US 'soft power' diplomacy. Now in pidgin.
Publish Date: Feb 11, 2014
US 'soft power' diplomacy. Now in pidgin.
Amb James F. Entwistle presenting credentials to Nigerias head of state, Goodluck Jonathan
  • mail
  • img

LAGOS - As a career diplomat he would be expected to be able to converse in several foreign languages but it's doubtful that Nigerian Pidgin English would be one of them.
Yet the US ambassador to Nigeria took to the airwaves to speak in the vernacular about the most pressing issues between the two nations, from gay rights and presidential elections to visa rules.
"Me I no talk say sanction go dey for Nigeria," James F. Entwistle told presenter "Oga Madam" on a recent visit to Wazobia FM, the Lagos radio station that broadcasts entirely in the English-based patois.
"Make I repeat myself, the US government no say sanction go dey for Nigeria because of same-sex palava o."
In other words, the US was not planning sanctions against Nigeria for passing a recent law banning same-sex marriages and civil partnerships despite the furore it has caused abroad.
Nor, he said, did Washington have a preferred candidate for next year's elections, at which incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan's ruling party is expected to be pushed hard by the main opposition.
"First make I tell you say US no get any candidate for mind," he said, according to the weekly English-language news magazine, Tell.
"The only thing wey go sweet us be say make the election dey transparent, credible and concluded."
The US consulate in Lagos confirmed in an email to AFP that the quotes attributed to the ambassador were correct.
"He knows a few words and phrases and received assistance from the staff to do the interview," a spokeswoman added.
The linguistic prowess of the ambassador -- whose profile on the US Embassy website lists him as a French and Thai speaker -- provoked a response from listeners.
Some were amused that a middle-aged white man in a suit was speaking the language of the street, Tell reported.
"Oyinbo man talk am for Pidgin and laugh wan kill me die. Lol," wrote one listener. (The white man is talking pidgin. I'm laughing so much I might die.)

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Pope Francis lauds Uganda on refugees
Within two hours of his arrival in Uganda, the pearl of Africa, Pope Francis while making a keynote speech at State House Entebbe, lauded Uganda for ''showing outstanding concern for refugees...
NRM denies ferrying supporters to Museveni rallies
THE NRM deputy spokesperson Ofwono Opondo has refuted reports that the party campaign team ferries supporters to form big crowds during President Yoweri Museveni''s rallies...
EC bans biased voter education ‘topowa’ campaign
The Electoral Commission (EC) had banned what it termed as a biased voter education ‘topowa' campaign....
Below is the Vatican-provided translation of the homily Pope Francis gave during Mass this morning at the campus of the University of Nairobi....
Pope slams rich elite over
Pope Francis lashed out at wealthy minorities who hoard resources at the expense of the poor as he visited a crowded slum Friday in the Kenyan capital....
Pope to clerics: Follow Christ to the Cross
The Pope says that religious leaders need to follow Christ to the Cross during their lives, but then need not fret, for He will take care of the rest....
Is Uganda ready for the pope's visit?
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter