a greater source of worry and concern when we consider the fact that they constitute nearly half of the country’s 140 million people (Defence for children International, 2008). In response to the global distress of children, the United Nations in November 1989 ratified and adopted the convention on the rights of the children which came into force on 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49 of the convention. According to the United Nations Department of Public information (1995), the initiative for the convention came from the government of Poland, which submitted a draft convention to the commission on Human Rights in 1978, prior to the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights of the child during the international year of the child in 1979. (The UN Dept. of Public Information 1995).

According to the United Nations Department of Public Information (1995), this effort by the Polish government led to a decade of collaboration between a small group of Non­Governmental Organizations, including Radda Barnen of Sweden, the International Child Catholic Bureau, and Defence for Children International, and United Nations Human Rights experts. And after a lengthy period of careful negotiations, the convention on the Rights of the child was adopted in November 1989 by a vote of the General Assembly (The UN Dept. of Public Information).

In recognition of the fact that in all countries in the exceptionally difficult conditions, and that, such children need special attention and consideration, the convention has mandated number of states to “understand all appropriate legislation and administration and offer measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present convention. With regards to economic, social and cultural rights, states, parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and where needed, within the framework of international co­operation” (The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989).

In July 1990, the then OAU Assembly for Heads of States and Governments followed suit by adopting the African Union Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (CRWC) (UNICEF, 2007). Nigeria is a signatory to both international instruments (i.e. the convention on the Rights of the child since 1991 and the African charter on the Rights and welfare of the child since 2001). Also in 2001 the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), of which Nigeria is also a part, took a proactive step towards developing regular action plans and promoting regional co-operation on trafficking issues, including a peer preview on the situation of children. These action plans were assented to by all ECOWAS Heads of State and Government and proclaimed as the Declaration on the Defense of a Culture of Rights of the Child in West Africa (2001-2010).

These international instruments alongside with the activities of some Non-Governmental Human Rights Organizations like Save the Child Italy, Representing Children Worldwide, etc (the activities of NGOs will be subject of subsequent chapters), have been largely responsible for some landmark legislations on child’s rights such as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2003, which provided for the creation of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Offences (NAPTIP), the labour Act, the Child’ Rights Act 2003 (UNICEF, 2007).

However, the focus of our study is on the Child’s Rights Act, how it has fared since it was introduced since 2003.

 

The Implementation of the Act by the Nigerian Government

The child shall enjoy special protection and shall be given opportunities and facilities of law and other means to enable him to develop physically, mentally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and on condition of freedom and dignity. In enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interest of the child shall be the paramount consideration.

Nigerian government to an extent is making some effort towards the implementation of the child’s Right Act. Some states have started implementing the Act while about 15 states are yet to pass the child’s Right Act 2003, and the failure to pass the Act in those states has made children victims of various crimes such as physical and sexual abuse, early marriage, child labour and trafficking, and preventing children from going to school. Children are vulnerable. Many adults take advantage of the non-passage of the CRA and the innocence and ignorance of children, to trample on their rights. Therefore, the Nigerian government in order to ameliorate this problem to an extent democratized educational opportunities through free education policy like Universal Basic Education (UBE). This policy granted free and compulsory education for children starting from primary to junior secondary school. This helps to reduce the issue of children being involved in child labour and other offences.

Government has also promulgated laws banning child abuse and trafficking. Some punishments were also spelt out for the culprits. The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also help the government for the sensitization of the public on the child’s rights and these offences.

A drastic effort is being made by the government to reduce child mortality through improved healthcare, for example, intensive immunization programmes because both education and health are basic human rights in themselves and an indispensable means of the realization of other human rights. Implementing children’s health rights by the government of Nigeria implies ensuring reduction in infant and child mortality rate through provision of necessary medical assistance and healthcare to all children and the provision of adequate nutrition and safe water. Others include combating diseases, appropriate care for expectant and nursing mothers and integrating basic healthcare programmes into national development plans.

The government also is making drastic efforts to reduce population growth through free family planning programme for the citizens. Large family size is known to affect children adversely, especially those from low socio-economic background. However, in spite of the efforts being made towards implementing the child’s right act, the Nigerian government is not seriously committed towards the implementation of the Act, This is as a result of the following reasons: Poverty: The issue of poverty is at alarming stage and has eaten deep into the fabrics of the society. Poor families are unlikely to care for their children and as a result of this they give out their children for child labour, hawking among others.               Secondly, children in Nigeria are still being abused and trafficked into different countries to work or for sexual exploitations and other nefarious acts because of no serious effort by the government to enforce relevant laws prohibiting such offences in Nigeria. Also, the health care facilities available in the country are not adequate. The right to health of the Nigeria child is thereby hardly realizable not because the resources are not available, but because the state has not been diligent in the implementation of these rights. Primary Health care should be given adequate attention through a special funding arrangement of direct charge on the consolidated revenue. Children in Nigeria, lack access to sound medical attentions resulting in the death of many children. One of the major diseases ravaging the Nigerian child is the Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) – a common disease among under-aged girls who are allowed to marry in both the Northern and Southern parts of the country. Reports indicate that aged men still take young girls below the age of 15 as wives, for instance, Senator Yerima’s marriage with a minor; thereby denying them education and exposing them to many risk associated with child delivery at a premature age, one of which is the VVF (Anaba, 2003).

Another preventable disease that has accounted for the death of many children is malaria. According to a report by UNICEF in 2001, malaria remains by far the most common cause of infant mortality in Nigeria. Malaria accounted for over 30 percent of diseases and deaths among Nigerian children  (According to report entitled “Children and Women Rights in Nigeria: A wake Up Call, Situation Assessment and Analysis 2001). Other common diseases that lead to the death among children in the country and their degree of severity are vaccine preventable diseases (VCP). 22 percent, Diarrhea – 19 percent Acute Respiratory Tract infection (ART), 16 percent, Typhoid – 3 percent and others-8 percent (Okumephuna, 2003). Government is not making serious effort towards eradicating these healthcare problems.

Apart from children who die through these diseases there are many others who get physically or mentally scarred for life. And many of such children who are from poor homes also end up being denied education. Observers believe that the future of this generation of children really looks bleak since they are denied the basic necessities of life. It is also feared that in years to come, the over six million children who are out of school (2.5 million of this number are situated in Lagos states) would have become prostitutes, robbers, area boys or unable to earn a decent living. And when a country has a large number of people who are social deviants, it may become very difficult for the society to exercise control over them. (Vanguard, 2005).

 

Effects of the Non-Adherence to the Provisions of the Act.

In Nigeria’s philosophy of education, it is recognized that “every Nigeria child should have a right to equal educational opportunities irrespective of any real or imagined disabilities each according to his or her ability (NPE, 2004). Already as a result of inadequate provision, there is now an increase in children’s level of involvement in crime. Media reports indicate that most of the violent crimes committed in Nigeria today are carried out by either young adults or teenagers. One media source citing the police reported that three out of every 10 criminals arrested in the big cities of Lagos, Ibadan, Kano and Onitsha are under the age of 18 (Anaba, 2003).

                These young criminals often use powerful firearms including machine guns and tend to be ruthless in their operations, terrorizing communities, hijacking vehicles at gun point and often shooting to kill in the course of conducting robbery attacks or hijacks. A reflection of this state of urban quasi-anarchy is the prevalence of such groups as the area boys in Lagos, the Yandaba boys in Kaduna, as well as, their other counter parts in other cities, as well as, the touts who operate virtually in all-places of public activities from motor parks to consulates. Given this kind of situation, therefore, many observers and those in government believe that the only way the society’s future can be protected from this type of unfolding anarchy is by formulating a comprehensive set of laws that will cater for the needs of the child. Hence the child’s rights Act of 2003 (Anaba, 2003). Also non-adherence to the provisions of the Act will lead to conflict in homes and schools. There will be increase in dropout rate with the result that the country becomes educationally disadvantaged

 

Constraints on the Effective Implementation of the Act.

The drafted child’s Right Bill was passed into law by the National Assembly in July, 2003. It was assented to by the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in September 2003, and promulgated as the child’s Right Act 2003. (UNICEF, 2007). Since the passage of the child’s Right Act in Abuja, the law appears to have differing levels of acceptance and implementation among Nigerian states: Abuja territory, Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Imo, Jigawa, Kwara, Lagos, Nassarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Plateau, Rivers and Taraba States are areas where the law has been adopted as a state law. However, there are reports that the law has had little true effect on child’s rights across Nigeria due to effective implementation strategies and lack of public awareness and non recognition by some states particularly the Muslim states of the North-West (Representing Children Worldwide, 2005).

