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Minna: Where ‘‘Raitas de len hau to spel?’’

bai Edwin Eriata Oribhabor, Naija Langwej Promoter, Abuja-Naijiria

When the Niger State branch of Association of Nigerian Authors’ (ANA) announced that her programme, WRITERS’ SPELL, was to come up on 28th of January, 2012, a friend made the following remark; Wich won bi raitas spel? So raitas de len hau to spel tu? He wanted to know if the event was a workshop where potential writers would be taken through the rudiments of spellings. I couldn’t offer a concrete explanation because it was the first time I was coming across any information on the programme which I gathered, commenced last year. It was billed to feature Terfa Danjuma Nenga’s Pach-Pach Nika An Oda Puem-Dem; a collection of poems written in Naija Langwej; Nigeria’s un-official lingua franca. My friend, whose interest for the promotion, growth and development of the language is fast taking root, added that; as long as na puem fo Naija, man-pikin most go to Minna to si hau dem de len hau to spel. As a rider, I stated that, Notin go stop os to go to Minna. It is on this note that, I invite you to join me as I relieve activities that almost threatened the possibility of the planned event holding, my unshaken intention to attend, as well as my experiences visiting a state whose governor, Aliyu Babangida loves and promote arts, literature and creativity.

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Shayo Na ‘‘Slave Master’’

bai Edwin Eriata Oribhabor, Naija Langwej Promoter, Abuja-Naijiria

"Due to increase in road travels during the period of September-December (emba months) every year and coupled with the presence of so many bad roads in Nigeria, the rate of accidents are usually higher when compared to the preceding months. Conscious of this, members of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) do mount series of campaigns to save or ameliorate the situation. At this time, one of the regular jingles that we hear on different radio and television stations is, ‘’If you drink, don’t drive.’’ Notwithstanding, there are Motor Drivers who have formed the habit of taking a bottle or two of any alcoholic drink before embarking on a journey. A recent entry into the Nigerian market called "Alomo Bitters" is not helping matters. The sing song of drivers who compulsorily drink before driving is; "Man most drink bifo i enta stierin". Hardly would such drivers heed any prodding from passengers against not drinking before driving. No bi smol tin. Some of them will boldly say "Na todé na im a de draiv moto?," "Na yu go tich mi hau to draiv?," or "Di taim a de draiv dem don born yu?"

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High Table Launch

bai Edwin Eriata Oribhabor

"The craze for the launch of one thing or the other is fast losing currency in Nigeria. In those days, just anything and everything deserved to be publicly celebrated or launched irrespective of the financial implication. All machinery were usually channeled to achieving a successful launch likened to the highly criticized ‘’mandate’’ banks do hand to their marketing staff in the banking industry to go ‘’rake’’ in millions at all cost. It was more of a status thing to be addressed as the one who recently had a launch of whatever. Most events attracted desired crowd as people commonly looked up to the next launch for various reasons for which the promotion of individual egos is one.

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Pretoria and South Africa’s multi-lingua status

bai Edwin Eriata Oribhabor

I adjusted sharply to the chilly winter weather of Pretoria, South Africa where I attended an “International Conference on Arts, Society and Sustainable Development” from 27-29 June, 2011 at the Faculty of Arts, Tshwane University of Science and Technology, Pretoria-West campus. One of the conveners of the conference was a Nigerian in the person of Professor Patrick Ebewo. Not less than 130 persons presented papers covering different areas of the arts. Of this number, a minimum of 20 Nigerians also made presentations on various relevant topics. My paper was titled, “The Role of Naija (Nigerian Pidgin) in Achieving Nigeria’s Language Policy and Integration of its People.” Throughout my one-week stay in Arcadia, Pretoria central, my mind kept going back and forth to Abuja, my place of residence, Warri my place of birth and Nigeria in general. You will find out why in the following.

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Dis afametiv akshon sef

bai Edwin Eriata Oribhabor

For the umpteenth time, President Goodluck Jonathan had reiterated his readiness to work in line with the 35 % affirmative action for women representation in key areas of the nation’s economy. His dear wife and first lady of the nation, Dame Patience has been championing the fight for government’s recognition of 35% affirmative action for women which of course qualifies her to be addressed as “madam afametiv” i.e. if we have such nomenclature. There is no doubt that women in politics are confident in the sincerity of the first family’s commitment to ensure “equity” in their representation in every facet of our nation’s body polity. This is bound to affect “di rashon” of men in appointments into various offices of state, though; they are quietly watching to see how things eventually play out. This current “sidon luk” dispensation of men regarding the subject matter has inspired me to write this article.

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Bai faya, bai fos berekete

bai Edwin Eriata Oribhabor

The current comedy album of Gordons, a popular comedian in Nigeria, is titled “Halleluyah.” In this album, packed full of thrilling “comedic-releases,” he repeatedly mentioned that his comedy “ministry” is on the move. This could be translated to mean that, his art of providing “alternative therapy for stress and high blood pressure” is taking a positive turn as he smiles to the bank in confidence. Like Gordons, Men-of-God in charge of different congregations all over the country, spend quality “spiritual times” of prayer and hard work towards taking their various ministries to higher levels of spiritual and financial standing. While the comedian’s “therapeutic messages” could be traced to his individual “creative ministry,” that of the Men-of-God, comes from the “ministry of the word of God.” Since the negative handiwork of the “devil” must be checked at all cost, various Men-of-God are placed between the “devilish” rock and the deep blue sea. The evolving scenario in this situation has led to a new wave approach to worship, popularly called bai faya bai fos ; another word for do-or-die.

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Mari komot no bi awa "style"

bai Edwin Eriata Oribhabor

Except one has deep interest in watching Hollywood films or lucky to belong to the veri old skul age bracket, the name Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor may just sound like one Lizzy babe a former school mate or neighbour. She was a famous Hollywood star actress who became a superstar way back in the 50s. Hau meni of os dem don born bai dat taim? She played landmark roles in projecting Hollywood as an institution and the film industry in general in the United States of America. Way back in 1944 she started her film career with the powerful film “National Velvet”. Later on in her eventful life, she starred or featured in films like “Father of the Bride” (1950), “A Place in the Sun” (1951), “Giant” (1956), “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” (1958), “ Cleopatra” (1963), “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966), “Butterfield 8” (1968) etc. She won several high profile awards & honors including the Academy Awards, the Oscas, etc. Her story could be summarized as that of a very beautiful woman whose beauty and role as a film actress brought her fame, wealth and propa gbese married eight times to seven husbands (one of them twice.) She died on Wednesday, March 23 at the age of 79 in Los Angeles. Eyaaaa!

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Na grama wi go chop?

Under the caption, “The Assault on Nigerian Languages”, ThisDay newspaper’s Editorial of Wednesday, March 16, 2011 p.19 bemoaned the lack of attention that’s generally being given to our local languages and stressed that they “are becoming extinct because not only are parents denying their children the opportunity to communicate in their mother tongue, they themselves shy away from speaking their local dialect.” Furthermore, it stated that, “The English language has sadly become the preferred language of communication.” If English language, the nation’s official lingua franca was described as “sadly” “the preferred language of communication” there’s no better way of saying that the language is only struggling to survive in a multi-ethnic composition called Nigeria.

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