Inclusive Democracy in Nigeria: The Roles of the Indigenous Languages

  • Eucharia Okwudilichukwu Ugwu Department of Arts and Social Sciences Education, University Of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Keywords: Nigerian indigenous languages, language right, human rights, language diversity, language and exclusion

Abstract

Language is like a chord that binds people together. However, when language issues are not properly handled, they can cause exclusion and division, especially in highly multilingual societies like Nigeria. Thus, language rights are now recognised globally as aspects of human rights. As a dominant and official language in Nigeria, English hastended to exclude many citizens from full participation in developmental activities and life opportunities due to limited access to it. This is irrespective of the fact that one major justification for its promotion, as against the indigenous languages, hinges on the rhetoric of national unity. Unity can hardly be achieved in an atmosphere of marginalisation and widening inequality gap. Given the multilingual and multi-ethnic status of Nigeria, respecting the language rights of the different ethnolinguistic communities is indispensable for mutual and peaceful co-existence and enhanced quality of life. This paper highlights the important roles the indigenous languages could play in making Nigeria a truly plurilingual nation bound by respect for human lives and values, equity and tolerance.

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Published
2020-06-30
How to Cite
Ugwu, E. O. (2020). Inclusive Democracy in Nigeria: The Roles of the Indigenous Languages. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 16(17), 48. https://doi.org/10.19044/esj.2020.v16n17p48
Section
ESJ Humanities