Language as a Tool for National Integration: A Case Study of English Language in Nigeria
Language which can be used as an effective instrument for national development and the promotion of national consciousness and unity can also be used as a weapon for marginalization in multilingual and multi-ethnicity societies like Nigeria. The latter trend can destabilize a nation as it sets different linguistic groups against one another in attempt to carve out an identity for themselves and express their existence and or relevance to the society. In Nigeria, where language has been the sole factor in group integration and at times, disintegration, this scenario can be found. The objective of the study therefore, is to examine the language issues in Nigeria by exploring the unifying importance of the English Language in Nigeria. This unifying role and its allied issues are discussed in this write-up with a view to portraying that the imposition or adoption of any language outside English as the Nation’s official language would lead to catalogue of sociopolitical crisis that could threaten the corporate existence of Nigeria. The study reveals that leaving English Language to continue to serve as the nation’s official language will not only maintain the oneness and integration in the country but will continue to solidify the togetherness and commonality of the nation. The study, therefore suggests that the English language should continue to play its unifying role while we continue to develop and maintain our local and indigenous languages.