PL EN


2015 | 2(5) | 179-193
Article title

RECONCILING THE TWO WEST AFRICAS: MANAGING ETHNIC AND LINGUAL DIVERSITY FOR REGIONAL INTEGRATION

Content
Title variants
Languages of publication
EN
Abstracts
EN
In international politics, language is core in inter-state trust and relationship, and the West African region (or sub-region), which is multi-ethnic, culturally plural and bi- or multilingual in imported languages, may never evolve an integrated region if the diversity is not converted from source of disconnections to source of connections. At best, West Africans have regarded themselves as precolonial kinsmen but post-colonial strangers as a result of the factor of language barriers created in the years of colonial rule. The Yoruba, Ewe, Ashante, Mende, Temne and many more had similarities of languages and cultures and led a regular life of communal conflict and cooperation until the arrival of the French, English, Portuguese and Germans, who established sharp misunderstandings and divisions along the lines of European lingua franca. From a participation-observation experience and perspective, and having consulted literature and government records on futile integration efforts, the study, adopting a functionalist model for analysis, submits that the differences have led to alienation among West Africans since independence, and ECOWAS, despite its spirited commitment to regional integration by the protocol on free movement across the borders, has faced brick-walls from human and social forces engendered by language barriers. This paper looks beyond the artificial linguistic barriers inherent in the bilingual or multilingual character of West Africa, by exploring the richness of the linguistic diversity to advance the cause of regional integration. The paper strongly advocates that local languages spoken across most of the West African states such as Hausa, Mandingo, Peul and Yoruba be taught in primary and secondary schools, while ECOWAS leaders should agree on making English, French and Portuguese compulsory in all secondary schools and higher institutions in their respective countries. These will help demystify and dismantle the artificial linguistic barriers created by the accident of colonialism and make the formal and informal instruments, including ECOWAS towards integration, more functional.
Year
Volume
Pages
179-193
Physical description
Dates
published
2015-12-30
Contributors
  • Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria
  • Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria
  • Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria
References
  • Adetula V.A., ECOWAS and the Challenges of Integration in Africa, [in:] Milestones in Regional Integration, U.J. Ogwu, W.O. Alli (eds.), Lagos 2009.
  • Aja A.A., Selected Themes in International Economic Relations, Ogui-Enugu 2002.
  • Akinbobola B., Regional Integration in West Africa: Challenge for Emergent States, Lagos 2007.
  • Akinterinwa B.A., French Security Arrangements with Francophone Africa: Implications for Nigeria’s Relations with its Immediate Neighbours, [in:] Nigeria and Its Immediate Neighbours: Constraints and Prospects of Sub-Regional Security in the 1990s, B.E. Ate, B.A. Akinterinwa (eds.), Lagos 1992.
  • Asiwaju A.I., Borderlands Research: A Comparative Perspective, El Paso 1983.
  • Ate B.E., The Presence of France in West-Central Africa as Fundamental Problem to Nigeria, [in:] Nigeria and Its Immediate Neighbours: Constraints and Prospects of Sub-Regional Security in the 1990s, B.E. Ate, B.A. Akinterinwa (eds.), Lagos 1992.
  • Ate B.E., Akinterinwa B.A., Cross-border Armed Banditry in the Northeast: Issues in National Security and Nigeria’s Relations with its Immediate Neighbours, Lagos 2011.
  • Bulmer S., Domestic Politics and European Community PolicyMaking, “JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies” Volume 21, Issue 4, June 1983, pp. 349–364.
  • ECOWAS Regional Integration Processes and International Cooperation, “Cooperacion Espanola”, Vol. 4, Madrid, June 2014.
  • Fayomi O., Adeola G.L., ECOWAS and Sub-Regional Integration in West Africa: An Appraisal, “Covenant University Journal of Politics and International Affairs”, Vol. 3 (1), 2015, pp. 7-13.
  • Folarin S., Discovering Nigeria’s Power and Influence in West Africa, “National Mirror”, Lagos, July 2015.
  • Folarin S., Biafran Pound as a Legal Tender in West Africa, “National Mirror”, Lagos, August 2015.
  • Folarin S., Obstacles to ECOWAS Integration, “National Mirror”, Lagos, February 2014.
  • Folarin S., The ECOWAS “Disintegration” Process, “National Mirror”, Lagos, May 2011, p. 12.
  • Gambari I.A., Political and Comparative Dimensions of Regional Integration: The Case of ECOWAS, New Jersey 1991.
  • Murder of 44 Ghanaians: Gambian President Ordered Killings, “Ghanaian Times” 9.08.2007, No. 15, 188.
  • Gowon Y., The Economic Community of West African States: A Study in Political and Economic Integration, PhD Thesis, University of Warwick 1984.
  • Kwanashie M., Historical Perspective on the Scramble for Africa, [in:] New Scramble for Africa, C.E. Osita, C.A. Anigbo (ed.), Lagos 2010.
  • LAAF, The West African Languages, <http://www.laaf.me/en/westafrica/the-west-african-languages.php> (24.08.2015).
  • Lansana G., Review of Africa and the War on Drugs by N. Carrier, G. Klantschnig, <https://sites.tufts.edu/reinventingpeace/2013/01/22/review-of-africaand-the-war-on-drugs-by-neil-carrier-and-gernot-klantschnig/> (25.08.2015).
  • Le Vine V.T., Politics in Francophone Africa, London 2004.
  • Lodge J., EC Policymaking: Institutional Dynamics, [in:] The European Community and the Challenge of the Future, J. Lodge (ed.), London 1993.
  • Middleton J., Black Africa: Its Peoples and their Cultures Today, London 1970.
  • Obiozor G., Olikoshi A., Obi C., The Challenge of West African Regional Integration: An Introductory Overview, [in:] G. Obiozor, A. Olikoshi, C. Obi (eds.), West African Regional Economic Integration: Nigerian Policy Perspectives For The 1990s, Lagos 1996.
  • Omole B., Nigeria, France and the Francophone States: The Joy and Anguish of a Regional Power. 225th Inaugural Lecture, Ile-Ife 2010.
  • Opanike A., Aduloju A.A., Adenipekun L.O., ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement and Trans-border Security in West Africa, ”Covenant University Journal of Politics and International Affairs”, Vol. 3(1) 2015, pp. 14-18.
  • Orwell G., Politics and the English Language, <http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/Politics_and_the_English_Language-1.pdf> (26.08.2015).
  • Rajagopalan K., The Politics of Language and the Concept of Linguistic Identity, “CAUCE:Revista de Filologíay su Didáctica”, No. 24, 2001, pp. 17-28.
Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.desklight-f2a8b49a-e746-4459-8db9-637d19e8d28c
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.