According to the online dictionary, a constituted authority is the power(s) which the constitution of each people has established to govern them, to cause their rights to be respected, and to maintain those of each of its members.
After the fracas between the constituted authority in Oyo State and students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), some may agree that the behaviour of the students was rather disrespectful. But hey, what do you expect from a group of students who feel ignored and forgotten? The only way they thought the constituted authority could hear them was by that public display of…(I don’t know what to call it.) I believe there might have been another way to make their complaints heard without that confrontation which resulted in what we saw on social media.
Now to the constituted authority, many have said he had every right to address the students in his local dialect. After all, they are in his constituency. But this is where I have my issue, which I hope many people will share with me. As a constituted authority, you must be aware that the people you are addressing are students from different tribes, culture and spoken languages. Except, of course, you are saying, the university is strictly Yoruba-speaking and the students are taught in Yoruba whatever course they may be studying. In an English speaking university, the lecturer would probably define kinetics as: “The branch of mechanics concerned with the effects of forces on the motion of a body or system of bodies, especially of forces that do not originate within the system itself…” Now if you are a lecturer in LAUTECH, how would you define it? In Yoruba, I mean.
I feel the constituted authority when addressing students (whether from the primary, secondary or tertiary institutions) should do so with the lingua franca of the Nigerian educational system-English (After all, it is a compulsory subject to pass when writing SSCE or JAMB).
You are free to address anyone in your local dialect when they visit you on a personal/ private matter. But as long as you have a visit from your constituents on official matters, then English is the way to go. The members of Oyo State House of Assembly do not deliberate on matters of the state in Yoruba (do they?)
On the other part, as a constituted authority, you must understand that university students are very restless and attention seeking. It’s not a bad thing; it’s just a phase they will outgrow once they join the labour market (except for some I know in politics who have refused to grow). How you deal with a teenager when they do wrong is totally different from how you’d deal with a young adult. You can reason out issues in a mature way with a young adult but most teenagers and children may require a sterner form of discipline. You don’t talk to young adults as if they are twelve-year-olds. It’s an insult to their intelligence and status. The reaction you will get is more aggression and possible insults to your constituted office.
I am not saying we must do copy copy o, but I saw a video of Barak Obama (the outgoing constituted authority in the USA) addressing some aggrieved and chatty youths posted alongside the video of the face-off between the Oyo State Constituted authority & LAUTECH students. The difference between Obama;s method of dealing with the issue and that of Oyo State’s constituted is like 7-UP, very clear!. I am sure there is something to be learned from that.
After all said and written, let us bury the hatchet. To all constituted authorities, for ease of communication and peaceful resolutions, communicate in English- some words are more soft-spoken in English than our local dialects (which at times sound aggressive). To students, show some respect to constituted authority. Don’t be too aggressive; remember they have the constituted authority to reopen your school or keep it shut….and you may just forget how to speak English again.