Linguists, scholars rise against corruption, instability in W’Africa

For seven days last week, Linguists, Language scholars and experts across West Africa converged on the Ojo main campus of Lagos State University (LASU) to find lasting solutions to the challenges of corruption and instability confronting the sub-region and African continent by extension. It was at the 2021 Conference of the West African Languages Congress (WALC) and the Linguistics Association of Nigeria (LAN).



The theme of the seven-day international conference was “Languages, Literature and the Challenges of Instability and Corruption in West Africa.”


Setting to tone of the conference, the President of the Linguistics Association of Nigeria, Prof. Harrison Adeniyi, said the theme of the conference could not have come at any auspicious time than this when the sub-region has become a laughing stock in the comity of nations, especially when it found it extremely difficult to manage both its resources and differences reasonably well.


According to him, despite the calamities that leaders have subjected the citizens to, the insatiable appetite to remain in power without effective and efficient leadership still persists.


“Not only that the commonwealth of these nations are in the hands of a few of the citizens, we have cases where some individuals are now richer than the state, while facilities and social amenities have depreciated.


Leaders make deliberate efforts to cause disaffection among the different communities in their country. Sometimes political leaders consciously promote ethnic discord in order to fulfill their selfish desires,” he said.


Thus, he expressed belief that the annual biennial reunion of the two associations would be used for networking among members for the benefits of the associations and West African Languages, as well as interrogate the theme of the conference.


Adeniyi, a LASU don, also wondered that members of each group tended to identify themselves more with their ethnic group, rather than with their countries, and they remained more loyal to their ethnic groups than their countries.


While saying that with the structures of political parties, which had added to the woes of the regions, political parties in power allocates resources only to people of its areas, he noted that all these had continued to cause disaffection among the different people and helped to increase corruption and instability in West Africa.


Meanwhile, LASU’s Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oyedamola Oke, called on linguists in West Africa to find solutions to the challenges of corruption and instability in the region.


Oke, who lamented the level of corruption and instability in the region, however, noted that instead of uniting the different peoples in the region, languages had continued to fuel unhealthy rivalry and hate, which according to him, had been exploited by certain interests to tear the societies apart while resources were not equitably shared.


The Vice-Chancellor, therefore, asked participants at the conference to seek ways of changing the languages of corruption and instability in the region with a view to preventing continued production and perpetration of associated social practices.


“As you actively examine the theme of this conference, it is expected that you will come up with a framework for a language policy that will not only guarantee free movement and peaceful coexistence in the West Africa sub-region, but will also encourage the socioeconomic, political and religious development of member states,” he added.


Oke, however, sought the establishment of a framework for language policy that would not only guarantee peaceful co-existence in the West Africa sub-region, but also encourage socio-economic and political development.


He added: “The colonial langet African countries has been largely responsible for a worldview that makes us more aware of the cultures, lifestyles among the youth population.


“Language has encoded the strategies that members of any society use to regulate and reproduce that society, to order, control and transmit it to the next generation.”


In his keynote address, entitled: “Put Weight on Top: The Language of Corruption in West Africa,” Adams Bodomo, a Professor of African Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria, said that corruption is a major political, economic and cultural problem in much Africa and the world at large, and constitutes a threat to the stability of the societies involved.

Leave a Reply