The issue of bad or poor economy is another constraint to the implementation of the child’s Rights Act. The economy is so bad that government cannot have enough money to provide the needs of the child. Corruption is another hindrance or obstacle towards implementation of the Act. Even when government provides the money for necessary facilities, they are embezzled.                                          

More so, lack of commitment is another impediment towards the implementation of the Act. The various agencies (national and international) responsible for the implementation of the Act are not leaving up to expectations. The government is not making serious effort towards punishment of offenders. Because there has not been any severe punishment for culprit as a result, the society denies the children their rights. Finally, ignorance among the citizens is another obstacle. Because people are ignorant of the existence of the Act, and as a result, do not know when their rights are being infringed upon.

 

Impact of Government on the Implementation of the Child’s Right Act.                                                                                          

                To enhance effective implementation of the Act, the dignity of the child shall be  respected  at all times.  The impact of government commitment should include the following:

  1. Provisions of freedom from discrimination on the grounds of belonging to a particular community or ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion, the circumstances of birth, disability, deprivation or political opinions should be respected.
  2. No Nigerian  child  should  be subjected  to  physical,  mental  or emotional   injury,   abuse   or   neglect,   maltreatment,   torture, inhuman or degrading punishment, attacks on his/her honour or reputation.
  • Every Nigerian child should entitled to rest, leisure and enjoyment of the best attainable state of physical, mental and spiritual health.
  1. Every government in Nigeria should strive to reduce infant mortality rate, provide medical and health care, adequate nutrition and safe drinking water, hygienic and sanitized environments, combat diseases, and development of primary health care for children,
  2. Provisions for children in need of special protection measures (mentally physically challenged, or street children). They should be protected in a manner that would enable them achieve their fullest, possible social integration, and moral development.
  3. Expectant and nursing mothers should be catered for, and every parent or guardian having legal custody of child under the age of two years should ensure his/her immunization against diseases, or face judicial penalties.
  • Betrothal and marriage of children should be prohibited
  • Child abduction and forced exploitative labour (which is not a right nature), or in an industrial undertaking should also be offences. The exceptions to these provisions are where the child is employed by family members in a work that is of an agricultural or horticultural or domestic in nature, and such a child should not be required to carry or move anything heavy that is likely to adversely affect his/her moral, mental, physical, spiritual or social development.
  1. Buying, selling, hiring or otherwise dealing in children for the purpose of begging, hawking prostitution or for unlawful immoral purposes should be made punishable by long term of imprisonment. Other offences to be considered grave should include sexual abuse, general exploitation, which is prejudicial to the welfare of the child, recruitment into the armed forces and the importation or exposure of children to harmful publications. Government should further preserves the continued application of all criminal law provisions securing the child whether born or unborn.

 

Findings

The findings in this study are summarized as follows:

  1. The Nigerian government is not seriously committed to the implementation of the Child’s Right Act.
  2. The non adherence to the Child’s Right Act by the Nigerian government has affected the Nigerian child adversely.
  3. Lack of fund, corruption, poor economy, lack of commitment and awareness etc are serious obstacles towards the implementation of the child’s Right Act in Nigeria.
  4. The rights of the child are still being abused with impunity
  5. The school curriculum is bereft of issues on the rights of the child.
  6. There is no provision for destitute children.

 

Conclusion

The child’s Rights Act 2003 was enacted to address the problem of child abuse in Nigeria. This move was made in compliance to other international instruments for the welfare and rights of the child to which Nigeria was a signatory. But after seven years since it was enacted, the rights of the child in Nigeria remain ever bleak. Children are still seen on major streets in Nigeria hawking; many children are still out of school and even those who are in school lack qualitative education. Children are still seen begging for alms, and many children are victims of sexual and physical abuse.

The factors militating against the effective implementation of the Act have been identified as the lack of public awareness of the existence of the Act, poor economy, corruption and inadequate implementation strategies. The government and other human rights organizations must therefore ensure that all necessary steps and measures are taken to protect rights of children by enlightening the public on the provisions of the Act. They should also work towards establishing agencies that would be ever ready to accept petitions with respect to the child.

 

Recommendations

On the basis of the findings in this study the following recommendations are made:-

  1. The government   should    be   seriously   committed   to   the implementation of the Act. It should embark on an aggressive campaign to sensitize the public on the existence and provisions of the Child’s Right Act.
  2. Government should work towards the establishment of Juvenile courts where young offenders can be tried and made to serve punishment commensurate with their age.
  3. Government should establish a public child welfare agency which can sue on behalf of a child who is a victim of abuse.
  4. Human Rights Organizations are to assist the government in this task.
  5. The curriculum should be revised to include issues on the rights of the child.
  6. Government should endeavors to send periodically, a team of assessors to various schools. Their job would be to assess the quality of teaching and learning in the school system and make recommendations for improvement.
  7. Government should establish a home for destitute children.

 

 

 

 

References

 

Ajaiyi E. (2006)  “Child Rights in Nigeria: Problem and Panacea” http://www.Sitesunu .adu/ic/a/ums/wp-content/uplands/2006/10/ esther.PDF.

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Anaba, E. (2003) “Why the Child Rights Bill Must be Passed into Law” Vanguard, Friday, 16 May, 2003.

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Okumephuna, C. (2005) “A Case for Children” Guardian, Wednesday, September 7, 2005.

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Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria: A Review of

Government Policy Measures

 

 

BY

 

Barr. Bartholomew S. Okeke, Ph.D

Department of Economics

Nwafor Orizu College of Education,

 Nsugbe

 

 

Abstract

This paper examined the role of Foreign direct Investment in Nigeria and policy measures that can be put in place to allow smooth attraction of the foreign investment in Nigeria such as creating enabling macro-economic environment and friendly monetary and fiscal policy measures. The paper also examined the major initial argument for and against foreign direct investment in Nigeria and other developing countries of the world such as encouraging local industries to benefit from the expertise labour employed in the foreign based firm (argument for) and destroying the local industries through stifling competitors (argument against). The paper as well examined the inhibiting factors that would negatively affect and debar foreign direct investors from investing in Nigerian economic environment. It also reviewed some of the policy measures already put in place by the government to attract foreign investment. The paper finally made some recommendations on how to deal with some of the inhibiting factors so as to encourage foreign direct investors to invest in Nigeria.  These include among others: that the Nigeria government should reach agreement with the creditor nations in the issue of rescheduling her debt and that a good  enabling macro-economic environment should be created to favour not only the local or domestic industries but also the foreign based industries.

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

In the past, the increased interest on the issue of investment liberalization and desirability or otherwise of an international framework on investment policy and rules has been sparked off by the proposal of the developed countries to introduce a legally binding international regime on foreign investment. The need for external capital flows either by donor countries or direct foreign investment occurs when investment exceed the actual savings and also as a result of investment with long gestation of period that generate non-monetary returns, growing government expenditure that are non-tax financed as well as when real savings are lower than the potential savings due to repressed financial markets and capital flights (Essien & Onwiodukie, 1999).

 By definition, foreign direct investment refers to the package of foreign resources, capital reinvested earnings or net borrowing of subsidiaries of foreign companies from their parents companies or affiliates (Njoku, 2015). No doubt the flow of such investment into the developing countries economies always involved the transfer of scarce resources in the form of capital (fund), technology, management and marketers expertise with the sole aim of acquiring a controlling interest in the management of that enterprise without having majority shareholding. It is of interest to note that foreign direct investment (FDI) differs from portfolio investment. This is because in the case of direct investment by the foreign investors, the investors assume management of such enterprises.  Portfolio investment is system of foreign investment whereby final manager or capital owner purchases a basket of securities in such a nation as to reduce the risk of investment and ensure maximum return.  That portfolio investment involves a foreign investors.

Generally foreign direct investment may not wholly benefit the host country and that is the reason why host countries should adopt a strategy that strikes a reasonable balance between using foreign direct investment on the one hand and other forms of capital flow on the other  hand for achieving economic growth and development.  The central reason for striking such a balance is due to obvious reason that enterprises financed by foreign investors are usually foreign controlled and such practice is usually to make the enterprise operations to deviate from the economic and development goals of the host economy.

Thus a foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment in the form of a controlling ownership of a business in one country by an entity based in another country. It is thus distinguished from a foreign portfolio investment by a notion of direct control. The origin of the investment does not impact the definition, as an FDI: the investment may be made either “inorganically” by buying a company in the target country or “organically” by expanding the operations of an existing business in that country.

