By Elizabeth Uwandu
The Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Gashua , Prof. Andrew Haruna, has stated that the plurality of languages in Nigeria ought to not to be a tool for division, but rather be a plus to our existence and development.
Prof. Haruna, who was the Guest Speaker at annual distinguished lecture tagged, “Beyond linguistic pluralism and leveraging diversity: Linguistic issues and national integration in Nigeria”, organised by the Faculty of Arts, Lagos State University, Ojo, noted that the lack of political will was responsible for the use of derogatory words that fueled disintegration.
His words: “There are over 7,000 languages in the world, over 2,000 are in Africa and Nigeria has over 500, by implication, we are the third largest linguistic nation in the world. So, Nigeria is not only rich in oil, we are also rich in language.
“ Nigeria must get rid of dehumanising terms which we call one another. And the elite must also consciously eschew promoting mundane issues that divide us this is because knowledge and education cut across boundaries, ethnicity and religion,” the VC said.
Earlier in his speech, the VC LASU, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun, said the topic was in sync with current the realities in the country.
“One of the critical things that Nigeria is chasing now is national integration. And from time to time, you see ethnicity and religion being thrown in to divide the nation. What the Faculty of Arts is doing this morning is to bring about a situation where that same ethnicity can bring about national development,” he said.
For the chairman of the occasion, Hon. Sunny Ajose,”Today we are going to have a show of knowledge on how we can make use of the endowment that God has given us to develop our nation. This is a time where we need to come together and build a nation. To build a nation, it means we must understand ourselves and harness our cultural values. And if we can take good advantage of our own diversity, we can progress at a faster rate that we think.”