Can communication support development? Yes, communication can. That is, there are ways by which development can be communicated as to become a consensus in a polity. This seems to be no more where the argument is but the question of a success story of a pioneer and the success recorded.
That would appear to be the gap that Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria senior academic, Prof Oga Steve Abah, is set to fill when he delivers his Inaugural Lecture later this week. In the age in which language is held to be performative, the story of a practitioner of language performing development might be the story the world is waiting to hear. In this case, it is not just language but ‘the truthful lie’, (apologies to Prof Biodun Jeyifo, the author of the book of that title).
There is no knowing what this particular Inaugural Lecture would do to the image of ABU, Zaria as well as the rapidly declining image of the entire university system. It promises to stand out, coming from a member of that generation of Nigerian academics who have paid their dues, locally and globally. Prof Abah is not a product of rural journals and Festschrift. Above all, the Development Communication innovation started under his watch along with a few others at ABU not long ago. Nothing less than a very rich ‘story’ is thus expected in an area such as Theatre/Performing Arts which is at the centre of popular culture and, therefore, to materialising Nigeria as a power.