The Emir of Lafiagi, HRH Alhaji Sa’adu Kawu Haliru, has commended the Federal Government for creating the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), whose mandate, among others, is to save Nigerian indigenous languages from going into extinction.
The Royal Father, who was represented by the Madami of Lafiagi, Alhaji Aliyu Baba, said the leadership of NICO, under Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has left an indelible mark in the entire Nupe kingdom, for organizing an Inter-Secondary School Debate in Nupe language.
He added that the large number of Nupe people that had assembled at the venue of Edu Local Government Area preliminaries was heart-rending as many parents shed tears of joy, seeing their children challenging themselves in the mother tongue.
The Emir said the debate, at its preliminary stage, which impressively brought the whole secondary schools in Edu and Patigi LGAs together, has not only helped in building unity among the youths and parents in Nupe land, but also made clear the centrality of the survival of the people and their pride of place in the Nigerian nation, and urged public-spirited individuals, cultural or community groups, state and local government, and the political authorities to contribute toward reversing the language decline.
Former Councillor and current Edu LGA National Orientation Agency (NOA) Coordinator, Hon. Abdullahi Hassan, who was the chairman of the occasion, said, as a Nupe man, he was highly elated because of the giant step NICO had taken in protecting the pride of his people, and that the people were profoundly happy in seeing the deliberate efforts at revitalizing the Nupe language.
Earlier in his welcome address, NICO North-Central Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Ibrahim Lawal, urged the students to see the debate more of an opportunity to improve their ability to speak their indigenous language, among others, rather than being a do-or-die competition.
The results showed that in Edu LGA, 14 schools contested with eight schools emerging as winners for the second round; in Patigi LGA, eight schools out of 15 schools progressed to the semi-final stage; while there were also cultural groups from the schools that thrilled the teaming spectators to traditional dances and fashion parade.
Also present at the opening ceremony were Rani Lafiagi, Alhaji Baba Bello; Principal GSS Lafiagi, Chief A. J. Gana; Registrar, College of Education (Technical), Lafiagi, Alhaji Yakubu Mohammed; Principals of Secondary Schools, members and leaders of various communities in Edu.
Naseer Saeed Atiegba