Influence of language contact on students’ oral English academic performance in secondary schools
The present-day nation of Nigeria was comprised of distinct autonomous regions. Thus, the western region, the eastern region, and the northern region were identified. Each region was endowed with an abundance of natural resources, and their environmental conditions had a significant impact on the aforementioned regions. 1 Notable in this regard was the oil palm belt (including the states of Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ondo, Calabar, Edo, and Akwa Ibom), whose environment appeared conducive to oil palm production. According to available evidence, oil palm trees thrive when planted in deep, slightly acidic, loamy soil with a pH of 5.6, in humid tropical climates with 250 cm of annual precipitation. 2
Nigeria, along with her west African neighbors, was historically the center of oil palm production, accounting for west Africa’s export of 157,000 metric tons of palm kernel, of which 73 percent originated from Nigeria alone.
3 Agriculture was and continues to be a vital industry in Nigeria, which led to the founding of the Agricultural Research Institute, which began formally with the establishment of a botanical garden in Lagos in the late 19th century.
This garden was part of a network of British-established gardens devoted to the introduction of new crop varieties. Southern Nigeria’s forestry and botanical department (renamed “agricultural department”) was established in 1903. In 1912, it was divided into two regional departments, resulting in the formation of the Northern Nigeria Department of Agriculture. After the unification of Nigeria in 1914, the two departments were merged to form the Department of Agriculture.
In terms of infrastructure and human resources, progress was made, resulting in the establishment of new research stations, an increase in the number of research personnel, and a more technical research program that included plant breeding and plant pathology. However, the focus of research remained on export crops, such as oil palm, rubber, cotton, and cocoa. During the 1962-1968 development plan, the oil palm rehabilitation scheme (OPRS) became the primary Agricultural scheme for the eastern Nigerian ministry of Agriculture. 4
Indeed, agricultural research remained the responsibility of the local colonial government until after World War II, when the British government sought a more active role in promoting Science and technology in its colonies. This resulted in the establishment of several regional agricultural research institutions in West Africa, which complemented existing facilities and formed part of the West Africa Inter-territorial Research Organization (WAIFRO).
The West African Institute for Oil Palm Research (WAIFOR), the West Africa Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (WAITR), and the West African Stored Products Research Unit (WASPRU), all of which are located in Nigeria5, are three of these institutions. The regional institutes were nationalized in 1960, and the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), the Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (NITR), the Nigerian Stored Product Research Institute (NSPRI), and the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) joined the team.
With the independence of member nations and the dissolution of WARO, the Nigeria Institute Act No. 33 of 1964 renamed WAIFOR as NAIFOR. NAIFOR was then tasked with conducting research not only on the oil palm but also on other economic palms including coconut, raphia, date, and ornamental palms. 6 NIFOR pamphlet on History, Activities, and Accomplishment. For the purposes of conducting research into and investigation of problems and matters pertaining to the oil palm and its product, and for the provision of information and advice pertaining to the oil palm.
NIFOR’s various substations were located in Benin, Dutse, Badagry, Degema, and Abak. However, the Abak substation is for palm oil. In light of the aforementioned, this study aims to conduct a historical evaluation of NIFOR (Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research) from 1960 to 2010 using Abak substation as a case study.
According to Etokabasi Akpan, the NIFOR Abak substation has been the fastest-growing substation in Nigeria since its establishment in 1939 by the colonial masters, due to its excellent terrain. From 1964 to 2010, the NIFOR Abak substation has witnessed numerous activities, the majority of which have had an impact on the host community.
In order to determine the degree of change that occurred in the Abak substation of the Nigerian Institute of Oil Palm Research, the institution’s objectives, its mode of operation, its contribution to the host community, and its relationship, this study will focus on continuity and change.
Additionally, the research will focus on oil palm production in the South South region (a region which covers Akwa ibom state).
