Yoruba language should be made compulsory in primary and secondary schools in South-Western Nigeria, the National Coordinator of Odua Peoples Congress, Gani Adams, has advocated.
Mr. Adams stated this while delivering a lecture titled ‘African Languages at the brink of Extinction: Yoruba as a case study,’ at the press week of the correspondents chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Ogun State Council, Abeokuta.
He argued that that would be the only way for the conservation of the Yoruba, the indigenous language of the people of the area.
He also asked higher institutions in the region, owned by state governments, to make Yoruba a compulsory requirement for candidates seeking admission.
“There is the need for government, parents, schools, policy makers, language planners and other stakeholders to put in place urgent measures that will arrest this unwelcome situation (of extinction),” he said.
Mr. Adams, who also promotes the Olokun Festival Foundation, noted that there was need to create cultural awareness to reposition the language so that an average Yoruba person would be proud of and identify with it.
He also stated the importance of targeting the younger generation in entrenching Yoruba culture and called on parents to revive “the tradition of storytelling to teach morals and cultural values; speak Yorùbá language to their children and encourage the children to do the same as well as regularly clothing them in traditional attires which must not follow the once a year syndrome but as part of their children’s wardrobe.”
He also charged Yoruba academics to endeavour to prepare their dissertations and inaugural speeches in Yoruba.
“It is ironical to see academics in Yorùbá language presenting papers in English; they should be encouraged to write their papers in Yorùbá language instead of English language to lend credence to what they are professing,” he said.
Mr. Adams also advocated the establishment of a Yorùbá academy which, he said, would encourage academic research in Yorùbá culture as well as encourage the translation of some science-oriented subjects into the language.
“It is disheartening to note that some universities in the Southwest of Nigeria do not have departments where Yorùbá language is studied. This should be looked into and addressed adequately,” he said.