Broadly, foreign direct investment includes “mergers and acquisitions, building new facilities, reinvesting profits earned from overseas operations, and intra company loans”. In a narrow sense, foreign direct investment refers just to building new facility, and a lasting management interest (10 percent or more of voting stock) in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor. FDI is the sum of equity capital, long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in the balance of payments. FDI usually involves participation in management, joint-venture, transfer of technology and expertise. Stock of FDI is the net (i.e. outward FDI minus inward FDI) cumulative FDI for any given period. Direct investment excludes investment through purchase of shares.

FDI, a subset of international factor movements, is characterized by controlling ownership of a business enterprise in one country by an entity based in another country. Foreign direct investment is distinguished from foreign portfolio investment, a passive investment in the securities of another country such as public stocks and bonds, by the element of “control”. According to the Financial Times, “Standard definitions of control use the internationally agreed 10 percent threshold of voting shares, but this is a grey area as often a smaller block of shares will give control in widely held companies. Moreover, control of technology, management, even crucial inputs can confer de facto control”.

 

The Trend of Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria

Generally, the real foreign direct investment in Nigeria over the years has been unstable. For instance,  it rose from $534.8 million in 1970 to $841.9 million in 1973. It later fell down by 40.4 percent in 1974 ($501.9) million. It later rose by 48.5 percent ($745.1 million) in 1975. However a decline of 21.7 percent was recorded in 1995. In 1977 it increased to 21.6 percent ($709.2). By 1980 Nigeria recorded a negative foreign direct investment of $67.5 million which represented 7.9 percent decrease from 1979 and the decline continued throughout 1984. The foreign direct investment increased in the oil industry since it accounted for a greater percentage of foreign direct investment (Essien & Onwuduiokit, 1999). Interestingly, foreign direct investment has been on the increase following the adoption of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in 1986 and subsequent liberalization of certain aspects of the Nigeria economy.

This increase did not include the year 1990 when a decline of 68.6 percent was recorded.

Ekpo (1996) stated that “empirical studies have identified the major causes of decline in Nigeria foreign direct investment at that period to economic crisis, decline productivity, reduced capacity utilization and other measures especially policy reversal that sent signals of uncertainty to potential investors”. Since the year 2000 to present period there was a sharp decline in the foreign direct investment in Nigeria and even portfolio investment as a result of insecurity conditions prevalent in the country resulting from the Boko Haram activities and other militant groups that signal the foreign investors that Nigeria environment is no longer conducive for their investment.   For instance, the activities of the militants in the south-south and Boko-Haram in the North East have in no small measure affected  both foreign direct and portfolio investment in Nigeria as the investors usually entertain the fear of either being kidnapped or have their businesses destroyed.  This no doubt has negatively affected the economic growth and development of Nigeria.

However, the total value of foreign direct investment into Nigeria in the first quarter of 2016 increased by 24.54 percent according to a recent report. Foreign Direct Investment recorded a quarterly increase of $123.16 to $ 174.46 million during the period (National Bureau of Statistics).

 

 

 

 

Theoretical Framework

This study is anchored on the Hymers theory of foreign Direct Investment.  Hymer developed a framework that went beyond the existing theories, explaining why this phenomenon occurred, since he considered that the previously mentioned theories could not explain foreign investment and its motivations. Facing the challenges of his predecessors, Hymer focused his theory on filling the gaps regarding international investment. The theory proposed by the author approaches international investment from a different and more firm-specific point of view. As opposed to traditional macroeconomic-based theories of investment, Hymer stated that there is a difference between mere capital investment, otherwise known as portfolio investment, and direct investment. The difference between the two, which will become the cornerstone of his whole theoretical framework, is the issue of control, meaning that with direct investment firms are able to obtain a greater level of control than with portfolio investment. Furthermore, Hymer proceeds to criticize the neoclassical theories, stating that the theory of capital movements cannot explain international production. Moreover, he clarifies that FDI is not necessarily a movement of funds from a home country to a host country, and that it is concentrated on particular industries within many countries. In contrast, if interest rates were the main motive for international investment, FDI would include many industries within fewer countries.

Another observation made by Hymer went against what was maintained by the neoclassical theories: foreign direct investment is not limited to investment of excess profits abroad. In fact, foreign direct investment can be financed through loans obtained in the host country, payments in exchange for equity (patents, technology, machinery etc.), and other methods. The main determinants of FDI is side as well as growth prospectus of the economy of the country when FDI is made. Hymer proposed some more determinants of FDI due to criticisms, along with assuming market and imperfections. These are as follows:

  1. Firm-specific advantages: Once domestic investment was exhausted, a firm could exploit its advantages linked to market imperfections, which could provide the firm with market power and competitive advantage. Further studies attempted to explain how firms could monetize these advantages in the form of licenses.
  2. Removal of conflicts: conflict arises if a firm is already operating in foreign market or looking to expand its operations within the same market. He proposes that the solution for this hurdle arose in the form of collusion, sharing the market with rivals or attempting to acquire a direct control of production. However, it must be taken into account that a reduction in conflict through acquisition of control of operations will increase the market imperfections.
  3. Propensity to formulate an internationalization strategy to mitigate risk: According to his position, firms are characterized with 3 levels of decision making: the day-to-day supervision, management decision coordination and long term strategy planning and decision making. The extent to which a company can mitigate risk depends on how well a firm can formulate an internationalization strategy taking these levels of decision into account.

Hymer’s importance in the field of International Business and Foreign Direct Investment stems from him being the first to theorize about the existence of Multinational Enterprises (MNE) and the reasons behind Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) beyond macroeconomic principles, his influence on later scholars and theories in International Business, such as the OLI (Ownership, Location and Internationalization) theory by John Dunning and Christos Pitelis which focuses more on transaction costs. Moreover, “the efficiency-value creation component of FDI and MNE activity was further strengthened by two other major scholarly developments in the 1990s: the resource-based (RBV) and evolutionary theories” (Dunning & Pitelis, 2008) In addition, some of his predictions later materialized, for example, the power of supranational bodies such as IMF or the World Bank that increases inequalities (Dunning & Piletis, 2008).

 

 

 

 

Types of FDI

  1. Horizontal FDI arises when a firm duplicates its home country-based activities at the same value chain stage in a host country through FDI.
  2. Platform FDI Foreign direct investment from a source country into a destination country for the purpose of exporting to a third country.
  3. Vertical FDI takes place when a firm through FDI moves upstream or downstream in different value chains, i.e., when firms perform value-adding activities stage by stage in a vertical fashion in a host country.

 

Methods

The foreign direct investor may acquire voting power of an enterprise in an economy through any of the following methods:

  • by incorporating a wholly owned subsidiary or company anywhere,
  • by acquiring shares in an associated enterprise,
  • through a merger or an acquisition of an unrelated enterprise,
  • participating in an equity joint venture with another investor or enterprise.

 

Forms of FDI incentives

Foreign direct investment incentives may take the following forms:

Governmental Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) use various marketing strategies inspired by the private sector to try and attract inward FDI, including diaspora marketing.

  • By excluding the internal investment to get a profited downstream.

 

Classifications of Foreign Direct Investment

Anyanwu (1993) and Udu (2015) at different periods classified direct foreign investment as to include the following:

  • Export – oriented foreign investment
  • Market – developing foreign investment
  • Government – initiated foreign investment

Export- oriented foreign investment arises in a situation where the foreign investors usually seek for new sources of inputs like component parts, raw materials and even the finished goods. Thus they look for diversified sources of raw materials which can be sold in markets where their investments are. This form of export-oriented foreign investment in Nigeria can be found in the areas of petroleum industry where the American Multinational Corporations contract crude oil that can be sold to their parent companies in the United States.

The Market – Oriented direct foreign investment is based on the production of goods wholly for the host country’s market. This type of direct foreign investment depends on the host country’s ability to manage the economy and its future prospect. Based on this, therefore, economic policies such as tariffs, taxes, subsidies and general degree of openness of the economy (liberalization) are required for such investment to thrive efficiently and profitably. A clear look at the majority of foreign direct investment will suggest that they are of this form – market oriented.

Government imitated foreign investment arises in a situation where the host country is the prime mover or the imitator by providing incentives that will attract such investment such as providing subsidies to foreign investors.  No doubt, these incentives make the investment to be attractive and such incentives include prohibitive import restriction, preferred access to foreign exchange, tax concessions, subsidized interest rates, income tax relief, tax relief, tax holidays and pioneer industries scheme.

 

Roles of Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria

Foreign direct investment which involves the process of acquiring ownership of assets for the purpose of controlling the production, distribution and other activities of a firm in another country plays a very important role in Nigeria and even in other developing countries of the world. These roles of foreign direct investment in Nigeria include:

 

Employment Generation: Foreign direct investment offers employment opportunities to two categories of people. First are the people directly employed in the foreign direct investment companies. Second are those people working in the servicing companies. Thus it offers employment directly and indirectly to the people of host countries like Nigeria. The involvement of the citizens of the host country – Nigeria, for example, in the management of positions leads to improvement in the quality of labour.

