Why we translate Nigeria's constitution into 3 indigenous languages –PAAF – The Sun Nigeria – Daily Sun
Prince Ade Ajayi Foundation, (PAAF) Centre for Constitutional Literacy and Civic Education has translated Nigeria’s 1999 constitution into Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo languages to promote national orientation, unity and integration.
President of PAAF, Prince Ade Ajayi, stated this during the weekend while addressing newsmen in Lagos, said a book titled “I love Nigeria my country” would also be launched.
According to him, the translation of the constitution took six years to be completed and it would be launched at a National Dialogue on Nigerian stakeholders unity forum on November 25.
He said the book is born out of a deep-sated love for the Nigeria as a nation that it echoes an unquenchable thirst to equip every Nigerian with knowledge of the nation’s history.
“It is a succinct rendition of our past, present and a glorious future, for without an accurate knowledge of the past, one cannot begin the arduous task of shaping the future,” he said.
On the introduction of the constitution translated into three languages, he said out of the 4000 Nigerians randomly sampled in urban areas, over 80 per cent had never seen or read in whole or part, a soft or hard copy of the 1999 constitution.
Of those who had, he said more than half could not recall what they had read, adding that the statistics in rural areas are abysmal, largely due to poor literacy levels.
“Asked why they had never read the constitution, many in urban areas retorted that they were not lawyers, or that it hadn’t crossed their minds to do so. Many added that they had no idea where they could get one or that could even access one.
“We believe that the first step in national orientation is adequate civil education. This cannot take place where the citizens do not have access to the one document that can most wholesomely inform them, we therefore make available the 1999 constitution in English, translate to indigenous languages (Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba and also create audio versions for the unlettered,” he said.
On the reasons for the translation, he said to make the constitution easily accessible to everyone, particularly those who are able to read and understand in their indigenous languages, but not necessarily in English language.
Other reasons, according to him, are to trigger national orientation and reorientation and also to increase awareness amongst the citizenry about their rights, responsibilities and obligations to the various governments and the nation.
Also, former member of the Lagos state House of Assembly, Segun Olulade, stated that he decided to identify with the project in view of the unity of the country.
“The constitution that is been translated today shows that this foundation would be a ready-made tool for the freedom of every Nigerians for justice, unity fairness and equity of our country. We need to understand our constitution,” he said.
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