The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy at it’s North Central Zonal office in Ilorin on Thursday, 31st August, 2023 held the closing ceremony of it’s 2023 One Month – August edition of the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme at the Conference Hall of the Federal Secretariat Complex in Ilorin.

While addressing the gathering, the Executive Secretary/CEO of NICO, Ado Muhammed Yahuza ably represented by the Zonal Director, NICO North Central Zone, Ilorin Mrs. Franca Okoro said Nigerian Indigenous Languuages if used, especially by the younger generation has the potential to help right the earlier parental and societal wrongs bedevelling us today, reiterating that the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme being one of the core programmes of the Institute was initiated in 2007 and has been organized over the years across its Zonal and State offices in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria including the headquarters in Abuja.

Furthermore he added that the programme which now comes in series as Weekend Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme, Language in the Barracks and One Month – August editions, is a deliberate step taken by NICO to forestall the significant nonusage and gradual phasing out of our indigenous languages.

Citing the significance of language in the developmental process of any nation, Yahuza called for concerted efforts from all and sundry for the timely resuscitation of our dying indigenous languages just as he applauded the commitment and resilience of the participants as well as the resource persons throughout the programme.

In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Ministry of Communications, Mrs. Christianah Omolola Asonibare who was also the Special Guest of Honour at the event described the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme as a veritable tool that could be deployed to surmount the challenges of a multi-ethnic society like Nigeria.

She added that being fortunate to learn and speak other Nigerian languages is a great privilege that will not only promote oneness but also help to mitigate societal vices as well as security challenges ravaging the country, just as she expressed optimism that with language and by extension culture, which have both globally been identified as a crux for progress and national development, Nigeria as a country could immensely surmount its present societal challenges hence, experience love, unity, cultural understanding, and peaceful coexistence among its diverse cultures.

Mrs. Asonibare therefore commended NICO under the able leadership of the Executive Secretary/CEO, Ado Muhammed Yahuza for organizing the language training programme, saying it is a timely intervention that requires the support of all well-meaning Nigerians.

In their separate goodwill messages, the Special guests at the occasion namely: The State Director National Orientation Agency (NOA) Kwara State, Mr. Olusegun Olugbenga Adeyemi, the Curator National Gallery of Arts (NGA) Ilorin, Mr. Abiodun Adeyeye and the State Coordinator National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Kwara State, Mrs.Lanre Ogun Folashade all described the NICO language programme as a blessing to Nigerians and therefore requires the utmost attention it deserves by all. This prompted the State Director of NOA and the State Coordinator NDE to signify interest to attend subsequent edition of the programme as participants.

Highpoints of the event were scintillating performances by the participants in Hausa, Igbo, Nupe, and Yoruba languages to the admiration of the guests, the presentation of certificates to the participants who completed the programme, the presentation of outstanding performance awards to participants in each of the four (4) languages taught as well as the presentation of a Yoruba literature text to all the Yoruba participants titled: Ojo Kan, written by Olaniyi Aweda a NICO Staff who was also the Yoruba resource person for the programme.

Also present at the occasion were: the Controller, Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development; Arch.Mrs. Joy Okemute, Deputy Director NOA; Alhaji Ganiy Dare, Director of Information, Kwara State Ministry of Communication, Alh. Abdulganiy Atere, Assistant Director NOA; Mrs. Ezuruke Benedict, Asst. Press Sec. Kwara State Ministry of Communications; Mr. Ahmed Habeeb Oredumi among others.

It could be recalled that the One month language training programme had the participation of public officers from various state and federal government establishments as well as individuals who converged on Room 508, 2nd Floor of the Federal Secretariat Complex to learn four languages namely: Hausa, Igbo, Nupe and Yoruba respectively.

The programme came to a conclusion with a vote of thanks byMrs. Abolarin Bolaji Shalom who appreciated the guests, participants, resources persons and the wonderful staff of NICO North Central for a job well done.

Ahmed Mohammed
Corporate Affairs/ICT Unit
NICO North Central, Ilorin.