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INFLUENCE OF LANGUAGE CONTACT AND STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN ORAL ENGLISH IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN UYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The Area presently known as Nigeria existed as distinct autonomous regions. It was thus recognized as; the western region, eastern region and the northern region respectively. Each regions was rich in natural resources, that their environmental conditions had substantial impacts on the said regions.1 Notable in this regard was the oil palm belt (Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ondo, Calabar, Edo, Akwa ibom, among others) whose environment appeared favorable to oil palm production. Available evidence suggested that oil palm trees flourishes when planted in deep, slightly acidic loamy soil with P5.6, under a climate condition of humid tropics with 250 cm rainfall.2
Historically, Nigeria alongside her west African neighbors used to be the centre of oil palm production, accounting for west Africa alone export of 157,000 tones of palm kernel, of which 73% came from Nigeria alone.3 Agriculture had been and still remains a very important sector in Nigeria leading to the establishment of Agricultural research Institute in Nigeria, which started formally with the establishment of a botanical garden in Lagos, during the late 19th century. This garden was part of a network of gardens, established under British rule, focusing on the introduction of new crops. In 1903, the forestry and Botanical Department (renamed 'agricultural department') for Southern Nigeria was created. In 1912, it was divided into two regional departments, resulting in the establishment of a Department of Agriculture for Northern Nigeria. And in 1914, following the unification of Nigeria, the two departments were merged to form a new Department of Agriculture. Progress was made in terms of infrastructure and human resources, resulting in new research stations, more research personnel, and a more technical research program that included plant breeding and plant pathology. However, research continued to focus, on export crops; like oil palm, rubber, cotton, and cocoa. The oil palm rehabilitation scheme (OPRS) therefore became the major Agricultural scheme for the eastern Nigerian ministry of Agriculture during 1962-1968 development plan.4
Indeed, agricultural research remained, the domain of the local colonial government until world war2, when the British government sought a more active role in the promoting Science and technology in its colonies, which led to the creation of several regional agricultural research institutions in West Africa which complemented existing facilities and as part of the West Africa Inter-territorial Research Organization (WAIFRO). Three of these are "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) located in Nigeria5. With independence in 1960, the regional institutes were nationalized and the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (NITR), Nigerian Stored Product Research Institute (NSPRI) and Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) came on board. With Independence of member countries and dissolution of WARO, a new legislation changed the name WAIFOR to NAIFOR by the Nigeria Institute Act No.33, 1964. NAIFOR, then charged with the responsibility of undertaking research not only with the oil palm but also into other economic palms such as coconut, raphia, date and ornamental palms.6 For the purposes of undertaking research into and investigation of problems and matter relating to the oil palm and its product, and for the provision of information and advice relating to the oil palm- NIFOR pamphlet on History, Activities, and Achievement.
NIFOR, however, had its different sub-stations in; Benin, Dutse, Badagry, Degema and Abak. The Abak sub-station is however for palm oil. In the light of the above, this study, seeks to conduct a historical evaluation of NIFOR (Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research), with Abak substation, as a case study from 1960-2010.
Being the fastest growing sub-station in Nigeria, since its establishment in 1939 by the colonial masters, because of its excellent terrain according to Etokabasi Akpan, the NIFOR Abak substation has since 1964 up till 2010 experienced several activities, and most of which have influenced the host community.
Hence, this studies will place more emphasis on changes and continuity in order to ascertain the degree of changes that occurred in Abak substation of the Nigerian Institute of Oil Palm Research, the institution's objectives, it's mode of operation, its contribution to the host community, as well as it's relationship.
The research will also, give attention to oil palm production in the South South region (a region which covers Akwa ibom state).7 Thus, focusing on NIFOR , and it impacts on the oil palm production in this area and its host community in particular from 1964 (when it the institution name changed from WAIFOR to NIFOR) till 2010.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Regardless of the volume of literatures on the culture and history of the Abak people, the history of the Nigerian Institute for oil palm research (NIFOR) in the host community, is yet to receive enough attention. Particularly, following its judicial dispute resolution (consensual processes) in 2014 to December 2016, where the sub-station faced a court case, with its host community.
This is particular with the case of Ibesit- Abak, the host community, which at the moment seem to have no comprehensive documentary study of the NIFOR activities, and in relations with the host community and her environs.
Additionally, Abak is being transformed into a modern society with a little or no documentary evidence of the people's past and the changes in which the presence of NIFOR brought into Abak. However, scholars seems to pay more attention on other NIFOR sub-station particularly that of Benin.
The much available works on NIFOR Abak are mostly first degree project which cannot be compared to other books on the subject matter. There are only few available books on these subject matter among which include, WAIFOR farmers booklet No 1. The work of the west African institute for oil palm research, Bendel Newspaper Corporation; NIFOR history, Activities and Achievements. These books among others, derived from the Abak substation library, examined briefly, only the activities of NIFOR in Nigeria its mandate, and mode of operation. All of these, without due reference to Abak, where this particular substation is located.
Arising from this is the curiosity that comes to mind and raises some mind bugging question on why the substation has not attracted adequate attention from scholars, and especially the area in which it is located 'Ibesit Abak' which is peculiar in relation to its terrain and people.
Furthermore, it is of great concern as to the reason such agricultural institute as (NIFOR) is located in Akwa ibom yet the state still source for oil palm produce from other states .It thus appears that, the institute is not really known in the state, hence, its full potential is not fully utilized by farmers in the state.
More relevant questions include: why was NIFOR established in Abak, amongst other south south locations? does, the arrival of NIFOR in Abak, bring about a notable change in the host community and Akwa Ibom state in general? has, NIFOR explored her full potential in Abak and her environs?
This research, thus seeks to provide substantial answers to these questions and most importantly, to make NIFOR Abak substation, gain more relevance and attention, particularly after being neglected for years.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY;
The following constitute the objectives of this research;
- 1. to examine the establishment and activities of NIFOR in Abak.
- 2. to reveal to which extent this establishment has aided or affected the host community, and Akwa Ibom State at large.
- 3. to conduct a historical evaluation of the relationship of the institution with the host community.
- 4. to further examine the life of Abak people to ascertain the impact of NIFOR in the region.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY;
As mentioned earlier, little work has been done on the history of NIFOR most especially with reference to the Abak substation.
The study of NIFOR, Abak, will provide insights into the transiting and development that follows the establishment of the institution in Abak.
Furthermore, the researcher believes that this research will aid both present and future generations to enhance their knowledge concerning the history of NIFOR with particular reference to the Abak station in Akwa Ibom state.
Nevertheless, this work will also assist people, student and researchers alike who may want to carry out further investigations into this same field.
1.5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY:
This research study is exposed to rigorous investigation and collection of evidence on the history and activities of NIFOR in Abak, The research has collected and gathered both primary and secondary evidences for historical reconstruction for primary evidences, the researcher conducted oral interviews with the people of Ibesit, Abak and also with the neighboring towns. This made it possible for the researcher to merge and analyses the different evidences being collected for the reconstruction of this work.
The researcher interviewed both men and women based on their knowledge and experience regarding the establishment of NIFOR in Abak, to obtain primary source of data. The language of communication during the interview was English language and ibibio language.
The researcher also made use of secondary source of information and data which includes textbooks, articles, newspaper publications, journals, magazines, booklets and other extant materials obtained from private and public libraries such as Nyong Essien library university of Uyo, NIFOR, Abak library, as well as internet retrieval. The research made use of historical narrative in writing