The Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has admonished parents not to discourage their children from choosing to study their mother tongue in institutions of higher learning.
Ayakoroma, who made this call in Akure, Ondo State capital, on Tuesday, August 16, 2011, at the official opening of the Institute’s ongoing Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), the third in its series in the South-West zone, reiterated that the programme is one that will create an opportunity for non-indigenes to study the language of their host communities towards peaceful co-existence in the country.
In his words: “NICO believes that the study of a second language by Nigerians will help to foster social integration and unity among Nigerians, as it will engender better understanding”.
The NICO boss, who appreciated the sustenance of the programme in the zone for the past three years, also lauded the maiden edition “Yoruba Quiz Schools Challenge” initiative of the Zonal office in October 2010, where a total of 16 secondary schools from the three Senatorial Zones in Ondo State participated.
According to him, the initiative is such that will encourage our youths to speak and study their mother tongue in higher institutions as it has been argued that the failure to implement the National Policy on Education (NPE) as regards using mother tongue as the medium for teaching in our schools is due to the dearth of indigenous language teachers.
In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, who decried that Nigerian indigenous languages are dying due to lack of usage and neglect, however commended NICO for organizing the language training programme at a time when it has dawned on the nation that indigenous languages are going out of usage.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Dr. Laide Adewakun, the Governor said the drive by the Institute in reawakening the teaching and speaking of Nigerian indigenous languages is a welcome development and further assured of his administration’s support in the sustenance of the programme so that it does not fizzle out.
Also expressing joy over the NILP initiative, the Chairman Ijaw community Arogbo, Chief Francis Jibowu Williams, joined his voice with others to say that the beauty of Nigeria is in its diversity, stressing that language remains the greatest criterion for cultural identification.
The Ijaw leader, who prayed that God should strengthen the management of NICO under the leadership of Dr. Ayakoroma so that the Institute will continue to have programmes to re-orient Nigerians on our cultural values, further pledged to sponsor all Ijaws that will participate in the indigenous language programme that will be on for the next one month: “I am going to take responsibility to pay for all Ijaw children who are going to register for this programme”.
Other traditional leaders who were present at the occasion were the Sarki Hausawa, Abdulahi Abdulmalik, the Eze Ndigbo, Akure, Igwe Chinyere Eze, and the Secretary of Egbe Akomolede ati asa Yoruba, Sir Wale Omoseebi.
On the entourage of the Executive Secretary were Prince Bamidele Olusa (Director of Orientation and Cultural Affairs), Hon. Ebi Campbell (Deputy Director/SA to the ES), and Mr. Alex Omijie (Assistant Director, Protocol), among others.