Jide Badmus
4 min readApr 10, 2022


My colleagues say I sit on the fence a lot. As if that is a comfortable space to be. It is generally believed to be the worst place to be, especially in this time when everyone seems to have an opinion on everything.

I have learned to be comfortable with not knowing. To be bold to express my ignorance and seek knowledge. To be diplomatic when dealing with issues involving bosses and elders. So, yes, I sit on the fence when I have to.

I have grown to know that reality doesn’t give you the luxury of making a simple choice between black or white — life is a brutal spectrum. So, I manoeuvre the terrains like a chameleon.

On this fence, all I’m saying is, I don’t know — I need time to process things. All I’m saying is, the truth is not white, it’s stained with reasons, decisions men are made to take in a fraction of a second, under pressure. Lies are not dark, sometimes they come from the softest of places — love, empathy and loyalty.


We seemingly have opinions on everything. Perhaps, because we feel the need to take a position. And it’s okay. It’s a bold way to live. However, when your opinion is dismissive of every alternate reasoning or experience, it becomes rude and arrogant. Your thoughts are not sacrosanct — your experiences are peculiar, not necessarily a template for others.

These are times when people are perpetually angry, so it was not much of a surprise when I saw a post on Facebook scolding parents whose children cannot speak their language. It irked me but as usual, I would rather jump and pass, Terry-G style and present my thoughts on my personal space. I personally don’t think people should be called names or abused based on their choices — wrong or right. We make honest mistakes, other times, we are at the mercy of pure ignorance…

A part of the post talked about parents who take pride in the fact that their wards only speak English and cannot hold a conversation in their supposed mother tongue. I agree it’s not a thing of pride. Yet, it’s not a thing of shame.

Language is a natural phenomenon, less of an academic endeavour. Children pick up words and expressions from conversations around them. The environment plays a huge part in the language a child speaks. I am a Yoruba Demon married to an Urhobo Angel — neither of us can speak pidgin fluently. So, English is our official language.

The first hurdle here is, babe doesn’t understand Yoruba neither do I Urhobo. Another issue, if we are so bent on teaching them a local language, is, which do we choose? Many would quickly say the husband’s — because in a Yoruba marriage, the wife and children naturally adopt ‘Citizenship’. But, really, for kids who spend more time with their mum, isn’t it easier to learn the mother’s language? Let’s not even talk of the unfairness of having the woman discard almost everything from her roots on the premise of marriage.

I make efforts to teach Nora a Yoruba word in a week — whatever she knows, her sister picks fast. Yea, Nicole adores her that much. But the reality is, sometimes life hits you beyond thinking of what language your kids speak, as long as they can communicate with you and with the world at large. As long as their needs are met — that’s paramount.

Tell me, in the scheme of things, what advantage do I have as a Yoruba speaker? I can’t even navigate the market in Oraifite — pidgin was the saviour! Funny enough, many who advocate for speaking the local languages would frown at letting their wards speak pidgin.


We have come to a place where we demonize anything English or American in a bid to preach a revival of our dying culture. I have always maintained that a culture that does not evolve dies. It’s not about doing things the same way our fathers did. Our travels need to impact on the evolution of our culture. If it doesn’t, that’s our fault — not the British who forced their ways on us through colonization nor the Americans who have corrupted our media.

We cite China, amidst other blooming nations, who didn’t allow Western culture influence. We want science and medicine to be taught in local dialects. We want offices to swap suit and ties for traditional attires. We forget the peculiarity of this entity called Nigeria. Here, without English we can’t even interrelate. Without English, pidgin would not have breathed life — we don’t even have a fusion, a blend of our dominant languages.

It’s about value, relevance — what advantages do these cultural practices give the average man? If we can bring our culture to global relevance, there would be no need for sermons.



Jide Badmus

Author of 5 Poetry Books (and several chapbooks). Poetry Editor, Con-scio Magazine.