A multilingual advocate and polyglot, Ms Somto Asibelua, has said that speaking different languages can help people and countries connect without encountering the usual obstacle of language barrier.
She made this statement while addressing pressmen at a soiree cocktail for Nigerian alumni of the French International school — Ecole Des Roches, which took place on Friday, November 25, 2022, at The Wheatbaker, Ikoyi Lagos.
She said collaborating with other nations to find lasting solutions to the country’s problems is a good way to explore.
Asibelua advised Nigerians to desist from “every man for himself” syndrome and embrace collaboration as the way forward.
She also said there were great advantages in learning different languages and these would help foster positive change.
“As a Nigerian, who learned the French Language, it is a great opportunity, because one thing we lack in Africa is unity; it is every man for himself, every country for himself.
“So, speaking different international languages has helped me to connect with people from different countries.
“I believe in that way, we will be able to find and foster solutions to Nigeria’s problems, and we should not think every man for himself, but collaborate more.”
“That is what I feel learning other languages has made me do, to collaborate more for a better Nigeria, “ she said.
The founder of Jwievie also said that promotion of French education, and other languages in Nigeria could help in addressing unemployment.
According to her, it is an opportunity for creating jobs that enables people to do those jobs with other African countries.
“Working together with other countries allows room for collaboration; though, it is not a major solution to addressing unemployment in the country.
“However, it can make a difference,’’ Asibelua said.
Similarly, the Head of Ecole de Roches, Mr Ivor Gemmell, described Nigeria as an interesting market and opportunity to excel considering the number of francophone countries in the neighborhood.
According to him, there is a lot that Nigeria can learn from France and vice versa.
“Rigour is one of the things we will always see in the French system: there is always a lot of that.
“There are loads of opportunities to have and do cultural activities as well, which is something that is fantastic for Nigerian children.
“We have also got quite a lot of monuments and we happen to be very close to Normandy beaches so from a historical point of view there is a lot to learn there.
“I know that there is a lot of different art from what we see in Europe here in Nigeria, and that is something the students can express and convey to their friends, “ Gemmell said.
Also, the Secrétaire Général of the school, Mr Stéphane Royo, said that values of respect for people, which was the basis of Nigeria was exactly the values of the school.
“We are an English school in France with big value; we started in 1899 and now we are very happy to be here in Nigeria to show that we have different possibilities.
“We have the International Baccalaureate in English and French, and this is a very big advantage.
“The motto of the young people is the language, to communicate together
“Also, if someone leaves Ecole de Roches and can speak English, French, Chinese, Arabic, or Russian, it is a success for us, “ Royo added.
In his remarks, philanthropist, art collector and father of the host, Mr Nero Asibelua, while extolling the representatives of the French school for the sort of rigorous training and opportunities open to their alumni, he also implored the Federal Government of Nigeria to implement the use of our local languages in schools.
“However, there are more than 200 languages in Nigeria, yet they are not spoken and becoming extinct”.
“Make it compulsory that children should speak in their local languages; it is very important for the future of Nigeria, “ Asibelua added.