 

Labour Compensation:  Multinational corporations or companies usually use higher pay to attract highly-skilled local workers and enhanced quality productivity. Better incentives may also be used to reduce staff turnover and thus reduce the risk of their productivity advantage spilling over to competing firms.

 

Reduction of Environmental Problem: Foreign direct investment can help to achieve sustainable development in Nigeria (host countries) by reducing certain environmental problems. This results from the ability of the Multi-national companies accessibility to modern and environmental friendly technology. More so, the immediate community can benefit from the corporate social responsibility activities of the Multinational Corporations or companies.

 

Backward Linkage Advantage: Local or domestic firms in the host country – Nigeria can benefit from the inflow of foreign direct investment. The benefit may be through engagement in sub-contracting arrangement with foreign owned firms and of skill transfer, especially when employed workers who have acquired experiences from the foreign based as Batra and Tan (2000) stated.

 

Increases Government Revenue: The tax revenue obtained or charged on the foreign direct investment can as well increase the federal government revenue with which it can use to improve the social economic development of the country.  This benefit can only be actualized by making the tax system in Nigeria – the host country to be attractive and ensuring that the revenue generated from such is channeled towards poverty alleviation in the country.

In summary some of the roles of foreign direct investment include thus:

  • it increases some of the fruits of modern scheme and technology in form of technological transfer from the investing countries to Nigeria – the host country.
  • It encourages the foreign entrepreneurs to invest in less developed countries.
  • The remittance of profit brings less pressure on balance of payment as compared with portfolio investment.
  • It encourages the less developed countries like Nigeria to invest in ancillary industries servicing industries.

 

Inhibiting Factors for Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria

Nigeria has an extensive market for manufactured products and the allied services produced by foreign investors through her large population size. In the same way she is well endowed with many rich natural resources comprising solid minerals and petroleum products. Though these factors enhance Nigeria’s prospect of attracting foreign direct investment, there are a number of inhibiting factors that may debar foreign investors from investing in Nigeria’s environment.  These include as follows:

 

Current external debt burden  

`Increase in the external debt burden Nigeria generates huge amount of external debt servicing which lead to strain on foreign exchange.  This might in fact affect foreign direct investment in the country. Hence, higher external servicing burden of Nigeria has the tendency of scaring investors away.  This is more because the situation might involve the Nigerian government to impose restriction on profits or dividends or engage in one form of policy that may restrict their activities. Hence, Gussinger and Squire (2016) stated that “through debt rescheduling with debtor nations the debt servicing may be postponed and thus allows foreign direct investment to thrive”.

Infrastructural Development

    Okun (2015) maintained “that the inadequate infrastructural development such as inadequate network of communications, bad roads and interrupted electricity supply are factors that may debar foreign firms from investing in Nigerian environment”. Another aspect of infrastructure that may affect foreign direct firm investment is the financial infrastructure. The financial system in the country should be well developed so as to attract foreign direct investments.

 

Socio-economic Factors

Nigerian government needs to reduce the adverse effect of socio-economic factors in order to better attract foreign direct investments since they are the factors that affect labour productivity directly or indirectly. These socio-economic factors include education, healthcare, safety of private property and individuals, discipline among the populace, democratization, transparency and probity, cost effectiveness and incidence of drug abuse as Oresotu (2014) Stated.

 

Political Instability

A country like Nigeria where there are changes in government may not be found favourable by foreign investors and this may affect the country’s effort to attract foreign investors.  This is because one political party may make policies that may be favourable to foreign investors but only to discover that such policies may be scraped off by incoming another political party. A case in point is the policies of All Progressive Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as regard to foreign investment in Nigeria.

Thus, the point to make here is that a country that is having a system of government that is adjudged to be politically unstable has low prospect of attracting foreign direct investments.

 

Arguments in Support of Foreign Direct Investment

Anyanwu (1993) enumerated the following as some of the arguments that necessitate the rational for foreign direct investment in Nigeria and even in other developing nations of the world. These include:

  • The need to filling the resource gap between desired investment and locally mobilized saving;
  • The filling of the foreign exchange gap (difference between foreign exchange requirements and foreign earnings);
  • The filling of the budgetary gap between target revenue and locally raised revenue (e.g. taxes).
  • The contribution to inadequate managerial personnel;
  • The transfer of technology to Nigeria or the poor LDCs badly in need of it. The ability of the MNCs to establish contacts with overseas banks, market outlets, sources of supply and other institutions, which would otherwise be unknown to the indigenous firms.
  • Their ability to create more jobs and thus ameliorating the unemployment problems.
  • It may contribute to a more efficient market structure or reduce type of monopoly profits that are enjoyed in the form of inefficiency;
  • To fill the gap in entrepreneurship.

 

Argument against Foreign Direct Investment

The argument against foreign direct investment in Nigeria include, though MNCs provide capital, they might diminish domestic savings and investment rates by stifling competition, failing to reinvest much of their profit, generating internal incomes for those groups with lower savings propensities, impeding the expansion of indigenous firms who may otherwise supply them with intermediate goods by their practice of importing these products from overseas affiliates, and imposing high interest costs on capital borrowed by host government (Hipper 2012).

  1. The MNC investment might reduce the long-run foreign exchange earnings on both current and capital accounts despite the initial impact of improving the recipient’s foreign exchange position. The capital account might deteriorate due to the overseas repatriation of profits, interest, royalties, management fees etc. The current account might worsen due to substantial importation of intermediate or capital goods.
  2. While the MNCs do contribute to public revenue in the form of corporate taxes they can also diminish the revenue due to liberal tax concessions, disguised public subsidies, tariff protection, and investment allowances provided by the host government.
  3. The technology, management entrepreneurial skills and overseas contact provided by MNCs rather than developing local sources of these scarce skills and resources might inhibit their development by stifling the growth of indigenous entrepreneurship – due to the MNCs’ dominance of local markets.

 

Review of Policy Measures Adopted By Nigerian Government in Attracting Foreign Direct Investment

 

Nigeria Openness to and Restriction on Foreign Investment

In 1995 the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission Act dismantled years of controls and limits on foreign direct investment (FDI), opening nearly all sectors to foreign direct investment, allowing for 100 percent foreign ownership in all sectors (with the exception of the petroleum sector, where FDI is limited to joint ventures or production sharing contacts), and creating the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) with a mandate to encourage and assist investment in Nigeria (Udu, 2015).  The Government of Nigeria has continued to promote import substitution policy for various reasons.  In the face of dwindling foreign exchange reserve because of lower oil prices, the government helps to reduce demand for foreign exchange. The government believes that trade restrictions and local content requirements will attract investment that would develop domestic capacity to produce and manufacture products and services that would otherwise be imported. 

The import bans and high tariffs used to advance Nigeria’s import substitution goals have been undermined by smuggling of targeted products (most notable rice and poultry) through the country’s porous borders, and by corruption in the import quota systems developed by the government to insensitize domestic investment.  Despite the government stated goal to attract investment, investors generally find Nigeria a difficult place to do business.

 

Law/Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

The NIPC Act of 1995 allows 100 percent foreign ownership of firms, except in the oil and gas sector where investment is limited to joint ventures of production –sharing agreements. The Law restricts industries to domestic investors if they are considered crucial to national security, such as firearms, ammunition, and military and paramilitary apparel. Foreign investors must register with the NIPC after incorporation under the Companies and Allied Matters Decree of 1990. The Act prohibits the Nationalization or expropriation of foreign enterprises except in cases of national interest. Lack of transparency in government and corruption are endemic but the Embassy is unaware of specific instances of interference by the government.

Nigerian laws apply equally to domestic and foreign investors. These laws include the Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Development Act 2010, Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Act of 2007, Central bank of Nigeria Act of 2007, Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005, Money Laundering Act of 2003, Investment and Securities Act of 2007, Foreign Exchange Act of 1995, Banking and Other Financial Institutions Act of 1991, and National Office of Technology Acquisition and Promotion Act of 1979.

 

Business Registration

Nigeria does not have an on-line single window business registration website, as noted by Global Enterprise registration (WWW GER. Co). The Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission maintains an information portal. On average, it takes 12 procedures and 44 days to establish a foreign-owned limited liability company (LLC) in Nigeria (Abuja), slightly faster than the regional average for Sub-Sahara Africa. Time required is likely to vary in different parts of the country. Only a local counsel, chartered accountant and chattered secretaries accredited by the Corporate Affairs Commission can incorporate companies in Nigeria. According to the Nigerian Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, foreign capital invested in the LLC must be imported through an authorized dealer, which will issue a Certificate of Capital Importation. This certificate entitled the foreign investor to open a bank account in foreign currency. Finally, a company engaging in international trade must get an import-export license from the Nigeria customs service.

