When I was a teenager, my family took a road trip to Jos, the capital of Plateau state in Nigeria. It was all exotic and fun, having lived all my life in Igbo land. The changing scenery, weather, dressing, and language of the people we saw, all attested to the fact that we were a long way from home. However one of the most striking events for me was visiting a research institute where my father had worked as a research officer.
On entering the institute, an elderly Hausa man approached us. As he drew near my dad greeted him, causing the man to stop in his tracks. A wide smile split his weathered face as he bowed and responded in Hausa to the greeting. Apparently, he was the caretaker at the facility and knew my father when he worked there. To the uttermost surprise of my siblings and I, my dad responded with a torrent of fluent Hausa! My father had spoke Igbo to us for the most part and instituted an Igbo only policy in our home…WHEN IT WAS POPULAR IN IGBO LAND TO SPEAK ONLY ENGLISH. Watching him speak Hausa like a local was truly weird!
We knew that he was born and grew up in “Ugwu Awusa” (the term translates to the Hills of the Hausas; a generic term used to refer to Northern Nigeria by the Igbos). In reality, Plateau State was home to him save for time spent during secondary school In Igbo land and University in Western Nigeria. He only relocated to Igbo land following heightened tensions that led to the Nigerian civil war. He was almost 30 years of age at the time. My dad speaks English, Igbo and Hausa fluently. He also speaks passable Yoruba and probably others I do not know about.
So what do you think is my point in telling this story?????
In : True Life