altThe Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has stated that knowledge of indigenous language is an advantage to writers, stressing that when writers of all genres deploy the ingredients of indigenous language, before or while writing, it will enrich the beauty and creativity of their works.

The ES, who made this observation on “Talk Your Mind,” a Pidgin English radio programme on Aso Radio 93.5FM in Abuja, anchored by Achi Ejith Kalu, said playwrights, novelists, poets, and short story writers, among others, who, before they write in foreign languages like French and English, perceive their works first from the indigenous language perspective, have the advantage of communicating better to their audience and readers.

He added that if writers make use of the resources of their indigenous language, they will write with confidence, because, they will use proverbs, pithy sayings, idioms, songs, recitations, and so on, and appeal to the society they are writing for, thus promoting the culture of the people.

Dr. Ayakoroma said: “Indigenous language is the local language of a people. Our indigenous languages in Nigeria are our local languages. English is the local language of the British. We use English as our lingua franca. The British colonized us. However, the use of your own local language in whatever you do makes you to be more confident. That is why I am of the view that if we use indigenous languages in teaching in our schools, the students will understand better and faster. If writers, before they write, think of what they want to write or can even put it down in their native languages before writing in English, their works will be so rich in their culture, local beauty and colour. The use of proverbs means richness in wisdom and philosophy. Of course, Chinua Achebe, in his famous and classic novel, Things Fall Apart, said that “proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten.” We have many writers in Africa, who are bilingual writers or even those, who write only in their native language. For instance, Ngugi wa Thiongo is a profesaltsor but he writes in his Gikuyi language.”

While, responding to calls from listeners, who commended the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) organized by NICO, the ES urged Nigerians to enrol in the programme, informing that the Institute will soon look in the direction of expanding the NILP to accommodate those with physical challenges.

His words: “It is our wish in NICO to let all Nigerians benefit in the programme. That is why we call on parents to release their children to enrol, in addition to the parents enrolling themselves. In the case of the visually impaired persons, we will look in that direction. They will need brail. So, we have to think of a strategic plan. The one-month intensive programme has started from 2nd August and it will end on 31st August, 2012, in the six geo-political zones of NICO in Nigeria, in addition to Lagos and Abuja. The languages being offered include, Efik, Fulfide, Gbagyi, Hausa, Igbo, Izon, Nupe, Tiv and Yoruba. The weekend programme will also commence soon, so that people will continue to update themselves till next season.”

It is interesting to note that Aso Radio, owned by Federal Capital Territory Administration, Abuja, is located at Katampe Hill, a place, geographers say, is the centre of Nigeria. After being taken round the place, before the programme, Dr. Ayakoroma said that Katampe Hill be declared a tourist attraction in Nigeria, and that instead of the iron used to mark the particular spot that is the centre of Nigeria, the Nigerian flag should be mounted there, as virtually all the areas, phases and places in Abuja: Maitama, Wuse, Bwari, Lugbe, Gwarimpa, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Stadium, and so on, are seen while on top of the hill.  

Nwagbo Nnenyelike
Corporate Affairs