 

Industrial Strategy

Nigeria’s trade regime remains highly protectionist and distorting with the aim of in sensitising growth in Nigeria’s domestic industrial and agricultural capacity. Nigeria bans the import of poultry, Pork, beef, eggs, cement, textiles, glass bottles and numerous other items in order to protect or encourage domestic production. In addition, the country imposes a combined and valorem import duty (tariff plus levy) of 70 percent or higher on more than 40 tariff product lines including tobacco products, rice, wheat flour, sugar, salt and new passenger vehicles, high tariffs on agricultural commodities and import bans aim to spur domestic agricultural sector growth by actively promoting import substitution of staples, including rice, cassava, palm oil, cocoa and cotton.

In October 2013 the government announced the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) as an effort to restart the country’s domestic automotive manufacturing sector, create skilled jobs, develop local supply chains, and reduce automobile imports. The central feature of the NAIDP is a 36% levy assessed on automobile imports, over and above 35% tariff already levied, for an effective total ad valorem duty of 70%. As an additional incentive to promote investment in Nigeria’s auto sector, the NAIDP allows companies that are manufacturing or assembling cars in Nigeria to continue to import two vehicles under the former 35% tariff for every one vehicle produced in Nigeria.          

 

Privatization Program

The Privatization and Commercialization Act of 1999 established the national Council on Privatization – the policy-making body overseeing the privatization of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) – the implementing agency for designated privatizations. The BPE has focused on the privatization of key sectors, including telecommunications and power, and calls for core investors to acquire controlling shares in formerly state-owned enterprises.

Since 1999, the BPE has privatized and concessioned more than 140 enterprises, including an aluminum complex, steel complex, cement manufacturing firms, hotels, petrochemical plant, aviation cargo handling companies, and vehicle assembly plant, electricity generation and electricity distribution companies.  The transmission company remains state-owned, but operated by an international operations and management contractor. Foreign investors can and do participate in the BPE’s privatization process.

 

Tax concessions

  1. Tax relief for research and development (R&D): Here, a company which undertakes R & D activities in a year is entitled to a tax-deductible allowance equal to 120 percent of the amount expended if the research is on raw materials. Also, the fruits of such research could be patented and protected in accordance with internationally-accepted industrial property rights.  The aim is to promote the development of locally-sourced inputs and hence create linkage in the production process.     
  2. Pioneer Status: Companies granted ‘pioneer status’ are entitled to tax holidays on corporate income for 3 years in the first instance, and an extension of 2 years thereafter. To benefit from this incentive, the relevant company (or the product) has to be declared a pioneer industry (or pioneer product) on application to the government. The aim is to encourage the setting up of some industries which the government considers beneficial to the country.
  3. Corporate income tax: Incentives under corporate income tax provisions are usually specified during the annual fiscal budget, which in recent years have been meant to reduce the tax burden on corporate bodies. Thus, the rate of companies income tax rate was reduced from 45 percent to 40 percent on dividends, interest royalties and rents were reduced. There is also the introduction of small business tax relief under which a lower tax rate of 20 percent will be paid by small establishments in the manufacturing, agricultural and solid mineral processing sectors. An additional 10 percent initial capital allowance is granted in respect of new expenditure on plant and machinery used in manufacturing construction, and agricultural production as well as public transportation. However, the introduction of preoperational levy and minimum tax payable by companies (whether profits are payable or not) in 1990 appears to negate these initial incentives, though they do not apply to companies in their first four years of operation.
  4. Tax-free dividends: From 1987 any individual or company deriving dividends from any company is entitled to tax-free dividends for a period of 3 years if:
  5. The company paying the dividend is incorporated in Nigeria;
  6. The equity participation was imported in the country between January 1, 1987 and December 31, 1992; and
  7. The recipient’s equity in the company constitutes at least 10 percent of share capital of the company.

In addition to (a) – (c) above, if the company paying the dividend is engaged in agricultural production within Nigeria or the production of petrochemicals or Liquefied Natural Gas, the tax free period shall be 5 years.

  1. Investment in economically – disadvantaged areas: To promote the even development of Nigeria, some areas have been designated as economically disadvantaged. Thus, the following policy measures consisting of special income tax and other concessions are designed to encourage investors to locate their activities in these areas:
  2. Seven years income tax concession under the pioneer status scheme;
  3. Special fiscal concessions by the relevant state governments; and
  4. Additional 5 percent (later 10 percent) on the initial capital, depreciation allowance under the companies income tax (Accelerated capital depreciation).

 

Government Foreign Policy

The extent to which foreign investment in Nigerian’s economic environment thrive solely depends on Nigeria’s foreign policy regarding to trade with other countries of the world as well as her extent of globalization. Globalization is the growth in international exchange of goods, services, and capital and the increasing level of integration that characterize economic activity (Reyes, 2011 & Ibrahim, 2015). Foreign policy refers to laws regarding to the relations between one country and the other in terms of their economic, social development and other matters. 

No doubt the co-operation between two or more independent states is formalized by way of treaties or other agreements.  These formal inter-state relations or supranational or international structures are determined by the domestic policies or national interest pursued by these countries.    To attract foreign direct investment that will meet the need of Nigerians, there should be a limit on her trade liberation of certain economic activities to avoid stifling her domestic industries.  This is because trade liberalization which is the cardinal investment of globalization ensures that industrialized nations have access to world markets that enhance further industrialization of industrialized countries while incapacitating the industrialized process of the underdeveloped economics (Thornhill, 2016).

 

The way forward

To ensure effective attraction of foreign direct investment in Nigeria, apart from the policies already put in place, the following issues must be addressed properly.

  1. The first is the macro-economic environment which is substantially deregulated but remains vulnerable to instability due to high government fiscal deficit. Hence deviation from such authorities reduces investor’s confidence, intensifies uncertainty and conveys false signals as to the possibility of reversing policies to regulation and control. To this, for instance, the recourse to stringent control measures in 1994 has been acknowledged to have had adverse effects. Hence the way forward here is to be credible, resolute, predictable of policy direction in order to ensure confidence on economic agents. The second is the external debt.  The government should through the Bretton Wood Agreements arrange with debtor nations on debt rescheduling that should be conducive and policies such as Exchange Control Act to allow inflow of foreign direct investment into the country.
  2. Security of life and property. Government should as well create an atmosphere capable of ensuring the safety of lives and properties. The activities of the Boko Haram in the North and Militants group in the South-South should be fought to the last or at least reduced to barest minimum. Government should try to look at the needs of these groups and if possible provide those that are reasonable for their wellbeing and not to the detriment of the economy and people.
  • Government should relax some of her policy measures.
  1. There should be liberalization of certain laws and policies  to create an enabling environment to attract foreign direct investments.  
  2. Finally, government should make laws that safe guard security of lives and properties as this would give an assurance to the foreign investors that their investment will be protected and be operated in a peaceful economic environment.

 

Conclusion

The paper has attempted to examine the policy measures that have been put in place for attracting foreign investors.  The study indicated that Nigerian government should relax some of her policy measures so as to attract foreign investments since no nation can achieve adequate economic growth and development in the absence of foreign investments.

The study concluded that there is the need for liberalization of certain laws and policies that would create an enabling environment for attracting foreign investments and that the government should endeavor  to deal with those inhibiting factors  already stated therein so as to ensure adequate policy measures to attract direct foreign investments.      

 

Recommendations

Since the relevance of macro-economic conditions that reflect opportunities for investment, risk market conditions and rates of return imposes a great challenge to policy makers, the paper, thus recommends that the acquired autonomy of the Central Bank of Nigeria should help in the pursuance of a purposeful monetary and fiscal policies that would make these macro-economic conditions very conducive and adequate for the inflow of foreign direct investment in Nigeria.

The paper also recommends that in addition to the mere quantitative macro-economic impact, Nigeria needs to evaluate other development conditions of the type of foreign direct investment it is attracting.

 

 

References

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Batra, G. & Hong Tan (2000), Inter-firm Linkages and Productivity Growth: Evidence from Malaysian Manufacturing. Washington DC: World Bank.

Deininger, K. Squire (1996), “A New Data Set for Measuring Income inequality”, the World Bank Economic Review, 2(10) 20-25.

Dunning, J. & pitelies, C.N(2008) Stephen Hymer’s Contribution to International business scholarship and assessment and extension. Journal of international Business studies, 39(I),167-173.

