Saturday, December 4, 2010

A matter of National Importance

This is a very important issue that we have treated with great levity, a situation so critical it calls for immediate action. I really cannot fully express the urgency of this situation. Oh well, I would go straight to the point. It is the issue of our First Lady’s verbal communication ability.

Words cannot describe the way I felt the first time I heard her speak. I thought there was something wrong with my ears. The first thing that came to my mind was the fact that this woman had been a deputy governor’s wife, a governor’s wife, a vice-president’s wife and now the president’s wife…surely she had all the time in the world to perfect her communication skills.

Recently, I attended a dinner she hosted at the State House and boy, was I dumb founded. She had very intelligent things to say but I didn’t get over the fact that she couldn’t express herself coherently. What struck me the most was the fact that she had a speech in front of her! Now, my critiques would be quick to say ‘after all English is not our mother tongue’…that argument is a silly one in my opinion. English is the Lingua Franca of Nigeria and every Secondary School Graduate is expected to speak the Language in a manner that would be understood by a listener. You can argue that standards have fallen but the First Lady is supposed to be a role model to some and she ought to take steps to address her image (Dora Akunyili can give her tips about image rebranding)

Another critique said maybe it was her accent that made it difficult for me to decipher what she was saying. Again, I debunk that theory. I can mention names of highly placed Nigerians who have their local accents but speak good English. Effective communication can be made regardless of the speaker’s accent.

One of my friends even suggested that she should speak in her local dialect and have an interpreter communicate her words effectively to us. She could use the ruse that she is promoting indigenous languages in Nigeria and none of us would bat an eyelid. 

Most of all, I am not amused that no one in her inner circle had the courtesy to suggest that she engages the services of a linguist, speech therapist, language instructor or whatever. It is pure wickedness to let this issue run its course. I mean, her husband could have subtly insinuated that she did something about it.

Do not misunderstand me, my intention is not to insult anyone but to state the obvious as it seems a lot of people are fearful to do so. I am merely suggesting we do something about this fast. The mother of all horrors would be if she is to have a debate with Michelle Obama…

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