7 From 1964 (when the institution’s name was changed from WAIFOR to NIFOR) to 2010, the focus is on NIFOR and its impact on the oil palm production in this region and its host community in particular.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Despite the abundance of literature on the culture and history of the Abak people, the history of the Nigerian Institute for oil palm research (NIFOR) in the host community has not received sufficient attention. Particularly following its judicial dispute resolution (consensual processes) with its host community from 2014 to December 2016, when the substation was involved in a court case.
This is especially true in the case of Ibesit-Abak, the host community, which does not appear to have a comprehensive documentary study of NIFOR’s activities and their relations with the host community and its surroundings.
Additionally, Abak is being transformed into a modern society with little or no documentary evidence of the people’s past or the changes brought about by NIFOR’s presence. However, scholars appear to focus more on other NIFOR sub-stations, particularly Benin’s.
The vast majority of the available works on NIFOR Abak are undergraduate theses that cannot be compared to other books on the subject. There are only a few books available on this subject, including WAIFOR farmers booklet No. 1. The activities, accomplishments, and history of the West African Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR). These books, among others, from the Abak substation library examined only the activities, mandate, and mode of operation of NIFOR in Nigeria. All of these without proper reference to Abak, the location of this substation.
This arouses my curiosity and prompts me to ponder why the substation has not received sufficient attention from scholars, particularly in the region where it is located, Ibesit Abak, which is peculiar in terms of its terrain and population.
Moreover, it is of great concern that an agricultural institute such as NIFOR is located in Akwa Ibom while the state continues to import oil palm from other states.
It appears that the institute is not well-known in the state; consequently, farmers in the state do not utilize its full potential.
Why was NIFOR established in Abak as opposed to other locations in the south-south? Does the arrival of NIFOR in Abak affect the host community and the state of Akwa Ibom significantly? Has NIFOR maximized her potential in Abak and the surrounding area?
This research aims to provide substantial answers to these questions and, most importantly, to increase the relevance and visibility of the NIFOR Abak substation, which has been neglected for years.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY;
The following are the objectives of this investigation:
examine NIFOR’s establishment and activities in Abak.
the extent to which this establishment has aided or affected the host community and the state of Akwa Ibom in general.
to conduct a historical analysis of the institution’s relationship with the host community.
To investigate further the way of life of the Abak in order to determine the impact of NIFOR on the region.
As mentioned previously, little research has been conducted on the history of NIFOR, particularly with regard to the Abak substation.
The NIFOR, Abak study will shed light on the transition and growth that followed the institution’s establishment in Abak.
In addition, the researcher believes that this study will assist both present and future generations in gaining a deeper understanding of the history of NIFOR, with a focus on the Abak station in Akwa Ibom state.
Nonetheless, this work will also be useful for students and researchers who wish to conduct additional research in the same field.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY: This research examines the history and activities of NIFOR in Abak through a rigorous investigation and collection of evidence. The research has collected both primary and secondary evidence for historical reconstruction.
For primary evidence, the researcher conducted oral interviews with residents of Ibesit, Abak, and the surrounding towns. This allowed the researcher to analyze and combine the various evidences collected for the reconstruction of this work.
To collect primary data, the researcher interviewed both men and women based on their knowledge and experience regarding the establishment of NIFOR in Abak. The languages used for communication during the interview were English and ibibio.
The researcher also utilized secondary sources of information and data, such as textbooks, articles, newspaper publications, journals, magazines, booklets, and other extant materials obtained from private and public libraries, such as the Nyong Essien library at the University of Uyo, NIFOR, Abak library, and internet retrieval. The research utilized written historical narratives.
This study focuses on the social, economic, and political history of the Abak people, as well as the NIFOR in Abak. The research also focuses on the location of NIFOR, which is Ibesit, Abak, in the Nigerian state of Akwa Ibom. In terms of chronology, the research spans from 1964, when NIFOR was established in Abak, to 2010.
This date was selected because it marked the beginning of a new phase in the host community’s history. As a result of the establishment of NIFOR in Abak, this work commenced.
Nonetheless, the researcher encountered numerous obstacles and limitations during the course of this investigation. including; A lack of funds hindered the collection of extensive data, as money served as an appetizer for interviews. Time also posed a significant obstacle, as it limited my ability to locate additional resources.
