The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Institute of Nigerian Languages in Aba, Abia State, Professor Francis Egbokhare described the country’s more than 500 languages as an asset that should be used to strengthen the diversity of the country.
Speaking in Aba at the council’s 27th regular meeting recently, Egbokhare, a linguist, highlighted the council’s interest in seeing the institute exercise its statutory degree-granting mandate. He also reiterated the institute’s appeal to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund to support it with intervention funds.
A Thursday statement from NINLAN’s head of information, protocol and public relations, Chris Nwankwor, quoted Egbokhare as saying, “Language is an asset and what we need to know is how to use that diversity to our advantage. . So the language is not the problem. It’s his management, the politics and the political process. It is the political framework that makes diversity an asset or a problem. For us as Nigerians, I think we have to take advantage of this diversity.
Egbokhare, who is a former president of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, regretted that Nigerians have long focused on the negative side of multilingualism.
He added: “We are redirecting the energy to look at the potential and benefits of the language. We are moving towards a new logic of looking at the needs of the country and seeing exactly how language can fit into business, safety and security and catalyze development.
Regarding NINLAN’s quest to be funded by TETFUND, he said, “What we need to do is find a creative partnership that will allow us to get funding from TETFund and we are working on that.”
The statement added that during the meeting, three scholars were elevated to the rank of full professors, bringing the number of full professors appointed by the institute to four. Two Principal Deputy Registrars, two Lecturers, two Deputy Registrars and a Principal Deputy Registrar were also promoted.