Governorv Yahaya Bello of Kogi on Tuesday appealed to parents , especially mothers to protect Nigerian indigenous languages and culture from going into extinction.
Bello made the call at Kabba, Kogi, while declaring open the 45th Annual National Conference and General Meeting of the Association of Teachers of Yoruba Language and Culture of Nigeria (Egbe Akomolede ati Asa Yoruba, ile Naijiria, EAAYN).
The five-day conference tagged: “Kogi 2019” was a gathering of all Yoruba language instructors across the country, which was also organised to mark the Golden Jubilee anniversary of the association.
The theme of the conference is: ”Traditional Culture and Democracy: Exploring New Frontiers for Greater National Economy.”
Represented by the Speaker, Kogi State House of Assembly, Matthew Kolawole, the governor urged mothers to teach their children good culture and indigenous languages with sound discipline.
According to him, mothers are very close to their children, hence the need for them to make deliberate effort to teach their children how to speak the mother tongue.
Bello noted that Nigeria especially Kogi was blessed with varieties of culture and languages, stressing the need to protect them from outright extinction.
He urged Nigerians to be more united as one indivisible nation, saying, ”it is when we are united that we can together take our nation to greater height, ”
The governor pledged to initiate a bill that will make indigenous languages compulsory for teaching in Kogi schools.
He then donated three million naira to the national body of the association, while the state chapter received two million naira, while Kolawole made a personal donation of N500, 000.
On her part, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, the state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, urged teachers to ensure that the knowledge content of culture was effectively transmitted to the children.
According to her, the National Policy on Education stipulates that the transmission of knowledge for a child at basic education should be done through the mother tongue.
She noted that the state government was working hard to translate curriculum in Igala and Ebira languages, just as it had already been in Yoruba language in Kogi schools, up to secondary level.
“Promoting language and culture is part of what would bring about the development of the personality and the character of a child; so, indigenous language is very important.
“We are happy to welcome all Yoruba teachers across Nigeria to Kogi; we urge you to ensure that the knowledge content of culture and language is adequately transferred to the children,” Osikoya said.
The National President of EAAYN, Mrs Omowumi Faleye, commended the people of Kogi for their hospitality, while urging the state government to help in promoting indigenous languages in schools.
It was gathered that the association honoured the governor with a chieftaincy title ”ENIAASALU ti Akomolede ati Asa Yoruba.”
All the activities at the event were conducted solely in Yoruba language.
The highlight of the events was the stage performance by hunters and cultural troupe, who danced and eulogised the popular Yoruba deity, Sango, the ‘`god of thunder”.