Gladly, human reasoning continues to advance, mental awareness and criticality continue to grow, gratitude to the ability of men to seek knowledge more and more, and the civilization that comes with this.
Africa is no longer left behind also, perhaps we are the Black Panthers advancing, ready to question numerous anomalies as we develop. Our challenges remain only in leadership conspiracies, compromises, mismanagement, the mother of which is corrupt governance. The poverty of developmental ideas consciously portrayed by the ruling cabals drastically limit the black human resource, potential greatness and consequently transform into material poverty of the teeming population.
The questioning of Arabic inscriptions on the Naira notes and on the Nigerian Army logo by the legal practitioner, Malcolm Omirhobo, is an important discussion, as important as discussing whether the Nigerian independence is a facade, a charade, and if wholly constitutional or not. The inscriptions are not necessarily unnoticed, or perhaps, noticed but considered trivial. Indeed, the difficulty of prosperities or possession of money to spend in the first place, in Nigeria, seems more overwhelming than discussing the significance of certain inscriptions on the notes. It goes like, “who cares?”.
Permit me to opine that what we agree to be formal is relatively based on perspectives, and dependent on the people subject, their exposure, and level of consciousness.
Now, the common Wikipedia, though subject to amendments, has some information about the Arabs. They are primarily living in western Asia, North Africa and the Horns of Africa, with a minute population in other parts of the world. With about 93 percent of them being Muslims, this means a sizable number of them are Christians, with others keyed into other religions as well. This tells us too that not all Arabs are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arabs.
Now on so many grounds, our Hausas in Nigeria might have had contacts with the Arabs, informing the popularity of Arabic language in northern Nigeria. This with limited doubts had happened via the close proximity of the Northern Nigerians with Arab speaking people of Chad, Niger, etc., and with the Islamic religion tightening it, this could have happened too far before the creation of Nigeria. But note too, not all Hausas are Muslims, there is a sizable number of Christian Hausas as well. This takes us to the origin of language not being necessarily religion, a point where one could disagree with Malcolm that the Arabic inscriptions are tied to religion.
However, on the universality of language, the Arabic language is an international language and one of the six officially adopted languages by the United Nations. It may be far from being wholly universal compared to the dominance of an English language for instance. To stress again, the origin of language, including the universal ones, is more economic oriented, in some instances, it is the necessity for trade among people. Another need to hear from you and probably know how to say what you say, and vice versa (you should be able to the same to my language). What happens afterward is now who bends for the other one’s language depending on the terms and nature of trade involved. What is however important is that we can do business, communicate for a common goal which is survival. This latter is first, before the role of religion in languages. The Arabic language had long been spoken since a thousand years ago, even before Islamic conquest which later adopted the language as being that which the Holy Qur’an was written. It had been the native language of the nomads a very long time ago.
The manner in which quite a number of religions of the past have been eliminated for popular Christianity and Islam which expanded through the economy, quite a number of languages had been conquered by the Arabic language too.
The dominance of currency itself is thus by economic strength and not religious strength, the strength of US Dollars and Euros, Pounds are instances of economic strengths (imperialism).
Therefore, again, we can no longer conclude that the English language is Christian nor that Arabic is Islam. There is a number of persons speaking these languages at diverse locations of the world and with diverse religious affiliations, including atheists, just like the theists and deists. The strength and dominance of any language are in the economy it commands, including the countries it colonizes with this strength. A picture of the gradual extinction of Native Nigerian languages for the English language comes to mind.
Now, what is the case of Nigeria? One may be tempted to merely agree with the lawyer in question that Arabic is not our official language and enough reason to strike the inscriptions out of the currencies and of the Army logo. But, what really determines our officiality in Nigeria except by the measures of those who colonized us and still does so through neo-colonization. As a nationalist too, one may not dwell in advocating those things that divide us despite the amalgamation we portray by mere political geography, but as an advocate of international unity, can we ever have all language of the world on our currency notes? That seems cumbersome, but can we not have a global logo on them instead? The latter is neither seen coming too until a global unity is in view.
Then, I think we may question that, if not Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa as official languages even in our own country, why foreign language like English? If Nigeria adopts it as official, what stops the world from adopting it as an official universal language?
As much as the Arabic inscriptions on our currencies and army logo explain the history of our colonization, borne out of world political economy carried out by the imperialists, including the Arab members, we may say it also informs unity of Nigerian people with the Arabian people. Although this may not be the essence for the colonial and post-colonial rulers.
Rather than discussing how to merely divide Nigerian people from the Arabs by expunging the inscriptions, can we discuss our colonization that has been made official too?
Disconnecting from the Arabs is as similar as having the Yorubas deciding to pull away from Hausas or Igbos too, and relatively vice versa. But does that solve either of the problems confronting these ethnic regions as a people? Similarly, does the expunging solve the Numerous Nigerian upheavals? One doubts that it ever limits the Arabians by an inch neither.
Gbenga oloniniran-Von can be reached via email@example.com.