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The Impact of World Englishes, new Englishes, Nigerian English and Englishisation on TESOL model in Nigeria

1C. N. Udechukwu, 2S. C. Aboh & 2*N. O. Ahamefula

1School of General Studies, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus

2University of Nigeria, Nsukka Campus

*Corresponding author: ndubuisi.ahamefula@unn.edu.ng

 

Introduction

English has, without doubt, acquired the international status and has become a truly international language. The English language has witnessed a paradigm shift where it does not serve only the native speakers’ intra-national and communal purposes but also serves as a means of international communication (Jenkins, 2003).

In this light, English has come to be learned as a second language or spoken by a large number of people. With about 7 billion people in the world, 2 billion people are said to have English knowledge (Graddol, 2007). Similarly, Kirkpatrick (2007) highlights that statistics from various sources also show that the number of non-native speakers has significantly outnumbered that of native speakers. This made several scholars to argue that the English language has been denationalized (Kachru, 1992; Widdowson, 1994) in which it is not anymore tied to native speakers in terms of linguistic usage. In this connection, Widdowson (1994:385) asserts thus:

The very fact that English is an international language means that no nation can have custody over it. … It is a matter of considerable pride and satisfaction for native speakers of English that their language is an international means of communication. But the point is that it is only international to the extent that it is not their language. It is not a possession which they lease out to others, while still retaining the freehold. Other people actually own it.

 

Over the past few decades, English has become established as an international lingua franca in the sense that it has been increasingly nativized or localized into World Englishes (Kachru 1996). Ozohili (2008) claims that English is a West Germanic language originating in England, and the first language for most people in Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the Commonwealth Caribbean, and the United States of America. She further highlights that it is used extensively as a second language and as an official language throughout the world, especially in Commonwealth countries and in many international organizations.

However, the multiple varieties and the different functions of English across the globe have led to many issues and concepts. Some of these concepts include: World Englishes, New Englishes, Nigerian English and Englishisation. These concepts are looked into and a closer look at how they impact on Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL) is attempted.

World Englishes

World Englishes, according to Tweenie and Almeida (n.d.), are the localised varieties of English spoken in different parts of the world. One thing worthy of note is that the concept of World Englishes is the sum of all the varieties/dialects of English spoken around the globe. In his own explanation, Bolton (2004:367) points out:

…there are three possible interpretations of the expression World Englishes. Firstly, it serves as an “umbrella label” covering all varieties of English worldwide and the different approaches used to describe and analyse them. Secondly, it is used in a narrower sense to refer to the so-called new Englishes in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean (Kachru’s outer circle). Thirdly, it is used to represent the pluricentric approach to the study of English associated with Kachru and his colleagues, and often referred to as the Kachruvian approach, although there is considerable overlap between this and the second interpretation of the term.

Expatiating the concept of world Englishes, Kachru (1992) notes that the penetration of English to virtually every part of the world can be categorized into three classical concentric circles: the Inner Circle, the Outer Circle, and the Expanding. For him, The Inner Circle refers to countries where English was originally codified as a linguistic base and is primarily used as a mother tongue or native language (ENL) in every sphere of life. Such countries include the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and some of the Caribbean and Australasian territories. The total number of English speakers in the inner-circle countries and territories around the world, notes Crystal (1997), is estimated to be about 380 million.

On the other hand, in the Outer Circle, English spoken in this circle is often described as English as a second language (ESL), which means that people use English alongside their mother tongue as a second language to officially communicate in several domains or carry out various institutionalized functions. Subsequently, Kachru & Nelson (2000) point out that English used by people in this circle has a long history and developed from colonial eras. The Outer Circle comprises countries like India, Malaysia, Singapore, The Philippines, Nigeria, etc. These countries were once colonized by either the British Empire or the United States. Bamgbose (2001) opines that versions of English spoken by around 500 million in these countries are often referred to as ‘new Englishes’, ‘nativized Englishes’, ‘institutionalized Englishes’ or ‘indigenized Englishes.’

The third and largest circle is called ‘the Expanding Circle’. This circle entails the use of English as a foreign or additional language (EFL) in countries that were not colonized by any English native-speaking countries (Kachru, 1992). Jenkins (2003) is of the view that English, in this circle, has no official role to function within domestic institutions. Countries like Thailand, China, Japan, the Russian Federation, Denmark or France are grouped in the Expanding Circle.

Some of the factors that gave rise to World Englishes are colonialism, trade, marriage, slavery, etc. More so, most of the countries in the world (if not all) strive to speak English because English has turned out to be an international language, which is used in all the sectors of the world.

New Englishes

The simplest definition of New Englishes is that it is the different varieties of English. Virtually all the countries of the world speak English but the structure of their English is different from the other. Even within Europe, we have different varieties like American English, British, Canadian, Australian, etc., which as observed by Crystal (2003) always differ in the domains of grammar, vocabulary, pragmatics, and discourse. Most adaptation in a New Englishes relates to vocabulary, in the form of new words (borrowings – from several hundred language sources, in such areas as Nigeria), word-formations, word-meanings, collocations and idiomatic phrase. There are many cultural domains likely to motivate new words, as speakers find themselves adapting the language to meet fresh communicative needs (Crystal, 2003).

In an attempt to account for the characteristics of New Englishes, Mesthrie (1992:46) demonstrates:

It has developed through the education system (possibly even as a medium of education at a certain level), rather than as a first language of the home.
(b) It has developed in an area where a native variety of English was not spoken by a majority of the population. (c) It is used for a range of functions (for example, letter-writing, government communications, literature, as a lingua franca within a country and in formal contexts). (d) It has become nativised, by developing a subset of rules which mark it as different from American or British English.

There are two major features of New Englishes. First, English is only one of two or more codes in the linguistic repertoire and secondly, it has acquired an important status in the language of such multilingual nations (Foley, 1988). Foley observes that also in functional terms, the ‘new Englishes’ have extended their functional range in a variety of social, educational, administrative, and literary domains. Moreover, they have acquired great depth in terms of users at different levels of society. India, Nigeria and Singapore are examples of countries with ‘new Englishes.’

Nigerian English

Nigerian English is a variety of English that is peculiar to Nigeria. It is one of the varieties of the English language. Jowitt (2001) remarks that the Nigerian English has its own grammar, which cuts across phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. The unique characterises of Nigerian English lies on the level of pronunciation, accents, grammar, vocabulary etc.

Nigeria is a multi-ethnic nation with varied culture and languages. Nigeria has up to 250 ethnic groups with about 450 distinct languages (National Population Commission (NPC)). Uguru (2008) on the multiplicity of the Nigerian nation, observes that Nigeria is made of many linguistic groups totalling between four and five hundred with three language groups (Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa) standing out amongst them.

Nigeria was colonialized by the British and the English language was introduced during this period of colonialism. The kind of English Nigeria speaks is quite different from that of the colonial masters. Due to the fact that it is peculiar to Nigeria, it was tagged: Nigerian English. Ozohili (2008) explains that Nigerian English is the variety of English that has been used in the region of the Niger, West Africa, for the purposes of trade since at least the 18th century, at missions since the 19th century, and increasingly in education, administration, the media, and the 20th century workplace, especially since the formation by the British of a unified Nigeria in 1914.

Nigerian English is a variety of English, which has often been suggested to differ significantly from other varieties of English, especially in the area of prosody. It differs both in grammar and structure of other varieties of English.

Englishisation

Englishisation is the concept used to explain the effect of English on another language. As Kachru (1994:131) points out “one dimension of Englishisation” is that of “code-mixing and code-switching, with English as one of the components.” For Sun and Jiang (2000:105), “the borrowing of words from other languages into Chinese from 1979 to 1988 was 4.5 times higher than the amount of borrowing from 1949 to 1978, and over 80% of the recent loan terms are from English.” The languages in Nigeria are not left out.

The rapid rate of globalisation and introduction of new terms have affected Nigeria’s indigenous languages to a very high extent. In the Igbo language of the Eastern Nigeria, borrowed words that have its origin from English abound. Some of them include: buredi ‘bread’, komputa ‘computer’, bọketi ‘bucket’, elevetọ ‘elevator’ etc.

Zhichang (n.d.) notes that the current issues of Englishisation are closely related to economic globalization. Indeed, continues Zhichang, it is not surprising that the equivalent of the economic globalization in the current linguistic domain is Englishisation. However, Englishisation has its effects on a language. One of these effects is that it negatively influences the culture of a group, their language system and their mode of thinking. In actual production of native language, instances of code-switching, transliteration etc.

