Yesterday, Fani-Kayode took to his facebook page to react to Mark Zuckerberg’s describing the hausa language as unique. He wrote; Kerry comes to the north and sees the Sultan of Sokoto, northern governors and Buhari.One week later Facebook founder comes to Nigeria and says Hausa is a "unique language" which he has included on Facebook.Think Nigerians think.”
This morning, the former Aviation Minister responded to Reno Omokri’s rejoinder which Reno also replied. Read their statements below;
From Fani Kayode
Reno Omokri , nice to hear from u.
Permit me to begin by saying that I never miss ur write-ups and I thank God that we still have people as discerning and as bold as u in our country. Pl keep it up.
Now to the business pf the day.
"Kerry comes to the north and sees the Sultan of Sokoto, northern governors and Buhari.
One week later Facebook founder comes to Nigeria and says Hausa is a "unique language" which he has included on Facebook.
Think Nigerians think".
You responded as follows.
"Olufemi Olu-Kayode I do not understand why Kerry did what he did, but as for Zuckerberg, all he did was state a fact. After Swahili, Hausa is perhaps the most widely spoken language in sub Saharan Africa. That is why BBChausa, Voahausa, Deutschewelle and other world radio services all have broadcasts in Hausa. We must applaud what Zuckerberg has done and not cast suspicion around it. Doing so may encourage him to add other indigenous Nigerian languages as Facebook languages. That said, I appreciate a lot of your writings and suggestions. Well done".
Thanks for taking your time to respond to my post. Perrmit me to respond to you very briefly.
What Mark Zuckerberg said about the Hausa language being "unique" is not a fact but an opinion. And it is an opinion which, in fairness to him, may well be honestly held.
It is also an opinion which you evidently share and which both u and he u are perfectly entitled to. I am, however, entitled to disagree with u on that opinion especially where I have good reason to do so.
You see unlike most I do not post, speak or write lightly. I take my time, I do my research and I am very precise. That is my style and nature.
The choice of hausa being put on Facebook is not just a matter if "linguistic uniqueness" I assure u. And to honestly believe that it does borders on pure naivety.
There is nothing unique about the number of coutries in west Africa that speak Hausa and I do not believe that Hausa is the most widely spoken language in west Africa though many often say it is.
It is rather like the common refrain that the hausas number more than any other nationality in Nigeria when we all know how and when that particular dirty lie came about and how the British constructed it by counting the cows of the north and adding them to the number of northerners that they counted in the first census.
If the truth be told even then and up until now the Igbo and the Yoruba are more than the Fulani and the Hausa.
If u doubt my assertion about the lack of uniqueness of the Hausa language pl do the research and find out how many countries that Yoruba, for example, is spoken in both in West Africa and outside of the African continent in South America and the Carribean.
Also read up on the history of the BBC and VOA Hausa Service and why they were set up by their respective governments. Ditto the German hausa radio service and others.
It made perfect sense because most hausa men carried radios around with them everywhere they went whilst their southern compatriots, being far more advanced and educated, prefered reading newspapers and watching television.
It is not just a matter if linguistic uniqueness I assure u but evidence of the fact that the British particularly always had, and still do have, a strong partiality for the Hausa Fulani compared to any other nationality in Nigeria.
The reasons for that are legion so I won't go into them here. Needless to say though, the history on this matter is very clear and I suggest you read up on it.
It appears that the American authorities, at least the Obama/Kerry/Clinton brigade, are following in the footsteps of the British colonial masters in terms of their preferred friends in Nigeria and indeed American private companies like Facebook, just like British private companies did in the former British colonies before them, are towing the line of their governments. It is not too difficult to work that one out for the intelligent.
I guess only time will tell if I am right but these are my views. In any case I wonder how many hausa-speaking people are on Facebook when compared to Yoruba and Igbo.
I read far more into this matter than u do because I am not just a politician but a historian. I also have my views about the social media generally, its link to the top western intelligence agencies and what its ultimate objective is.
I have been proved right in the end on most of my assertions about unfolding events in this country and indeed world affairs as u may or may not know. I doubt that this will be any different. Unlike most people I do not let my friendship or personal-liking or disliking of an individual becloud my judgement.
My reasons for believing what I believe will be made manifest at the appropiate time.
If u are really interested in knowing what those reasons are I suggest you exercise a little patience and u will find out.
U may even learn something from it. By the way unlike u I think it would be an excellent innovation if Facebook introduced other Nigerian languages like Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw etc.. As far as I am concerened the more inclusive it is the better.
I wish u well and please keep writing those excellent essays on the situation in our country. Shalom.
Reno Omokri’s replies…
Dear Olufemi Olu-Kayode
Thank you for your kind rejoinder to my response to your take on Mark Zuckerberg's comment on the Hausa language. Here is my response.
That Mark Zuckerberg called Hausa a unique language is not born out of any conspiracy against the Yoruba, Igbo or any Southern Nigerian ethnic nationality. The Hausa language is not an invention of the Hausa people. The language was invented by God and so whenever anyone praises it, they are not praising the Hausa people, they are praising God.
You say I am naive for accepting, as Zuckerberg does, that the Hausa language is unique. Really? Hausa language is the only indigenous African language that is officially spoken in five African nations including Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Cameroun and Sudan. If your argument is true and I am indeed naive then you would have to agree with me that BBC News, Radio France Internationale, Voice of America - VOA, D Deutsche Welle, China Radio International and Voice of Russia are equally naive, because, like Facebook, they all have a Hausa language service.
You may be right about the British/American conspiracy. I never delved into that and I defer to your superior knowledge of history and statecraft. Your father, Remilekun Fani-Kayode, QC, was a first class statesman and the apple did not fall far from the tree. My point of departure from you was strictly and solely as touching your insinuation against Mark Zuckerberg.
By including Hausa as an official Facebook language, Zuckerberg recognizes the fact that while there are literally tens of millions of Yoruba, Igbo and other indigenous Nigerian language speakers who can communicate in both their native language and English, the same cannot be said about Hausa speakers. In Benin, Togo, Brazil and other nations where you have a large concentration of Yoruba speakers, these omo oduduwas can express themselves in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese.
There are literally tens of millions of Hausa speakers who can only communicate in Hausa. This does not make them illiterate. Indeed, long before we in the South could read and write, these Hausa speakers have been reading and writing Hausa in the centuries old Ajami script.
It is to accommodate these particular class of Hausa speakers that, in my opinion, Facebook added Hausa as an official language, and not as part of some conspiracy of Britain and America to undermine the Southern parts of Nigeria. You may recall that Zuckerberg and his wife recently invested $25 million in Andela. That would be a most strange way to undermine the South given that all of Andela's founders and most of their fellows are from the South. Talk is cheap but money makes things happen. Zuckerberg talked about Hausa, but he put his money in a Lagos tech hub. Does that not say something to you?
The mistake we in the South often make is to see ordinary Hausas as our enemies. Not true. The Hausas as a people are some of the most decent Nigerians and are to be differentiated from the feudalists who have retarded their progress as an ethnic nationality. What they need from progressive and freedom loving Nigerians is solidarity not hostility. This was the point of view that the late Aminu Kano tried to pass across to us down South.
What Facebook has done deserves commendation and not condemnation. Again, having said this, I must maintain that I have a high regard for your intellect and this intervention should not be interpreted as a confrontation.
God bless you.