I read an article on Page 9 of Blueprint of Tuesday, November 2, 2021, written by one Malam Rijiyar Lemo about the interview granted to Arise Television on October 30, 2021, by Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano state for eight years. I am not a political fan of Kwankwaso even though we were asked to vote for him in 1999.
Late Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi had requested all his followers to vote for PDP including President Olusegun Obasanjo and Kwankwaso. That was the only time we voted for Kwankwaso (1999-2003).
I carefully assessed the whole piece which was meant to portray Kwankwaso as being poor in English Language. Malam Rijiyar Lemo was called by his friend from Lagos who was disturbed by Kwankwaso’s poor grammatical expression, considering his presidential ambition.
To Malam Lemo and his friend in Lagos, this won’t be possible as English is the official language of Nigeria and anybody who aspires to be president of Nigeria must be fluent in English to appease the former colonial masters. I don’t know whether spoken English is the only criterion that makes one to be a leader in his own country.
I recall my former lady teacher in 1971, when we were on teaching practice at Rumfa Secondary School, Kano. She taught a mathematical order called logarithm. She was a Britton. She was amazed when all of us wanted to master English Language. She wondered because in Britain many of her people there do not care to speak English because to them it is a foreign language as they have their own Indigenous language.
This means there are people from
Britain who do not speak English let alone learn it in school. We in Nigeria consider English as coming from heaven. That is why people like Rijiyar Lemo and his educated friend from Lagos dismissed Kwankwaso’s interview on Arise Television.
To learn and speak English is a must in Nigeria because we were colonised by Britain who left Nigeria since 1960 with their projections that we communicate all our thoughts around the English terminology and the scientific approach to all the duties and obligations of government.
This is has had its consequences as Nigeria cannot innovate anything; even needles have to be imported tackless scientific breakthroughs. People like Rijiyar Lemo must know that Kwankwaso can speak English fluently and that that interview was done hurriedly as people waited for him to plan the activities of the next day, October 31, 2021, for their convention. I have seen and watched the interview and to my understanding, the Kwankwasiyya boss did speak Queen’s English, there was no grammatical error at all.
I also advice Kwankwaso to always prepare what he is going to say with respect to public interviews. I am not his spokesman, but pronunciations differ from individuals and the speech should be seen as a
different perspective in learning English.
Listen (a) hat – heart (b) cat – cart (c) pack – park. So, Mr. Lagos and Malam Rijiyar Lemo, if you are going to be interviewed between you two some subjective differences might occur since your dialect languages are different. The manner Yoruba speak English is different from Hausa. So, Senator Kwankwaso did no wrong. However, he did wrong by singling out his own state to condemn its security network. Governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has done remarkably well in terms of security; even Kwankwaso knows this English is not the tool to make Nigeria great. We have seen it in China, North Korea, Japan and India, all these countries use their own Indigenous languages to get to the moon.
Comrade Ibrahim Abdu Zango
Chairman, Kano Unity Forum,