The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, has commended the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, for sustaining a vigorous pursuit of the mandate of the Institute, since he assumed office as the helmsman of NICO two years ago.
Chief Duke gave this commendation as Special Guest of Honour at the closing ceremony of the Institute’s Abuja edition of the one-month long vacation Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), held on Monday, 3rd September, 2012, at the National Merit House, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja.
The Minister, who was represented at the occasion by the Director of Planning, Research and Documentation in the Ministry, Mr. Chudi Uwandu, stated that NICO is at the vanguard in the Nigerian Indigenous Language Project, as the Institute is not only according the programme priority attention, but also ensuring that several Nigerian languages are taught annually.
He noted also that the Institute, over the years, had encouraged the use of indigenous languages for inter-secondary school competitions and debates in some of its zonal offices, across the country, a gesture which would go a long way in stimulating the interest of students and youths to learn Nigerian indigenous languages.
Furthermore, Chief Duke stated that because of the critical importance of our indigenous languages, as vehicles for the promotion and transmission of Nigeria’s culture from one generation to another, the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, has designed robust strategies to make our indigenous languages relevant in our socio-political, economic and educational endeavours.
According to him, since language is a versatile medium of communication, Nigerian indigenous languages could be used to effectively communicate our emphasis on the much desired cultural re-orientation and resuscitation of our moral as well as ethical values as a people, and that the Ministry, at its 8th National Council on Tourism, Culture and National Orientation Meeting, held in Ilorin, Kwara state, recently, gave a boost to the NICO Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme by acknowledging the laudable efforts of the Institute in promoting Nigerian indigenous, by urging states of the federation to provide the needed support in the area of qualified teachers for the teaching of Nigerian languages.
The Honourable Minister also reiterated his belief that if the promotion and development strategies of our indigenous languages are painstakingly implemented and Nigerians take pride in learning and speaking these indigenous languages, they would be insulated from the threat of extinction.
Earlier in his welcome address, ES, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, said that the Institute was delighted and encouraged by the enthusiasm and response shown by the general public towards the Nigerian indigenous language programme, which had witnessed by the remarkable increase in the number of participants that included primary school children, secondary school students, members of the Para-military institutions, media houses, house wives and diplomats.
Dr. Ayakoroma said the importance the Institute attached to the Nigerian indigenous Language Programme (NILP) necessitated the submission of a memo to the National Council on Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, at its last meeting in Ilorin, Kwara state, requesting council members to support the programme in their various states by providing technical assistance in the area of qualified teachers.
He noted that support from states would go a long way to help and facilitate the take-off of the weekend study of the Nigerian indigenous language programme in the various states, making it convenient for a greater number of people to participate while several minority languages would also be covered.
The NICO boss said the Institute is convinced that with increased awareness and patronage of the programme, many Nigerian indigenous languages would be revived and serve as a veritable media for the transmission of our rich cultural heritage.
Jonathan N. Nicodemus