Main Article Content




This paper examines the influence and power of language in education in Nigeria from the precolonial to colonial and post-colonial times. This is with regards to the effect of language on gender issues within the country. Nigeria, a country on the west coast of Africa is multi-ethnic with over 150 (one hundred and fifty) ethnic groups with their different indigenous languages and cultures. As a colony of the British, the Christian missionaries who first introduced western form of education in Nigeria used the British English language as a medium of communication and subsequently with the establishment of colonial administration in the country, English language was made the official language of the country. This paper contains a critical analysis of the use of English Language in the country and its implications on communication in social and economic interactions of individuals within the various communities across the country.  It argues that the proliferation of the English language was through education of which the male gender benefitted more than their female counterparts due to the patriarchal dominance in the country. The data for the study was collated from random interviews and other written sources. The research discovered that the knowledge and ability to speak fluently and write the English language had a direct influence on the socio-political and economic status of individuals within the country. The women who benefitted from this were comparatively fewer than the men due to some prevailing conditions of what could be called in the present the subjugation of women the society. Critical discourse analysis is adopted for this study. It argues that English language dependency by Nigerians shows that forms of the colonial experience is still evident and these were all initiated during the past interactions with west through the transatlantic slave trade and colonial rule. This is because discourse as a social construct is created and perpetuated by the persons who have the language power and means of communication. The Nigerian family being of a conservative orientation derives its power directly from the father who is the patriarch of the family as obtained in the traditional set up of communities and the Nigerian society in general. This has grave effect on the opposite gender


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Author Biography

EKWUTOSI ESSIEN OFFIONG, University of Calabar

Ekwutosi Essien Offiong, PhD is a Lecturer at the Department of History and International Studies, University of Calabar, Nigeria.


  1. Agayi, Ade. 1965. Christian Missionay in Nigeria 1841-1891: The Making of a new Elite. London: Longman.
  2. Akpan, Charles, P. 1996. “Gender imbalance in Access to Education implication for development in South eastern. Nigeria.” Pp. 171-180 in Women development and the Nigerian environment, edited by Y. Oruwari. Ibadan: Vintage publishers.
  3. Ayandele, Emmanuel. 1966. The missionary impact on modern Nigeria: A political and social Analysis. London: Longman.
  4. Aye, Efiong. 1967. Old Calabar Through the centuries. Calabar.
  5. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  6. Bourdieu, Pierre and Jeane-Claude Paserson. 1977. Reproduction in education, society and culture. London: Sage.
  7. Breseall, Victoria et al. 2013. “The effect of system-justifying motives on endorsement of essentialist explanations for gender differences.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 105(6): 891-908.
  8. Cordier, Bernard. 2012. “Gender, betwixt biology and society.” Sexologies 21(4): 192- 194.
  9. Corson, David. 1995. Discourse and power in educational organizations. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton.
  10. Effah-Attoe Stella A. 2018. “Gender Mainstreamism in Nigeria’s Political Development. From Hindsight to Foresight.” 79th Inaugural Lecture, University of Calabar.
  11. Fatunwa, Babs. 2004. History of Education in Nigeria. Ibadan: NPC Educational Pub. Ltd.
  12. Foucault, Michael. 1972. The archaeology of knowledge and the discourse language. New York: Partheon.
  13. Foucault, Michael. 1977. Discipline and Punish. New York: Panthom.
  14. Good, Carter. 1959. Dictionary of Education. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  15. Idyorough, A. 2005. Gender: concepts and issues in Nigeria. Makurdi, Aboki Pub.
  16. Ikime, Obauro. 1980. Government of Nigerian History. Ibadan Heinemann.
  17. Ikpe, E. B. 2004. “The Historical Legacy of Gender Inequality in Nigeria.” in Paradox of Gender Equality in Nigerian politics, edited by S. O. Akinboye. Lagos: Concept Pub. Ltd.
  18. Imam, Hauwa. 2012. “Educational Policy in Nigeria from the Colonial Era to the Post-Independence Period.” Italian Journal of Sociology of Education 1.
  19. Jaggar, Alison. 1983. Feminist politics and human nature. Sussex: Rowman and Allanheld.
  20. Mba, Nina, Emma. 1982. Nigeria women mobilized: Women political activity in southern Nigeria, 1900-1965. Berkeley: Institute of International Studies.
  21. Mojekuru-Chikezie, Neamaka. 2012. African Women sentenced by tradition. Lagos: Nwokebi A.A. and Coy.
  22. Nigeria. 2010. Nigeria at 50: A Compendium: The Official and Authoritative Book about Nigeria: 1st October Publishing.
  23. Nye, Joseph. 2004. Soft power: The mears to success in world politics. New York Public Affairs Press.
  24. Ocitti, J. 1973. African indigenous Education: As practice by the Acholi of Uganda. Nairobi: East African Literature Bureau.
  25. Odrowąż-Coates Anna. 2019. Socio-educational factors and the soft power of language: the deluge of English in Poland and Portugal. London: Lexington Books [Rowman & Littlefield].
  26. Odrowąż-Coates, Anna. 2015. “Gender Crisis in Poland, Catholic Ideology and the Media.” Sociology Mind 5: 27-34.
  27. Odrowąż-Coates, Anna. 2018. “Soft power of language in social inclusion and exclusion and the unintended outcomes in Language.” Discourse and Society 6 (2):15-30.
  28. Pereira Charmaine. 2007. Gender in the Making of the Nigerian University System. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books.
  29. Piscoe, Victor., Moeketsi. Letseka. 2013. “Fourcault’s Discourse and power implications for structionist classroom management.” Open Journal of Philosophy 3(1): 23-28.
  30. Pocock John. Greville. Agard. 2018. “Theory in History Problems of Context and Narrative.” in The Oxford Handbook of Political Science, edited by R. E. Goodin. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  31. Popkewitz, Thomas S. 1997. “Restricting of social and political theory in education four fowcault and a social epistemology of school practices.” Educational theory 47: 287-313.
  32. Silberschmidt, Margrethe. 1999. Women Forget that Men are their Masters. UPPSALA, Sweden. Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.
  33. Talbari, Aziz. 1996. “Pedagogy, Power and discourse: Transformation of Islamic Education.” Comparative Education Review 40: 66-82.
  34. Weedon, Chris. 1997. Feminist practice and poststructuralist theory. Second Edition. Oxford: Blackwell.
  35. Woolman, David. 2001. “Educational Reconstruction and Post-colonial Curriculum Development: A Comparative study of four African Countries.” International Education Journal 2(5): 27-46.