Ahead of the 2019 general elections in the country, Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, on Wednesday, warned that there were incipient signs of trouble which must be averted.
Prof. Fagbohun, who dropped the bombshell at the first national workshop of the Nigerian Pragmatics Association (NPrA) held inside the campus of the institution, said as the 2019 general elections draws near, there were signs of crisis which was why the pragmatists must tackle the challenges of violence often resulting from hate speeches and inappropriate faux pass associated with electioneering campaign.
Represented by his Deputy, Prof. Damola Oke, Fagbohun also warned that the nation was on the edge of a precipice and self implosion. Again, he appealed for an urgent solution to address the issues involved.
He explained that the pragmatists have urgent task to make politicians and their supporters know that messages, and other communication acts through which they canvass for votes, could be conveyed better without eliciting negative reactions from their opponents.
According to him, ’’This is one of the challenges that have plagued our electoral system. At the heart of all these is appropriateness of language use upon which the survival of our nation depends’’.
The LASU Vice Chancellor also described as ‘apt’ the topic of the three-day workshop, ‘Current Trends in Pragmatics Research: Theory and Practice’ in light of the events in the last few months in Nigeria.
“Few of us will not doubt that our nation is on the edge of precipice of monumental self implosion if nothing urgent is done to enhance inter-ethnic understanding and harmony and check the spate of mindless killings across our nation.”
The president of NPrA, Prof. Akin Odebunmi, stressed that pragmatics was one of the few discipline of Arts that could offer benefits to society and also entrench the knowledge of the discipline for the benefit of students.
Prof. Odebunmi said apart from equipping students with the skills for daily bread, it was capable of providing such facilities as the dexterity to launch interventions into medicine, politics, domestic life, diplomacy, religion and the media.
He described NprA as ‘a burgeoning group’ with strong zeal to gain greater access into the global space for the advancement of the field of pragmatics.
Acting Head, Department of English, Dr. Rachael Bello, said the workshop marked the beginning of a thought-out plan to deepen the study of Pragmatics in the country.
Dr. Bello challenged members to use the workshop not only to exchange knowledge and ideas but also to brainstorm on what could be done to enhance the study and research into pragmatics.
She used the opportunity to inform the gathering that the department has reviewed its curriculum to bring the course content to reflect on emerging issues in linguistics and literary studies stating, ’’all of these are geared towards ensuring quality assurance and improvement in the standard of its graduates.