Prince Ade Ajayi Foundation (PAAF) Centre for Constitutional Literacy and Civic Education, says it has concluded translations of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution in Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo languages.
He said arrangements had been concluded to launch the translated copies.
Ajayi, President of PAAF, said at a news conference in Lagos on Friday, that translation of the constitution into three indigenous languages, took six years to be completed.
He said the six-year-long translations were aimed at promoting national orientation, unity and integration and would be formally launched on Nov. 25.
He said a book titled: ‘I Love Nigeria, My Country’, would also be launched by the foundation to bring back the spirit of patriotism among Nigerians, to accelerate national cohesion, growth and development.
“Of 4,000 Nigerians randomly sampled in urban areas, over 80 per cent had never seen or read in whole or part, a soft or hard copy of the 1999 constitution.
“Of those who had, more than half could not recall what they had read. The statistics in rural areas are abysmal, largely due to literacy levels.
“We believe that the first step in national orientation is adequate civic education. This cannot take place where citizens do not have access to the one document that can most wholesomely, inform them,” he said.
According to him, the foundation is poised on nation-building through inculcating new mindset in the youths, to pull down the strongholds of ethnic sentiments.
Ajayi said that apart from making the constitution accessible in indigenous languages, the foundation was also creating audio versions of it for the unlettered, to create awareness about citizen’s rights, responsibilities and obligations to the nation.
“It is to encourage accountability of public office holders, to check abuse or fundamental human rights, to foster national unity and boost national integration as well as to protect and ensure interests of all groups.
“The book, ‘I Love Nigeria, My Country’ and the interpretation of Nigerian constitution in indigenous languages, is one out of many projects to promote a positive social advancement and youths empowerment.
“The task of constitutional literacy and civic education is not a sprint; it is a marathon we will continue until the constitution is available in every Nigerian language and every home has at least a copy in their preferred languages,” Ajayi added.
Ajayi said that many developing countries underestimated the role of the citizens’ knowledge of their rights and responsibilities in the discourse of national development.
He said that political observers in and out of Nigeria believed that the country was challenged because the vast majority of youths and adults, did not have a working understanding of her constitution, let alone their civic responsibilities. (NAN)