Ahead of the 2013 edition of the February 21 International Mother Language Day (IMLD), in line with the UNESCO declaration, the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has urged Nigerian parents to endeavour to bring up their children speaking their mother tongues.
Stating this as a guest of the Midday Dialogue 95.1 Nigeria Info on Cool FM 95.1, Abuja, Ayakoroma said this was necessary because when children learn the indigenous languages, they will be proud of themselves, and that IMLD, which was initiated by UNESCO on November 17, 1999, provides a veritable platform to draw the attention of Nigerians to the endangered state of many Nigerian indigenous languages.
According to him, IMLD is aimed at promoting awareness on linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism, and that the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages, formally recognized the day.
Ayakoroma, who hailed UNESCO’s initiative, in the radio programme anchored by the eloquent Inya Ode, said the indigenous languages of any country remain the source of pride and national identity, and that UNESCO had done well by setting aside a particular day for member countries to critically reappraise issues related to Mother tongue.
He disclosed that NICO’s Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) is a platform to encourage people to speak Nigerian indigenous languages, and inculcate in them a sense of pride in the Nigerian nation, foster unity and encourage the need to preserve these languages as well as promoting cultural diplomacy.
He said that NILP helps participants to learn Nigerian culture, because language is culture and culture involves dressing, food, the entire way of life of the people, who speak that language, and urged Nigerian Universities to add indigenous languages in their General Studies Courses.
The ES, who further said indigenous languages are very important, added that this explains why languages remain very powerful instruments for preserving and developing the tangible and intangible heritage of any nation, and that this year’s edition of International Mother Language Day will be hosted by Bayelsa State Government on Thursday, February 21, 2013, in Yenagoa, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education.
Nwagbo Pat Obi