The impact of World Englishes, New Englishes, Nigerian English, and Englishisation on TESOL model in Nigeria

Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL) is a programme mapped out that will help students of other languages to learn English effectively. In Nigeria, the TESOL headquarters is located at Lagos. Therefore, the impacts of World Englishes, New Englishes, Nigerian English, and Englishisation on TESOL model in Nigeria include:

  1. They will enable teachers to teach the students the standard variety of English, which is the Received Pronunciation so that they can effectively speak if they should see themselves in Britain. Similarly, it has behoved teachers of TESOL to conduct needs analysis on the language needs of students before commencing the teaching process. This is needed because different students might have different needs. Some will prefer learning the Received Pronunciation whereas others will prefer to be taught the Canadian variety.
  2. More so, its impact on TESOL model in Nigeria is that it will create room for learning of different varieties of English so that at any given variety the students encounter, they would be able to communicate freely. As Modiano (2009:59) acknowledges: “An understanding of the diversity of English, for production as well as for comprehension, makes one a better communicator.” Matsuda (2003) points out that limited exposure to varieties of English may cause learners to resist linguistic variations or form the ideas of confusion when they encounter different types of English uses and users in authentic contexts.
  3. On the aspect of Englishisation, the impact on the model will be to ensure that the students are not leaving their mother tongue and their indigenous cultures for that of English.
  4. Language learners should be made aware of the sociolinguistic and sociopolitical profiles of English, e.g., the spread of English in the world and its consequences; the ownership of English; the notion of Standard English; a distinction between the use of English in a monolingual society, as opposed to a multilingual society.
  5. The major concern of the implementation of world Englishes into language pedagogy seems to be the difficulty in searching for and developing materials for the teaching of world Englishes (e.g., world Englishes pronunciation and conversation audios). Due to the advancement of information technology, many Internet sources offer millions of speech samples of speakers around the globe who have different tongues of English. Teachers can take the advantage of this technological availability by incorporating authentic audios of world Englishes available on hundreds of online sources (e.g., news, radio, films) into classroom materials so that students will have an opportunity to have their repertoire internationally expanded, to be exposed to wider varieties of English. Thus, TESOL model in Nigeria should embrace technology in teaching world Englishes to students.

Conclusion

Language is susceptible to language variation and change. The end product of language variation is the emergence of different dialects. As English gains wider acceptance globally, non-native speakers strike to gain communication skills in English and such desire has resulted in the introduction of Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL). World Englishes, Englishisation, Nigerian English must be handled properly by language teachers so as to teach the variety of English in accordance with the needs of the students.

References

Bamgbose, A. (2001). World Englishes and globalization. World Englishes, 20(3), 357-363.

Bolton, K. (2004). World Englishes. In A. Davies & C. Elder (Eds.), The handbook of applied linguistics (pp. 369–396). Oxford, England: Blackwell.

Crystal, D. (1997). English as a global language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crystal, D. (2003). English as a global language (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Foley, J. (1988). Introduction to New Englishes: The Case of Singapore. Singapore: Singapore University Press.

Graddol, D. (2007). English next. Plymouth: The British Council.

Jenkins, J. (2003). World Englishes: A resource book for students. London: Routledge.

Jowitt, D. (2001). Nigerian English Usage: An introduction. Lagos: Learn Africa Plc.

Kachru, B. B. & Nelson C. L. (2000). World Englishes. In A. Burns & C. Coffin (Eds.), Analysing English in a global context: A reader (pp. 9-25). London and New York: Routledge.

Kachru, B. B. (1992). The other tongue: English across cultures (2nd ed.). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Kachru, B. B. (1996). World Englishes: Agony and ecstasy. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 30(2), 135-155.

Kachru, Y. (1994). Monolingual bias in SLA research. TESOL Quarterly, 28, 795–800.

Kirkpatrick, A. (2007). World Englishes: Implications for international communication and English language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Matsuda, A. (2003). Incorporating world Englishes in teaching English as an international language. TESOL Quarterly, 37(4), 719-729.

Mesthrie, R. (1992). English in Language Shift: The History, Structure, and Sociolinguistics of South African Indian English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Modiano, M. (2009). EIL, native-speakersim and the failure of European ELT. In F. Sharifian (Ed.), English as an international language: Perspectives and pedagogical issues (pp. 58-77). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Ozohili, O. I. (2008). Varieties of English. Enugu: Hillys Publishers.

Sun, H & Jiang, K (2000). A study of recent borrowings in Mandarin. American Speech, 75(1): 98–106.

Tweedie, B. & Almeida, F. (n.d.) World Englishes. Retrieved from www.worldpress.com on 9/10/2016.

Uguru, J. O. (2008). The common Nigerian language. Nsukka: University of Nigeria Press Ltd.

Widdowson, H. G. (1994). The ownership of English. TESOL Quarterly, 28(2), 337-389.

Zhichang, X. (n.d.). Linguistic, cultural and identity issues in Englishization of Putonghua. In K-K. Tam (Ed.), Englishization in Asia: Language and cultural issues (pp. 119-139). Retrieved from www.academia.edu on 10/10/2016.

 

 

 

 

The Role of Music in Education and Politics

 

By

 

  1. ACHU, A. O

Department of Music

Nwafor Orizu College of Education,

 Nsugbe

 

Abstract

Music exists everywhere and in daily activities. People listen to music when driving, studying or relaxing as well as in commercial circles. Music has the ability to move people in many mysterious ways. It is one of the greatest industries in the world. According to International Federation of the Phonography Industry, the music industry sales was $5.8 billion and performance rights revenue is growing the  fastest to $ 943 million (up from $862 million in 2011). In the emerging world, people are exploring different kinds of music to fit their taste. This study discussed the undeniable role of music in education and education as well as in politics.

 

Key Words: Music and Mind, Music and Education, Music and Politics

 

Introduction

Music is the way in which people express and share themselves with others. When people are able to share their opinions with others, Africa musicians can encourage people to try harder and overcome daily life challenges and reach for higher goals. Music can also draw attention to African countries and show citizens in developed countries that Africa is a growing continent not just sad stories for the world to listen to. In addition to the increasing use of the internet, it is easier to spread and create a new movement in music. Apart from record sales, music can draw other kinds of revenue such as concerts, tourist and sales of bund merchandise. The growth in these sectors will create more jobs in the local job market and in Africa as a whole. Besides, the monetary effect of music on the economy, music can also have an effect on people’s mindset (Phong, 2014). Music plays an important role in our psyche and composure. Good music balances our mind and helps build a sensitive and open mind. Bad music on the other hand, drives the psyche into a state of overexcitement; this state of mind is like a closed loop in that it prevents us from accessing our centre, the infinite in us.

A mind that is regularly bombarded with modern music cannot be reached by educational wisdom because it knows no silence, and there is no inner space of rest and quiet contemplation. This in turn leads to shallow thought and lacking understanding of life and the world; such a mind stays at the periphery of things and events.

 

Music and the Mind

The effect of music on the child’s mind can be assessed under two angles: active and passive. We all suffer music passively at certain places: in the café, in the cinema, in the supermarket, in department stores, and nowadays also, in air ports, post offices, public halls and subway stations;  without even talking about nightclubs and discos where loud aggressive music is considered  to be a stimulant.

Walter (2015) opined that “most people never bother about how such music affects their psyche”. He also explained how sensitive he was since his childhood days to the impact of music on his mind and body. The outcomes of his findings were that music causes the following symptoms on organism: restlessness, incapacity to form clear thoughts, strong sweating of hands and feet, anxiety, anger or even  rage, sudden claustrophobia, to mention a few.

Research on sound healing by Goldman (2002) has shown that music directly affects our emotions, our mind and our thoughts. Also, scientific research on sound and memory by Manly (2003) has shown that when two different sound stimuli impact upon our psyche, our subconscious mind will register the underlying stimulus or music, not the dominant one.

GeorgiLozanov (2013), a psychiatrist from Bulgaria, has positively used this specific characteristic of our brain to design a revolutionary method for learning foreign language, originally called “suggestopedia”, and today sold under the brand name “super learning”.

Music and Education

Actively, music plays a role in education, in teaching musical structure, and the notion of time, and how time transforms emotional space. This was even a topic dear to traditional education, at a time when score of reading and playing a musical instrument was still considered good and useful for the education of children from well-to-do families. But, unfortunately, in most countries today, this positive and important tradition has been almost entirely lost, except in costly private institutions for the education of upper-class children.

The reason for this change is probably because of the fact that children today only in rare cases have musical instruments like piano, violin, etc at their own disposal, and most parents find acoustic musical instruments bulky, noisy or too expensive. Most parents do not see the value of sending their children to musical classes. In addition, television has become a replacement for parental care and instruction. The situation now is clearly a major cultural deterioration that shall have consequences on the general education level, and the level of sensitiveness of our whole population.

