His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife, has called for the promotion of Yoruba language and culture, saying that it must not be allowed to go into extinction.
The monarch who was represented by Oba Dr. Adebisi Segun Layade JP, the Alara Odaaye of Ara Land Ife, Osun State,, made this call at the public presentation of a book about the life and times of late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
He tasked traditional rulers to champion the promotion of Yoruba language as it is the only way the culture could be preserved.
“Most of our people when they go outside the shores of our country they choose to speak English language above the Yoruba language.
” It is a misnomer, whenever I travel to the northern part of the country, I speak Yoruba and when they notify me that they don’t understand I ask them to get an interpreter.
“I deliberately won’t speak in English language as they would have preferred, we ought to promote our own language because in other climes they use the mother tongues to teach their wards.
“Yoruba language is easy to translate and good for transmission of knowledge to the children.
Supporting the stance, His Royal Highness Oba Oladipo Olaitan, The Alaago of Kajola Alaago, Osun State and Deputy Leader Pan Yoruba Socio-Cultural Organisation, Afenifere maintained that Yoruba language must be preserved at all cost.
The monarch said, “I am particularly impressed with our Yoruba language that is being purposefully energised here, we are losing it a typical Yoruba man cannot speak English, what is the purpose?
“You price yourself high because you can speak English, French and German but your own language you can’t speak it.
“The German man will always speak his language any where even at the United Nations same for the French man but we will go there and speak English, what sense does that make?
“It is easier for you to learn and comprehend in your own language and when you lose your culture, you lose everything.
“The way they took us into slavery and they are still taking us into slavery is because we’ve refused to follow our culture, when you don’t know who you are, how will you become anything in life?
“We’ve lost our roots, we’ve lost everything that is why we are where we are, you first of all have to know where you are coming from to get anywhere.
Hon. Setonji David, Chairman House Committee on Information, Strategy and Security, who represented the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, also corroborated the need for yoruba language preservation.
“Everything that has to do with our language is so important to me as far as I’m concerned total freedom is guaranteed when you speak your language, any nation that is going to develop must revert back to its original language, it is easier for the Asian countries to communicate because of this.We need to get back the potency of Yoruba language.
He also eulogize late Chief Obafemi Awolowo noting that he was a beneficiary of his free education scheme at all levels in Lagos State.
The Author of the book titled ‘Awolowo Akikanju Asiwaju (AAA)’, Mr. Lagada- Abayomi Olanrewaju, while speaking with newsmen after the event, revealed what spurred him to write the book, citing instances of many collections of prose works written by authors in other parts of the world, to celebrate unique personalities who have paid their dues and impacted their nation and the world positively.
He added that the disconnect he sighted in the generation of people in the world today was basically due to the absence of good write ups, that can immortalise the good virtues portrayed by the characters for upcoming young ones to learn about heroes with whom they one way or the other have a bond.
“I feel the dearth of information about the great feats of our heroes in this part of the world and the void it is causing in our children’s social development, this drove me to write this book so as to engrave the memories of our forebear, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo in gold for yet to come generation.
“This is what obtains in other climes and I think it is high time we start doing same here, that gave birth to this piece targeted at re-enacting the life and times of the late sage”. Lagada said.
Representing Ogun state Commissioner for Education, Mr Obadiah Akindele, said the state would enlist the book in its curriculum next year.