The Honourable Minister for Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, has noted that the role of indigenous languages in Nigeria cannot be taken lightly as they promote good governance just as he commended NICO’s Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) as a veritable programme.
Stating this at the opening ceremony of the 2011 Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) in Abuja, the Minister said that the role of indigenous languages informed efforts by the Federal Government to preserve them.
According to Minister, who was represented by the Director of Culture in the Ministry, Alhaji Mukhtar Sanni Abdulkadir, the role of traditional language cannot be overemphasized, and that, “African society and the culture have found vivid expression in all aspects of the people’s lives of which our indigenous languages play significant role. It is interesting to note that the interface between language and good governance is not only fascinating as it provides an avenue for measuring the obligation of rulers to their subjects and to what extent the interest of those that are governed are protected. Communication between the government and the subjects could only be projected by language. Language plays a major role to all the sectors.’’
Commending NICO for the initiative, the Minister added: “This is an auspicious occasion. It is an annual programme geared towards re-awakening the need to promote, appreciate and speak our indigenous languages, in line with the Federal Government National Policy on Culture, which stresses the need for conscious and concerted efforts by all levels of Government to promote the teaching of our indigenous languages and inclusion of the same in the school curricular.’’
Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, said the language programme was aimed at teaching the various Nigerian languages, in order to inculcate in the Nigerians the ability to speak one or more Nigerian languages.
Dr. Ayakoroma added that the programme was also necessitated by the fact that Nigerian indigenous languages are among the cherished tangible and intangible cultural values and norms that are gradually going into extinction due to neglect and challenges of globalization.
In this regard, he called on the participants of the four-week intensive programme, which will take place in the NICO Headquarters, 23 Kigoma Street, Wuse Zone 7, Abuja, to make sure that they have something to show at the end of the period.
An ex-student of the NILP, His Royal Majesty, Alhaji Shaban Audu (Nizozo III), Etsu Nupe, who was the Royal Father of the Day, in his goodwill message corroborated the view of the ES, and urged participants to make sure that they do not miss class for one day, because the interesting thing in the programme is to capture all the Resource Persons would teach.
On his part, the chairman of the occasion, Professor Tijani Ismail, the Provost of Federal College of Education, Zuba, urged Nigerians to use the opportunity provided by NICO as countries like China, Brazil, India, and Japan, have used their indigenous languages to excel, so Nigeria needs “to re-energize and rekindle interest in indigenous languages for socio-economic development of the nation.’’
The event, which took place at Merit House, Aguiyi Ironsi Way, Maitama-Abuja, attracted several dignitaries, which included, the Honourable Minister for Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, represented by Alhaji Mukhtar Sanni Abdulkadir, the Director of Culture in the Ministry, NICO Board Chairman, Ambassador Ibrahim Abubakar Ganyama, represented by Barr. Abayomi Oyelola, mni, the Director of Administration and Human Resources, NICO, the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, His Royal Majesty, Alhaji Shaban Audu (Nizozo III) Etsu Nupe, Professor Tijani Ismail, the Provost of Federal College of Education, Zuba, among others.