05 March 2007

The Wa-Zo-Bia Naira

'Wa - Zo - Bia, wa lede meta'

Those lyrics are from an Ebenezer Obey or I.K. Dairo song? Anyone?
I just saw pictures of the new Naira notes on the BBC website. The look nice and all that, but I wonder was it necessary? Really? I mean the cost of producing the notes and coins (which apparently cost more than notes) fine the notes have a host of 'relevant' security features ... After further digging I found out that the arabic writing on the notes had been removed and the new notes carry writings in Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa. I have often wondered what the Arabic writing on the notes mean't but have not been sufficiently motivated to ask. Since a lot more people speak/read either Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa as opposed to Arabic it does make more sense to have text on our national currency in those languages and assuming the 'Wa-Zo-Bia' renderings on the notes are a direct translation of the Arabic text I guess I will have my answer as soon as I can get a close up of the new notes. I must also admit its a small albeit relevant victory for Christians.

9 comments:

mochafella said...

The script is/was the denomination of the currency note in Hausa written in Arabic. i.e. The script on the 5 Naira note was "Naira Biyar" which is Hausa for 5 Naira.

Not many Northerners were literate enough in written Hausa or English when the old notes were designed, hence the Arabic script. That is apparently not the case anymore hence the change. I doubt it was some Islamic conspiracy, afterall the numbers 0-9 used on the notes have Arab origins.

Some individuals true to their nature are already wondering aloud why its only 3 languages on the currency. This as with the Arabic issue is more about what's practical than anything else.

Chxta said...

Mochafella took the words out of my mouth...

Let me just add that even Yoruba for example was first written using the Arabic script. People should learn to divorce issues of religion from issues of politics.

adefunke said...

@mochafella - Nigerians will always be Nigerians! If everyone had there way each bill would be the size of A3 abi Na A2 paper with every language represented.

@Chxta - For real? Yoruba was first written using Arabic script? Interesting.

Chxta said...

Yes. Then the script was called Ajami...

adefunke said...

@Chxta - Ajami? Aren't you mixing Yoruba up with Hausa?

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Yup, I believe Ajami is Hausa, as well. Some research I did last year indicated that Ajami is simply Hausa written in Arabic script as has been noted by other commenters.

Anonymous said...

It may intrest you to know that the Muslims council in Nigeria have protested the removal of the arabic inscription and have ordered CBN to promptly put it back on the notes!!!
Wonders will never end in Nigeria, we just like to jump on the band wagon of making a mountain out of a mole hill on inconsequencial topics/events!
Modupe

mochafella said...

Apparently we still have illiterates on that council. Haven't seen their reasons for the demand, I doubt they can be valid, they should take a hike.

adefunke said...

I really hope this will not again lead to the senseless killing of non-muslims in the North.