There are over 250 ethnic languages in Nigeria, and Yoruba is among the three major languages including Igbo and Hausa. Most languages are going into extinction and this is one of the reasons why Lagos State House of Assembly is promoting Yoruba Language. During a meeting at the Lagos State House of Assembly Complex, it was concluded that Yoruba language will be taught in private and public schools as a compulsory subject.
The resolution followed a motion moved by the Majority Leader, Mr. Sanai Agunbiade and seconded by Mr. Segun Olulade, the Chairman, House Committee on Health. Agunbiade spoke in commemoration of the 7th Anniversary of adopting Yoruba language for deliberations every Thursday in the Assembly which already commenced on Feb. 5, 2009.
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“This House calls on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to direct Commissioner for Education to take a quick step to ensure that syllabus in public and private schools in the state make the teaching and learning of Yoruba language compulsory. That we should convey a Stakeholders’ Summit to look at the challenges in teaching Yoruba in schools as well as to ensure that Yoruba Language is taught at least three times in a week both in private and public schools.”
According to Agunbiade, it is necessary to call a meeting of Tutor General, PTA and all other stakeholders in education sector to know the problems that is associated with the declining rate of the use of the language.
“Most schools today do not speak Yoruba Language again and other indigenous languages. In fact, many parents frown at their children whenever they speak Yoruba. We should ensure that Yoruba Language does not go into extinction. Other people embrace their language, we should also be proud of ours. We should meet with all heads of Education Districts, if teachers are not enough, we should employ more. We don’t have any justification for not teaching and embracing our language,” he said.
Hon. Lanre Ogunyemi, Chairman, House Committee on Education said the responsibility was on the government and parents to ensure that Yoruba language did not go into extinction. Therefore, children need to be acquainted with the language at home as well as in school.
“It’s a must that we bequeath the language to our children. The National Policy on Education and our constitution mandate the teaching and learning of our indigenous languages.
“We need to call on all in charge of education to make teaching of the language compulsory in Lagos. Indigenous Languages will promote love and unity.”
According to him, Feb. 21 is the International Mother Language Day as declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Mr. Segun Olulade, the Chairman, House Committee on Health also called for the promotion of Yoruba language, culture and tradition. Hon. Adefunmilayo Tejuosho (Mushin I) said, Nigerians are gradually throwing away our language and culture, and that there is nothing to be ashamed of in speaking one’s native language. She says the habit of punishing or making students pay fine speaking Yoruba language in schools should be abolish, rather the other way round should be adopted.
The Speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa said:
“It is not our making that we were born here, others speaking their indigenous languages are progressing in other climes. We need to encourage our language, and be proud of it. Using our indigenous language to teach our children yields better results as posited by late Bola Ige and Prof. Wole Soyinka.
“We will call for a stakeholders’ summit on this motion to promote teaching and learning of Yoruba in schools as most private schools do not embrace it again.”
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