The Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, has urged parents, guardians and administrators, to encourage indigenous language literature among Nigerian youths, to help in the preservation of our language and assist in inculcating indigenous cultural values and literature in our children.
Chief Duke stated this on Thursday, August 8, 2013, at the opening ceremony of an International Conference on “D. O. Fagunwa: Fifty Years On,” organized by Ondo State Government in collaboration with Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), D. O. Fagunwa Foundation, and Fagunwa Study Group, at Jojein Hotels and Resort, Akure, Ondo State.
The Minister, who was represented the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, said Nigerians need to imbibe the idea of learning languages other than their own, adding that a multi-lingual person had no limitations in any society he/she lives.
In remembering the indelible contributions of late Fagunwa to the development of African literature, the Minister observed that the conference provided a good opportunity to revisit the contributions of the pioneer literary icon to the development of not only Yoruba culture, but that of our country.
Professor Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel Prize in Literature Winner, who delivered the key note address, using the theme, “Fagunwa’s Forest Tapestry: Heroes and Heroics, Morals and Moralists,” took the audience on a motivated and frightening literary voyage into the forest of many demons, as he extolled various characters in one of Fagunwa’s books, Igbo Eledumare, just as he paid glowing tribute to late Fagunwa, who had superb narrative skill that only a Nobel laureate could display.
The International Conference, which had scores of arts and culture enthusiasts, traditional rulers, accomplished movie icons, and the academia from the nation’s literary firmament, home and abroad, is expected to feature eight plenary sessions.
Present at the opening ceremony were the Executive Governors of Ondo and Ekiti States, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and Dr. Kayode Fayemi, respectively; His Royal Majesty, Oba Adedokun Abolarin Aroyinkeye 1, the Oragun of Oke-Ila Orangun; His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Victor Adesunbo Kiladejo Jilo IV, the Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom; the Secretary to State Government, Ondo State, Dr. Rotimi Adelola; the Director-General, CBAAC, Professor Tunde Babawale; the Honourable Commissioner for Culture & Tourism, Ondo State, Barr. Deji Falae; and the Director-General, Ekiti State Arts Council, Mrs. Yeye Fosudo.
Others were Professors Dan Izevbaye, Adebayo Faleti, Akinwunmi Ishola, Niyi Osundare, Olu Obafemi, Femi Osofisan, Dele Layiwola, and Harry Garuba; poet and activist, Odia Ofeimu; folk singer, Jimi Solanke; and film maker, Tunde Kelani, among others.
The NICO team at the event included, Acting Director, ES Office, Mr. Ebi Campbell and Zonal Head, NICO South-West, Mr. Ohi Ojo, among others.