I Can’t Speak My Mother Tongue…And I Don’t Care

I was told by my parents that I am Igbo, and I am from Imo’s state. I was born in Lagos, I lived in Lagos till I was 10 when I moved to Abuja and stayed till I was 18 then moved back to Lagos. I have spent probably about 6 weeks out of my life in eastern Nigeria, only two and a half of which, I have spent in Imo state. Unfortunately I can never one day become the Lagos state governor because I am from Imo.

I do not speak the Igbo language (emphasis on the ‘gb’ for Igbo on enthusiasts). I also have no desire to learn the language at least for now. I failed Igbo in secondary school in ways that can be best described as a legendary p yet, Igbo is my ‘mother tongue.’ Igbo gave me more sleepless nights than English language ever could and while I may not be able to get all phonetic acrobats, it’s a language I feel comfortable with. Did I mention I’m learning French, yes I am, that’s how much I don’t want to learn Igbo language. (Juliet if you’re reading this try not to have a heart attack). 

I’m proud when I hear people speaking their native languages (except in occasional cases when it becomes noise pollution). I think we should encourage it after all it’s part of our culture, but honestly I could care less if my children never learn the language. I think the first language a child learns is their mother tongue, every other language learnt is passed through the threshold of that first language. Fortunately or unfortunately mine was English. 

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