Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - “An advice, ” “a good news”: Errors of Pluralization in Nigerian English

Linguistic imperialism and hegemony is all around us, Prof Emeagwali. It started long ago with the imposition of romanization on Hausa, which turned even the most learned into 'lazy, ba turenchi' illiterates. In this forum, Islam, Hausa, Usman Danfodiyo, Fulani and the Sokoto Caliphate have been talked about at various times. Yet the best sources regarding them tended to be marginalised or even ignored compelely. Some pointers: 

Perhaps, the most well-known books on the Sokoto Caliphate and Sheikh Usmanu Danfodiyo are Last (1967) and Balogun (1975).  But before Last, there was Waziri Junaid's Tarihin Fulani, and after Balogun, there is Shelkh Isa's Daular Usmaniyya. Now, until his death, Waziri Junaid was the acknowledged world authority on the Sokoto Caliphate, and was the custodian of the largest collection of original manuscripts on the Caliphate. How do I know?  Because, as a 17 year-old, I attended a lecture at which Prof. Murray Last, eminent UCL historian and anthropologist, paid tribute to Waziri Junaid as a worthy mentor, teacher and host. Waziri Junaid himself was never even an occasional guest lecturer in any academic circle, although he was a recipient of the Nigerian Nobel  Prize - NNMA. 

Sheikh Muhammad Isa Talata-Mafara, on the other hand, is by all accounts, the most prolific author, translator and commentator on the Sokoto Caliphate today. He's written more than 60 books on the subject, teaches the books of the founders of the caliphate, especially the writings of Danfodiyo, Muhammadu Bello and Abdullahi, in his private institute, as well as interprete these books in one of the longest running radio programmes on the local AM/FM Rima Radio. Sheikh Isa's life is also exemplary - Dalai Lama, TF and the 'Rashiduns' all rolled into one. Here too, Sheikh Isa is nowhere to be found on our university campuses, until recently, that is. 

Early last year, I invited Sheikh Muhammad Isa to our beautiful campus at Sokoto State University, the same campus where TF presented his 'Sokoto Manifesto' in August 2014. Sheikh Muhammad Isa spoke with erudition, elequence and earnestness on the relevance of the Caliphate to today's Nigeria and beyond. Before last year, no one has ever seen the Sheikh deliver a university-wide lecture.  How do I know? Because he asked me about the academic protocol  - ' … read or speak to the paper?'. I urged him to read the paper because of its histrory-making importance. 

Many things stood out as examples of 'Africanizing Knowledge' at that January 2016 lecture. Here are some of them: 

Sheikh Isa Muhammad Talata-Mafara spoke in Hausa before a (mostly) secular gathering of students and scholars across the disciplines. Some of the professors were specially invited as discussants, and they were free to make their contributions in English or in Hausa. One was an econmics professor who wrote his PhD thesis on the economic policies of the Caliphal founders. Another was a Hausaist who has written three unique books (so far) on three of the 30+ women scholars she has identified as writing and teaching in the Sokoto area at the height of the Sokoto Caliphate.  In the audience too were local ulamas, many of whom are seeing inside a university for the first time. (Bear in mind, a university existed in Sokoto since 1975.) That was a first on all fronts.

Anyway, neither the discussants nor the rest of the distingushed audience of malams and professors contradicted the many facinating observations made by the Sheikh. In a discussion of a book on Arabic grammar that Abdullahi Fodio wrote, he pointed out one professor in the audience who wrote his PhD on a section in a chapter in this grammar book!  He was also a regular visitor to the Sheikh's institute. Another observation he made both about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Sheikh Usmanu Danfodiyo was that they were miracle workers, but the Quran and Hadiths, as well as the writings of the Shehu were their greatest miracles, because these works are still relevant and subjects of critical inquiry. He also touched on the contributions of the Caliphal scholars to science and epistemology by identifying and discussing ithe various books they wrote in (especially) Arabic, Hausa and Fulfulde. Many of these books remained outside academic discourse today, principally because they were not written in English, and the underlying epistemology is viewed as 'ahistorical'. 
(Add to this knowledge gap the huge collection of novels and films being produced in Hausa, and then quantify the magnum of loss to our intellectual lives in Sokoto and beyond. I know about the Hausa novels and films, because I participated in the research that led to the establishment of the Furniss Collection at SOAS, the largest collection of modern Hausa novels at the time in 2002. I also taught Carmen McCain (McCain 2015) in Sokoto, who has done so much to the intellectual study of Hausa 'home videos'.)

