Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Thursday called for intensified collaboration between the government and education stakeholders to revive Yoruba language, culture and tradition and save it from going into extinction.
Ambode, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, made the call at a stakeholders’ forum on compulsory teaching of Yoruba as an indigenous language in all schools in Lagos State.
He said the state government was committed to ensuring that the teaching and learning of Yoruba Language was made compulsory in primary and secondary schools in the state.
He said: “Our language protects our tradition and culture.
“We must not close our eyes to allow our language go into extinction.
“Foreign languages are gradually taking over our culture.
“I am happy that the House of Assembly is making this policy as a way to revive the Yoruba language and culture.
“This will help our children to learn, pass down our language and culture to generations to come.”
In his address, the Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, said the forum was called to seek stakeholders’ views before passing a law on the compulsory teaching and learning of Yoruba Language in schools.
Obasa said: “All over the world, Yoruba Language is recognised and appreciated because it is rich and we should be proud of it.
“Developed countries like Britain, Germany, France, China, Japan, America, Arab nations speak their languages, so we must join them to promote our first and original language.
“The Yoruba language is our tradition and culture.
“Therefore, parents, teachers and stakeholders should endeavour to speak and promote our language.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of the House Committee on Education, Olarenwaju Ogunyemi, said language remained the identity of a people.
Ogunyemi said: “Apart from being a uniting factor, Yoruba language protects our culture and tradition.
“All of us should make effort to bequeath this language to our children.
“It is unfortunate that many private schools in Nigeria do not have Yoruba language as a subject; therefore, it is time to back this with a law.
“It has become necessary for all public and private schools from primary to tertiary institutions to make teaching and learning of Yoruba language a compulsory subject.”
The event featured cultural dances and drama by students of state-owned tertiary institutions, prominent actors and actresses.