DR. OHIA, BEN-FRED
This paper focuses on the interlocking nature of language and literature towards integration
and cohesion in Nigeria, to evaluate the contribution of language and literature inliteracy and
national development. The paper attempts a close examination of the process of integration
and cohesion, the contribution of language and literature towards national integration and
cohesion in Nigeria. The English Language in Nigeria is a literate language or a language
Nigerians rely on to promote or enhance literacy as well as the development of humancapital.
This pictures the interlocking nature of language and literature in the overall development
and cohesion of the country. The paper also examines the role of literature in theintegration of
the various cultures in Nigeria as Nigerian writers have in their various texts, usedlanguage to
express the Nigeria perception and subvert the white’s egocentrism in favour of Nigerians.
This paper therefore investigates the factors of integration and cohesion provided bylanguage
and literature in Nigeria, and comes up with a resounding conclusion that Nigeria’sunity in
diversity can only be sustained by a good knowledge oflanguage and literature.
Keywords:Interlocking, integration, cohesion and development.
The word ‘integration’ gives an idea of bringing partsinto a whole, of removal of barriers
that cause segregation. It involves unification, combination and cooperation. It is the method of
combining separate parts into one monolithic entity. The integrationist is an apostle of
unification, amalgamation, consolidation, homogenization and concatenation. All these roles
language and literature perform in Nigeria. Nigeria as a multi-ethnic society exerts pressure on
all its members, no matter their age, to continue to conform to the norms, values and laws of the
country. But unfortunately every society has deviants who reject the values and break the rules.
Disintegration and lack of cohesion occur when a society contains more deviants than
conformists, asthe case with Nigeria.
Culture is the social inheritance that gives structure to our lives and is expressed in
language and literature. It is cognitive, normative, and transmitted through the symbolism of
language. Conflict theorists see culture as constantly in flux. Structural functionalist shares
norms and values as the glue that holds society together. According to Nwabueze (2005),
“Symbolic integrationiststheorize that individual action can change culture. Values are what we
consider to be desirable, including the goals we should pursue. Norms are standards of conduct,
how we should and should not behave” (2)
The image of the Nigerian does not appear to be good in the international circle, despite
the efforts of the government (especially the Buhari administration) to bleach it. The Nigerian
needs a visa to stop at any part of the world, even on transit. He isready to assume the nationality
of any country under the sun, rushes out to have a child anywhere in the world in order to confer
citizenship on the child. All these are bad images that are being addressed by language and…
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