There have been calls from various stakeholders for the continuation of the laudable Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) being organised by National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), as this year’s month-long edition, held by the South-West Zone of the Institute in Aquinas College, Akure, Ondo State, came to an end on Friday, 29th August, 2014.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, the chairman at the occasion, Engr. (Dr.) Samuel Olusunle, who is the Director of Engineering Management Development Institute-National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (EMDI-NASENI), Akure, expressed delight at the performance of the various participants, saying he was lucky that, as a young boy, his father (a railway worker), was always travelling round the country; so, he learnt several Nigerian languages.
He informed the audience that some of his staff members whose languages he understands find it easy to confide in him on matters which may have been if he didn’t understand such languages, adding, “I sit atop an organization with diverse cultures and languages represented, and I am better equipped to deal with such diversities.”
Olusunle thus urged NICO to continue with the language programme, promising to support the Institute by contributing to the purchase of books to help participants, who requested for such, in their quest to continue learning the languages during the programme.
In his own reaction, the Principal of Aquinas College, Pastor Babasola Ayibiowu, who was the Special Guest, said he was elated to watch the event and promised to support NICO in whatever form, adding that, “Taking pride in our indigenous languages helps to stop neo-colonialism.”
A participant, Mrs. Adebola Oshodi, who is a teacher at Aquinas College, Akure, and attended the Hausa class with her daughter, revealed that they both now converse more easily with Hausa traders, which has helped to cement their relationship, promising to avail herself of any other opportunity to improve on what she had learnt.
Another participant, Mr. Charles Jegede, who was also in the Hausa class with his daughter, was full of praises for the programme, saying that he and his daughter practice what they have learnt at home to the admiration of his wife, who was amazed at how much they had learnt within such time frame.
Earlier in his welcome address, NICO’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma encouraged parents and guardians to send their children and wards to the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), in order to reduce the communication barrier in the society.
Represented by the Coordinator, NICO South-West Zone, Mr. Ohi Ojo, Ayakoroma said, “Language serves as a unifying factor; therefore people should learn more Nigerian languages other than their mother tongue. By so doing, we would not only be saving our indigenous languages from extinction, but also promoting our rich cultural heritage.”
Highlights of the closing ceremony included rendition of the National Anthem in Yoruba language by the participants, and short performances by the various classes – Hausa, Igbo, Izon and Yoruba.
The month-long programme, which commenced on Tuesday, 5th August, 2014 recorded about 77 participants, and was facilitated by Mrs. Flora Sodje (Hausa), Mrs. Ogechy Nwokorie (Igbo), Mr. Tinbebelakumo Olopagha (Izon), and Mr. Clement Oludemi (Yoruba).