The Etsu Patigi, His Royal Highness Alhaji Ibrahim Chatta Umar, has said that debate in indigenous languages among the younger generation is critical to the preservation of our indigenous language, restoring culture, bridging knowledge gaps, and enhancing ethnic identity and unity.
The paramount ruler stated this at the Finals of the Inter-Secondary Debate in Nupe Language at the Cultural Centre, Patigi, noting that the debate had not only brought to the knowledge of the society areas of lapses in daily interaction, especially among the younger generation in Nupe land, but also widened the scope of traditional knowledge among youths today.
The Etsu Patigi, who was represented by Mallam Mohammed Solau Patigi, appreciated the efforts of NICO in awakening the consciousness of the people of Nupe kingdom to the pride of their land, the first of its kind, because the use of native language was like a therapy as the use of specific native words expressed love and caring, and called on the Federal Government to empower the Institute for improved performance.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of NICO, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, said the debate and other programmes of NICO were contributing to the protection of the pride of future generations and were ways of reviving our deteriorating languages, and encouraged the younger generation to use what was still known of their language.
Ayakoroma, who was represented by the North-Central Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Ibrahim Lawal, added that our indigenous languages mirrored our identity and constitute an integral part of culture.
Also speaking, the Chairman of All-Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), Mr. Zhiri Josiah, opined that losing a language or its deterioration deprived humanity of a part of our universal human heritage.
Zhiri, who is also the Principal of GSS, Tamkpafu, said the Inter-Secondary School Debate in Nupe language had not only enriched the knowledge of the students, teachers, parents and the society, but had also enriched the libraries of every secondary school that participated with textbooks of various titles on culture-related matters.
Highlights of the occasion were the presentation of gifts and Award of Certificates to Patigi Secondary School that came first with 75%, while Unique Faith Progressive Secondary School, Lade, came second with 69.8%, and Etsu Aliyu Secondary School, Tsaragi, took the third position with 68.3%.
A total number of 107 textbooks on culture and related subjects of various titles were given out as gifts to the 23 secondary schools that participated in the debate to enrich their libraries just as Certificates of Excellence and Participation were presented to the schools and the 43 students that took part in the debate.
As part of the event’s cultural entertainment, there were dress parade in different ethnic groups in the two Local Government Areas, traditional dances, and miming of songs.
Dignitaries at the occasion included the palace subjects, Mallam Ibrahim Mohammadu Daniyan, Mallam Mohammadu Shaji-Yeriman Ciki, Mallam Mohammadu Sarkin Raba Zaki, Mallam Mohammadu Dauda Daniyan, Mallam Umaru Ndababa, Mallam Ibrahim Ejiko, Principal of Secondary Schools, Vice-Chairman, Patigi LGA, Elder Adams Aliyu Sachi, Speaker of Patigi LGA, Hon. Makun Giwa, Alhaji Adama Jibril, First Vice-President, Kwara State ANCOPSS, Secretary to the Emir of Patigi, Alhaji Ibrahim Chatta Mohammad, and members of the community.
Naseer Saeed Atiegba