Rare or limited research works also motivated the researcher to conduct extensive consultations. Despite the aforementioned restrictions, the researcher has made efforts to circumvent them.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Numerous books, journals, and online articles have contributed to the body of knowledge regarding the Nigerian Institute for oil palm research in Abak over time. However, this study aims to fill the gaps that previous research has left unexplored.
In his work on NIFOR Abak and the Communities, Otoabasi Akpan (2009) states that NIFOR was founded in 1939 with the objectives of breeding improved oil palm, providing food and raw materials for confectionary industries, providing employment opportunities for a large portion of the country and rural communities, providing support through research and employment to the entire palm industries in the country, and improving the standard of living of the people i.
In “Oil Women of Akwa-Ibom States,” Akpan examines the crude methods of oil palm exploitation and emphasizes the palm tree’s significance. He argued that the palm tree contributed to rural livelihood because its plantation yields a variety of useful materials10.
In his book, “The Oil Palm: Reflections on the Natural Habitat of the Oil Palm,” B.A. Ndon describes the environmental conditions conducive to palm fruit growth. And argues that the oil palm was domesticated by various west African inhabitants long before the arrival of Europeans11.
In his book on Tropical Tree Crops, L.K. Opeke notes that oil palm can tolerate even higher temperatures if there is sufficient moisture. It requires a sufficient amount of sunlight; in regions with excessive cloud cover, productivity is diminished. CTA Macmillan added in ‘The Tropical Agriculturist’ that a palm tree thrives under conditions of high relative humidity and that the crop’s yields are negatively affected when exposed to dry harmattan winds13.
Ukwuteno, O., in his Ph.D. thesis on the economics of small-scale oil palm production in the Nigerian state of Akwa Ibom, asserts, among other things, that:
Palm oil is in higher demand than other oils due to its widespread use as a cooking and industrial oil. In addition, the presence of carotenoids in palm oil increases its value. Carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, which is essential for treating night blindness. Palm oil is used as a cooking oil in homes. In the industrial sector, it is used to produce margarine, soap, lubricating oils, and candles.
Palm kernel oil is utilized as a skin lotion or laxative, and when combined with kerosene, as a wood polish. After extracting the oil, the residue, palm kernel cake, makes an excellent animal feed. In Nigeria, palm wine obtained by tapping the palm tree is a popular source of alcoholic beverage. Oil and wine derived from oil palm have medicinal properties14.
In their paper titled Budgetary Requirements for Increased Palm Oil Production in South-Eastern Nigeria, D.G. Ibe and F.I. Nweke estimated the production and demand for palm oil in Nigeria. The outcome demonstrated that demand greatly exceeded supply. In recent years15, the importation of palm oil has been necessitated by the resurging demand for palm oil to meet local consumption demands.
The NIFOR pamphlet on ‘History, Activities, and Accomplishment’ examined the history of the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research, along with its activities which include the planting of mandate crops, achievements and mandates,16 and noted that NIFOR’s work includes the provision of seed that will give rise to palms that will produce bunches of high-yielding, high-quality fruit, and the discovery of the most effective methods of planting and maintaining areas of palms and of extermin
As a contribution to the topic, Asenota emphasized the economic significance of oil palm production. As residents of the south, east, south-south, and a few western states depended solely on the crop, the oil palm industry created enormous employment opportunities, according to him. 18
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF CHAPTERS
The study on the “Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research, Abak” consists of five chapters.
The background of the study, statement of the research problem, objectives of the study, significance of the study, research methodology, scope and limitations, literature review, and chapter organization are presented in the first chapter.
The second chapter provides an analysis of the origin, migration, and settlement patterns of the Abak people.
Chapter three focuses on the founding of NIFOR in Abak.
The fourth chapter emphasizes NIFOR’s contribution to the economy of Akwa Ibom State.
Chapter five contains the work’s summary and conclusion.
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Influence of language contact on students’ oral English academic performance in secondary schools