In the learning sphere, students are put in a relaxed state of mind, seated in comfortable arm chairs, while baroque string music are played over the musical carpet which is the dominant sound,. The teacher recites in the foreign language, as an underlying sound, while the students are told not to listen to the speech, but concentrate on the music, and breathe in the rhythm of the music. With this revolutionary method, people learn difficult languages such Arabic, French, Spanish, Russian or Chinese without any accent in two or three months. Lozano (2003) used the technique originally for teaching, reading and writing to school children and found that, in the regular case, a child would learn to perfectly read and write in about six months only.

The key to fast learning is our subconscious mind, and also our access during self-hypnosis, to the universal library of the collective unconscious where all grammars are stored and a lot more knowledge. Music is instrumental not just in learning foreign language, but in learning of grammar, pronunciation, syntax and all that is needed to speak and understand that language. However, there are music that should be used for educational purposes and those that should not. A loving and caring educator is always alert to protect children from things or activities that are really harmful, while being permissive regarding others. It is the wisdom and experience of a good educator to know where the limits are, and how to distinguish harmful from harmless activities, and to assess potential danger. Any extreme taken when doing such an assessment leads to either accidents that could have been avoided or it renders the child anxious and withdrawn because of overprotection.

Doing a sane education in an insane society is truly a challenge. It requires all our commitment, and it requires constant learning. We can do it only if we have a real passion for education and the wellbeing of children, for if we do not derive an intrinsic pleasure from it, we will not be ready to cash in all the frustrations that inevitably go along with such a professional choice. The profession of the educator is not a place in the sun, and how much less in a society that works counter to sane education, and to sane educators (Harvey, 2008). It is a struggle, but the struggle has a deep meaning for it connects us with the children. For a child, growing up is in most cases not a nice experience, as many people wrongly believe. This is even much truer in the case of gifted children, and it is about those children that this paper is all about for ordinary children have very little interest to invest time and energy over years for learning and mastering a musical instrument.

Experience has also taught me that if children are not really musically gifted, it is a torture for them to learn playing an instrument, for as we know, musical performance requires much sacrifice, consistency, and a basic mastering of stage fright and negative emotion   in the form of recurring frustration. It is only when children experience a genuine enjoyment with music that they build the endurance to master a musical instrument with all that this entails over long period of time. When the child is talented, the child does not need to be much encouraged, as genius has a built-in ability for realizing himself. Another essential benefit of studying music is that children learn musical logic which is pure cosmic logic comparable to mathematical logic, and the child’s mind will gain in clarity and clear communication ability.

In my long years of experience with musical performance and composition, and having met many musicians in my life, I can affirm that among all possible people from all possible cultures I met in my life, musicians are by far the clearest, intelligent and most wistful people, and also the most harmonious people. Their emotional life is balanced. There is another benefit for children who learn a musical instrument: they become more humble, because they learn that all great mastery is to be paid with sweat and tears. While genius certainly is inborn, it needs to be developed through mastery and self-expression, and a lot of persistence. This explains why children who perform early in life are more disciplined, more mature and more sensitive than the average children. They also tend to be more responsible in their daily dealings with others and they understand others better than ordinary children.

In contrast, a child who only plays all daylong and was never exposed to any musical training or instrument, a sport, a computer, or anything else of value, will never attain the brilliance and elegance of children who are on their way to genius. In most cases, these masses of children remain mediocre consumers who regard life as a residual concept, or a set of standard behaviors, without penetrating into the depth of life and soul, and without participating in the cosmic drama of living. That is why learning a musical instrument and getting involved in musical performance as a long-term endeavor is one of the greatest and most intelligent ways of achieving to become a complete human. 

Albert Einstein is a vivid example that comes to mind, as it shows that somebody who loves music and is a brilliant violinist does not need to make a musical career. But, the genius, Einstein is unthinkable being a genial musician as a physicist, and a genial freak in the music. That is the secret of genius, it is not one-sided, but a cosmic inner setup that somehow embraces the whole of creation in one flash of insight that lasts a lifetime.

Music and Politics

The connection between music and politics, particularly political expression in songs, has been seen in many cultures. Although music influences political movements and rituals, it is not clear how or to what extent general audience relate to music on a political level (Abraham, 2004). Music can express anti-establishment or protest themes, including anti-war songs, but pro-establishment ideas are also represented, for example, in National Anthems, patriotic songs, and political campaigns. Many of these types of songs could be described as topical songs. Songs can be used to portray a specific political message. However, there may be barriers to the transmission of such message; even overtly political songs are often shaped by referencing their contemporary political context, making an understanding of the history and events that inspired the music necessary in order to fully comprehend the message.

The nature of that message can also be ambiguous because the label, “political music”, can be applied either to songs that merely observe political subjects, songs which offer a partisan opinion, or songs which go further and advocate for specific political action. Thus, a distinction has been made, for example, between the use of music as a tool for raising awareness, and music as advocacy. Furthermore, some forms of music may be deemed political by cultural association, irrespective of political content, as ‘The Beatles’ were censored by the state in the Eastern Bloc in the 1960s and 1970s, while being embraced by younger people as symbol of social change (Damon, 2009).

Pedelty and Keefe (2016) argue that “it is not clear to what extent the political message in and around music, motivate fans, because it is a catalyst for discussion or function aesthetically”. Popular music can help bring people together to form effective political communities. Recent research by Robin (2009) has suggested that  in many schools, including in modern democratic nations, music education has sometimes been used for the ideological purpose of instilling patriotism in children; and that particularly during  wartime, patriotic singing can escalate to inspire destructive jingoism (Burchill, 2010).

Plato, a great philosopher, once opined that musical innovation is full of danger to the whole state, and ought to be prohibited. When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the state always change with them. This was written as a warning that music is much more than just melodies and harmonies but a much more important movement in the life of all human beings.

Conclusion

                        This paper has carefully elaborated the various ways through which music has enhanced the educational and political horizons of individuals. However, there are lots of untapped potentials from music, of which, this paper has passed the message so as to enlighten the masses on them. It is noteworthy that music not only plays the role of entertainment, but also features in medicine and psychology for the mind, body and soul.  Music plays an invaluable role in education and politics. It plays a vital role in education, as children who are exposed to musical instruments and environments are seen to be more brilliant and better composed than their counterparts who are trained outsides musical environments. Also, in politics, music plays informative and advocacy role, as the masses relay their message to the government  and other relevant authorizes, in most cases, through  music and vice versa.

 

Suggestions

It is quite visible to the blind and laudable to the deaf that the roles music plays in education and politics are invaluable. Nigeria in particular has experienced a lot of calm in its political spheres for years now due to the sanity brought about by peaceful voices of concerned musicians, through songs. Therefore, the following suggestions if implemented wholly will help boost the educational and political sphere of the country via music:

  1. The school authorities should make music a compulsory subject in the 9-3-4 system of education in Nigeria. This will help the students and pupils to harness the viable roles of music properly.
  2. The government should help censor the music that are been released in the country so as to ban those that are anti-productive. This will help reduce the political tension which music sometimes has subjected everyone to. It will also reduce the negative effects of immoral songs on the Youth.
  3. Every parent should endeavor to get at least one musical instrument for every child, as this has been observed to be effective in developing the psyche of children, even adults. Music is really a food for the soul and everyone needs it daily, for emotional and mental sanity.
  4. Musicians should desist from using music to arouse tension in the environment, as music should be informative, educative and a source of soothing relief to the soul of the listener. Let the purpose of music be the message they are relaying and not otherwise.

References

Abraham, F. (2004). Hate music: New recruitment tool for white supremacists. www. word press. org.

Burchill, P. T. (2010). Popular culture and revolutionary theory.http//:www. Marxist org.Retrieved 2016-11-17.

Damon, R. (2009). The politics of hard core punk-hit & Run. http//:www. reason. com. Retrieved 2016-11-17.

Goldman, H. S. (2002). Music in fascist Italy. New York: Norton.

Harvey, S. (2008). Country music U.S.A, 2nd rived. U.S.A: University of Texas Press.

Lozasv, G. (2013). The Oxford history of western music. New York: Oxford University Press.

Manly, E. (2003). The twisted muse. New York: Oxford University Press.

Pedelty and Keefe. (2016). Rock against racism defines Punk politics. The Guardian. Retrieved 16-11-2017.

Phong, P. (2014). The role of music in economic development in Africa. www. Amazon.com/phong. Retrieved 10/11/2017.

Robin, D. (2009). When the music is over. London: Faber and Faber.

Walter, P. F. (2005). The Importance of music in education. www.  creative-c. com. Retrieved 10/11/2017.

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