A Professor of linguistics and Igbo, Abia State University, Professor Ogbonna Onuoha has called on the Federal Government to introduce “Nigerian Languages” as a compulsory general studies (GS) course in tertiary institutions.
The University don, who disclose this while delivering the 52nd inaugural lecture of the University on the topic, “From language wars to multilingualism as a tool of resource sharing in Nigeria” argued that government should put necessary measures in place for pupils and students to register, be taught, and examined in the spoken aspect of a specified number of indigenous Nigerian languages other than theirs.
According to him, “this approach to multilingualism will bring about peaceful coexistence and unity especially among all Nigeria school leavers”, pointing out that it is easier to resolve conflicts among parties who speak and understand each other’s language than among those with exclusive languages.
Professor Ogbonna also made case for the establishment of multilingual radio and television stations in the country, so that people would better appreciate and emulate the benefits of multilingualism rather than its contrived problems.
He further recommended ‘that the current policy or practice where credit level pass in English language is a prerequisite or compulsory for admission of candidates into tertiary institutions, even for non English sensitive courses should be reviewed.
Again, that Tertiary Institutions admission policy should be like that of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) were candidates are posted away from their area, he concluded.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor and Chairman on the occasion, Distinguished Professor E. Uche Ikonne congratulated the inaugural lecturer, Professor Ogbonna Onuoha for the unique and scholarly presentation in igbo language and expressed joy at the response of ABSU academics to research, which have made the institution a beehive of research activities.
As part of the support of the University to the promotion of Igbo language and culture, the Vice Chancellor used the forum to announce on behalf of the senate, scholarship award for the first 5(five) students to register in the Department of Igbo and linguistics.
While thanking the Governor, and Visitor to the University, His Excellency, Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD, for his continued support to the Institution, the Vice Chancellor informed the audience of the partnership the University has established with the Abia State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (ASOPADEC), which will result in the granting of full scholarship to 75 (Seventy Five) students in year one, stating that civilize societies create avenues for scholarship grants to its citizens, and does not lower the standard of education.
He emphasized that ABSU will continue to create and maintain a congenial atmosphere for an uninterrupted academic activity.
On the matter of Sexual harassment in tertiary institutions which dominated the media space recently, the Vice Chancellor stated that the University had long adopted a policy on the matter and encouraged the students to use the various channels including the VC’s dedicated line made available to them to report any case of sexual harassment, assuring them of their protection.
In a vote of thanks, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC), and Chairman, ceremonial committee, Professor O.M ogbulu, appreciated the Vice Chancellor for his numerous achievements in the University, especially his support for the inaugural lecture series, while congratulating the inaugural lecturer, for a flawless delivery and presentation of the lecture in igbo, the first of its kind in the University.
High point was the admittance of the lecturer, Professor Ogbonna Onuoha into the family of “Distinguished Professors” as well as the presentation of a plaque to him on behalf of the Vice Chancellor and the University by a former DVC, Professor A. I Nwabughogu. Other presentation by friends, colleagues, and other groups followed thereafter.