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Translation as a vehicle for effective communication has contributed in so many ways in education, information dissemination, cultural transfer, etcetera. However, in the rural area where majority are not literate in the use of English language, translation seems not to have been effectively utilized as government communicates to the teeming population there mainly in the English language, which is the country’s official language. As a result, there is a total breakdown in communication as the masses are kept in the dark about activities of government, some of which require participation by the people. This has devastatingly affected the pace of rural development. The question is whether translated materials can enhance information dissemination at the rural area considering that many people can hardly read materials written in their indigenous language? This study intends to provide answer to this question. In the end, we hope to contribute towards the efficiency of local government system as a veritable tool for grassroots mobilization. We investigated the impact of Igbo translation of the law stopping all forms of traditional/ cultural maltreatment against anyone who loses spouse and the law permitting women to bear children by the Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL). We were guided by five research questions and four hypotheses in the formulation of the questionnaires used in gathering information. We first used systematic sampling technique to select the 15 Local Governments sampled for this study and later applied random sampling technique to distribute the questionnaires. Our analyses were presented in tables with each table accompanied by a description of the decision arising from the analyses. We presented summary of our findings based on the result of our analyses. Our conclusion is that the people at the rural area are not always aware of the translated versions of government policies and programmes. As a result, translation has not contributed much in information dissemination at the rural area. Government should therefore ensure that these policies and programmes, which are originally in the English language, are translated into the indigenous languages and circulated widely to the people for their understanding and appreciation. We made some recommendations which we hope will help to ameliorate the problems.


1.1      Background of the Study

Many researchers have in the past looked at various uses of translation in solving problems of the society. For example, there have been studies on the use of translation in literature (literary translation), the communicative use of translation where issues such as ‘Translation in Nigerian Languages for the Mass, Print and Electronic Media’, etcetera were treated. This current study has tried to focus on local government system with a view to finding out the relevance of translation in bridging communication gap in the local area.

Local government system was established in Nigeria for the main aim of bringing government activities closer to the people at the grassroots level. It was believed that by creating the local government system, the people at the grassroots will always be aware of government policies and programmes and be able to participate in government activities for the good of the rural area. Nwokike (2006:232) captures this fact where he observes that local governments serve two broad purposes of:

1.     enabling many public services to be provided at a level nearer to the people whom the services benefit;

2.     enabling local political opinion to be organized and expressed

Oyediran (1998:40) also succinctly present the reasons for the creation of

Local Government as follows:

1.              Local Government is created to provide certain basic services for the citizens at the local level;


2.              Local government is the nearest government to the citizens at the local level;

3.              Through local government, local people jointly solve common problems and needs, which could not be solved by the individual alone;

4.              Local government gives the citizens the opportunity to practice democracy;

5.              Local government is a useful instrument for the central and state governments in the governance of a country.

The Political Bureau set up by the Babangida administration in 1986 in its main report (Report of the Political Bureau, March 1987:120) acknowledged this fact where it stated that local government is a viable instrument for rural transformation and for the delivery of social services to the people. The Bureau further states that local governments are best equipped to transform rural areas as a result of the following factors:

1.     Proximity to the people: - People at the grassroot are only able to understand and organize local government because they are able to feel its presence and impact on their day-to-day activities.

2.     Responsiveness: - A government operating at the grassroot level is more likely to be attuned to the needs of the people.

3.     Simplicity of Operation: - Local government organizations are usually not complex and generally do not really require sophisticated and highly qualified personnel for effective performance.

Problem, however, arises where more than half of the populations at the grassroots are not literate in English language, which is the official


language of Nigeria. Momoh (1993) in Akeredolu-Ale (1993:16) notes that this situation forces the rural communities to play a secondary role, usually as observers, rather than active participants in matters affecting their lives.

Since more than half of the population cannot understand English language, how then can information on policies and programmes of government be communicated to them? How can information on the happenings around the world be communicated to them at this period of globalization? The need for proper information dissemination cannot be over-emphasized. The world is presently a global village whereby whatever affects people in one part affects other people in other parts. A case at hand is the recent economic meltdown, which affected the entire world, and every nation is seriously battling to come out of it. The stock market was affected both locally and internationally.

The purpose of a particular act of communication, according to Knowles in Hickey (1998:103), may be to transmit to somebody a message, which results in the increment of the recipient’s knowledge. Umanah in Akeredolu-Ale (1993:163) also succinctly identifies that the central purpose of communication is the mobilization of the rural population for rural development.

Language is a vehicle for communication, but language for communication must be one that must be understood by the receiver of the information, otherwise, there would be communication gap. Communication gap is mainly caused by language barrier and illiteracy (Okigbo and Nsiegbunam, 2000:290; Nwokike, 2006:55; James, Ode and


Soola (1990) quoted by Oden in Ndimele, 2004:126; Oden in Ndimele, 2004:126). T

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