The Bashorun Askia Foundation (BAF), in a bid to inculcate the culture of speaking the Isoko language into the younger generation and save it from extinction, has sponsored the publication of Isoko language text books which were donated to all secondary schools in both Isoko North and South Local Government Areas of Delta state.
To ensure the success of the initiative, the Bashorun Askia Foundation is also undertaking to pay the salaries of all teachers engaged to teach the Isoko language in all the secondary schools in Isoko land.
The books are Basic Education Examination Book for JSS I, JSS II, and JSS III, Isoko proverbs books, Isoko calendar, and Isoko audio teaching CDs.
Handing over the books to teachers at the National Secretariat of the Isoko Development Union (I.D.U) at the weekend, President of the foundation, Bashorun Askia Ogieh, pleaded with the teachers to take the job of saving the Isoko language from extinction very seriously, saying that it is disheartening to see children given birth to in Isoko unable to speak the language.
The books which would serve as guide for secondary school teachers in Isoko who will be teaching the language in their various junior secondary schools, are expected to promote the language among the Isoko people, and make it an official language in every Isoko home.
Bashorun Askia Ogieh who was represented by the vice chairperson, Isoko South Local Government Area Council, Hon. Blessing Uzoge, said the language is what binds the people together and should be protected.
Speaking to newsmen in an interview, the Dean of Languages, College of Education, Warri, Dr. Elizabeth Agbada, who is also a writer of one of the books donated by the foundation, said all the books and other instructional materials distributed among secondary schools in Isoko were solely sponsored by the Bashorun Askia Foundation, BAF, to promote and sustain the growth of the Isoko language.
Speaking further, Dr. Elizabeth said the Foundation had earlier given scholarship to several number of Isoko language students at the College of Education, Warri, in order to have a hitch free process through their education.
She also said the Foundation has proposed to subsequently pay monthly stipends to 40 Isoko language teachers that would be engaged in the nearest future.
Speaking to newsmen, Mary Okpugo and Michael Akporehe, who respectively collected the donations on behalf of Iyede Secondary Commercial School, Iyede, and Emevor Mixed Grammar school, Emevor, appreciated the foundation for the gesture, and further pledged their total commitment to teaching and promoting the Isoko language in their various schools.
“Before now, our problems were lack of teaching materials and personnel to handle the Isoko language subject, but now that the Bashorun Askia Foundation has provided us with these things we were lacking, I think we will put in our best.”