International Human Rights Opinion Pieces by Yakub Yahaya

Hello Everyone,

So for this blog post and probably the next one or two, I’ve decided to try something a bit different. I’m posting an opinion piece from a fellow classmate of mine, Yakub Yahaya. As an assignment for our International Human Rights Advocacy class, were were required to submit an Op Ed to an online news source. Yakub has actually gotten one of his pieces published, but wanted to share more! I hope y’all enjoy his work, as he is extremely knowledgeable! If you would, leave comments and I will pass on to Yakub!

His pieces are titled Re-attemping a Failed Route and The Dying Future of Indigenous African Language.

Re-attempting a Failed route

These international rights are clearly stated for self-actualization but the question goes thus “Does Biafrans have what it takes to secede? This question was answered by the main founding founder of the Biafran ideology General Odimegwu Ojukwu who answered after being questioned if another attempt to secede is possible? He frankly answered that a resurrection of the ideology of “Biafra” would be a stupid decision. This response was seconded by the French government who use to be a close old ally of the Biafran ideology in the 1967 secession bid through the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer in his saying that goes thus “French government would never work with any group agitating for secession in Nigeria”. This shows how much unification within the country is being encouraged by the international community as shown between the Catalonians and the Spanish government which means the Biafra agitators would not be an exception.

The British Government had in March 1967 advised some Igbo leaders not to push their grievances to the point of secession because of the risk involved. Britain made it clear that if Gen Ojukwu secede, it-among other countries would not recognize his government. Gen Ojukwu rejected the advice of the British Government and sought meditation from President Naseer of Egypt. The request for an Egyptian mediation was made by a special envoy from Eastern Nigeria that came to Cairo during a Five-Nation-African summit, President Naseer was disclaimed to become involved, avoiding meeting the envoy and expressing his support for the continued unity in Nigeria.

The division among the two factions agitating for secession for the same course of Biafra namely Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) agitation for self-determination are unorganized and through selfish interest which was the same instigator of the first attempt of secession that led to the bloody civil war in 1967 resulting to the death of so many Biafrans before General Odimegwu Ojukwu conceded defeat to the Nigerian Government during General Gowon’s regime in 1967. This made General Ojukwu condemn any further attempt to secede as a “Stupid” decision.

We as a nation must resolve to the idea of how we might direct our ideologies to a constructive and developmental view for a better Nigeria. How can we redirect the passion of our spontaneous reactions coming from the corruption and poor governance in the country to ways that are creative instead of a destructive ideology for division? Answering this question collectively would go a long way in helping us define and achieve a common goal for a greater Nigeria.

Written by: Yakub Yahaya

Student: University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA

 

The dying future of Indigenous African Language

Africa known to be the cradle of the world’s civilization possess lots of indigenous language that are slowing going extinct. Great is the power of Language which gives us the ability to communicate and pass information from one person to another. Language stretches across several borders and varies from one community and tribe to another. English being the official language of the world has done so many bad than its actual goal of communication. This article is not for a particular language but as an advocacy for our dying Indigenous African Culture and Language.

African commonly known for its distinctive culture and tradition have been inexistence before the west made their way to the coast of Africa and renamed most of African dynasties. The Trans-Atlantic Trade gave the west the ability to trade directly with Africans as opposed to the Trans-Sahara trade that existed between the Arabians and Africans. This Trans-Atlantic trade sow the seed for Slavery and colonialism that later gave room for the partition and Scramble of Africa in 1884 and 1885 in Berlin, German. This event marked a remarkable event of how the present and future of Africa would be decided without an African representative at the gathering.

This event registered itself as the beginning of the decline in Traditional African Language and culture due to the introduction of western language and culture which was viewed as a better substitute to our indigenous language in Africa. English Language became a compulsory language of communication for colonies under the British rule, which led to the learning and adoption of the British culture.

The history of Language according to the Divine school of thought, their source came from the scriptures revealed in the Old Testament which says in the book of Act 2 verse 4 “ All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak other tongues as the spirit enabled them”. This was the divine origin of language which shows how old language has been and its spiritual essence. This origin shows how powerful indigenous languages spoken in every part of the world like Hebrew, Arabic and other African Languages connects which could be seen in the similarities in words. These languages are known to be powerful in reaching out to the Divine because of their tonal strength that utilizes the whole body through its richness in consonants.

The demise and decline of Language in Africa shows the life expectancy of indigenous languages due to the campaign of English Language that has swept Africa leaving virtually every African in a state of alienation to its traditional culture and language for a foreign language. For example, 9 out 12 Nigerians speak English fluently and rarely speak their traditional language because its seen as a vernacular and less attention is paid to its survival as it screams for survival. Africans abroad rarely speak their language because most of them do not know what their language is all about while others could barely understand it because they are either shy to speak them or choose not to due to the inferiority complex they believe African Language depicts but hoping to learn. During my Presentation at the African Student Union Association at a school in the United States on the essence of Language to Africans, only about 5 out of 30 students speak their indigenous African language which shows how little attention is paid to the survival of African cultures and language.

Our Indigenous African Language have paved way for peace and communal co-existence among varieties of communities before the advent of the British colonialism. Problem solving skills and rich tonal use of our language was richly adopted in trading and other means. Many Linguists have proven the fact that native speakers who speaks an indigenous language before English language are more intelligent and creative than ordinary English speakers because it was learnt that traditional language speakers can easily connect their Right cerebrum and Left Cerebrum that both represent the emotion and words effectively and creatively than English speakers. Linguist believe that the power to adequately using language to its fullest requires the participation of certain part of the body connecting to the brain. For example, the left hemisphere is dominant in language: processing what you hear and handling most of the duties of speaking. It’s also in charge of carrying out logic and exact mathematical computations. When you need to retrieve a fact, your left brain pulls it from your memory while the right hemisphere is mainly in charge of spatial abilities, face recognition and processing music. It performs some math, but only rough estimations and comparisons. The brain’s right side also helps us to comprehend visual imagery and make sense of what we see. It plays a role in language, particularly in interpreting context and a person’s tone. Linguists hold that those with indigenous language background can easily make use of these two sides of the brain to speak into existence.

The rebirth and advocacy for strengthening the future of African languages should be enforced to preserve our dying culture by enforcing a strict law toward its importance in our educational system as a requirement, because no one gets into a foreign school without fluency in English Language which must be adopted in our continent too for its survival. Every African country should also adopt the translation of most National sign and Anthems in different traditional languages to encourage participation and zeal to understand various language spoken in their place of heritage. The African hip-hop world is leading the race in singing and rapping with indigenous languages which seem to be making strong impact across the borders of Africa but the governments should also follow and empower this race to saving African Culture and language against this colonial culture and language that has alienated our people from its culture.

“Our Culture and Tradition is all we have as Africans against these alienating cultures and language”

 

Written by: Yakub Yahaya

Student: University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA

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