The point I'm makng is that by all measures, scholars such as Shekih Muhammad Isa Talata-Mafara should have an endowed university chair in any university (worldwide). Yet, the Sheikh enjoys neither recognition nor salary or fees from official sources. Instead, he's supported, in the (Sufi?) scholarly tradition, by the geneorsity of his students, which he neither expects nor seeks.  

The big Elephant in the Sheikh's room (and in many African habitats), I suspect, is the other form of (English-only) "pedagogical exclusivism,  epistemic isolationism, educational apartheid, linguistic imperialism and hegemony", perpetuated by a system unwilling to see the potential of multilingualism in addressing the knowledge deficit in our one-dimensional thinking and myopic acts of 'neo-orientalism'.

I may be wrong.

Malami


Prof Malami  Buba
HUFS, Korea

On 19 Mar 2017, at 10:08, Emeagwali, Gloria (History) <emeagwali@ccsu.edu> wrote:

"When I enrolled as an undergraduate at the Bayero University in Kano many years ago, I didn't speak a word of Hausa. There are thousands of undergraduates and professors from other parts of Nigeria in northern universities who don't speak Hausa." Kperogi



As far as I know, there are lots of  Hausa language tapes  and  grammar texts,  available for people to learn the language -  not to  mention numerous  Hausa speakers.


Pedagogical exclusivism,  epistemic isolationism and  educational apartheid  take place when you prioritize English as being  the only possible language on the planet for instruction. Add to these wonderful  concepts, linguistic imperialism and hegemony -  of a former colonizer.


 You don't have to be Hausa to speak the language,  no more than you have to be Chinese to speak   Chinese,  as your post implies, somewhat. The same applies for all  local languages. Professor Buba can choose to specialize in English-  but that does not negate the essential fact that local languages, including Hausa, can be effective and desirable vehicles of instruction at various levels, along with,  or,  instead of, English.  It is not about you or me,  but about foundations for the future in terms of development and communication strategy.



I  find Olayinka's bilingual and trilingual models innovative and attractive.








Professor Gloria Emeagwali
Gloria Emeagwali's Documentaries on
Africa and the African Diaspora
8608322815  Phone
8608322804 Fax



From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Farooq A. Kperogi <farooqkperogi@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2017 9:15 PM
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - "An advice, " "a good news": Errors of Pluralization in Nigerian English
 

On Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 12:45 PM, Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:
My own take, which I argued in Sokoto where I told them to use Hausa to teach all disciplines at the university level, is not about the ability or otherwise to use correct English but how best to access and use knowledge.

That's extreme pedagogical exclusivism, and it's a recipe not just for dialogic catastrophe on northern Nigerian university campuses but for unwarranted epistemic isolationism. This suggestion assumes that everyone (students and professors) at Usmanu Danfodiyo University--and other far northern universities--is Hausa. That's flat-out inaccurate. When I enrolled as an undergraduate at the Bayero University in Kano many years ago, I didn't speak a word of Hausa. There are thousands of undergraduates and professors from other parts of Nigeria in northern universities who don't speak Hausa. Are you suggesting that non-Hausa-speaking Nigerians have no place in universities in the far north?

If your suggestion is executed, several southern professors in northern universities (and they are many) would be fired since most of them can't teach in Hausa. More than half of the senior professors in my department in BUK were from the south. Why should money from the federation account fund this de facto educational apartheid? 

Would you go the whole hog and suggest that every university in Nigeria should instruct its students in the local language of the community in which it'situated? How practicable is that? Or is this recommendation exclusive to Hausaphone Nigeria? If yes, why should Hausa-speaking Nigerians be treated differently from the rest of Nigeria?

There are just so many problems with this suggestion. For me, it's an indirect way to say Hausa-speaking Nigeria should secede from Nigeria since English is the adhesive that bonds together the disparate fragments of Nigeria.

Farooq





Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Journalism & Emerging Media
School of Communication & Media
Social Science Building 
Room 5092 MD 2207
402 Bartow Avenue
Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw, Georgia, USA 30144
Cell: (+1) 404-573-9697
Personal website: www.farooqkperogi.com
Author of Glocal English: The Changing Face and Forms of Nigerian English in a Global World

"The nice thing about pessimism is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised." G. F. Will

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