By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Senator Gbenga Ashafa, representing Lagos East Senatorial district, has reiterated the significance of indigenous languages in Nigeria, stating that the language of each tribe must be held sacrosanct for all to fully develop as a nation.
The lawmaker stated this at the weekend during the cultural day of Eyes on the Future Schools, Orile- Agege, where he spoke on the theme: “Our Indigenous Languages must not die”.
The lawmaker, said that all parents and guardians should cultivate the habit of communicating with their wards in their indigenous languages for rapid national development.
”Protecting our culture and preserving our indigenous languages are tasks before all of us that must be done. So, whether as students, teachers, parents/guardians or government, we must continue to make effort towards ensuring that “Our Indigenous Languages do not Die”. It is our root and heritage that we must never forget, because, as the saying goes, “any one that loses its roots has a lot of hardships to ponder on later in future.
”Therefore, what we gather to do here today is an idea whose time has lapsed. We all must make this happen by cultivating the habit of speaking to our children in our mother tongue at home and facilitating the learning of indigenous languages in schools, as EYES ON THE FUTURE is doing today” he said.
The lawmaker, while stressing that at the level of government,he had been one of the precursors in the advocacy to protect and preserve Nigerian indigenous languages, added; “I have done this by sponsoring a Bill on the Promotion and Preservation of our Indigenous Languages which is already at the Second Reading in the Senate; and I’m convinced that with the help of my colleagues it will see the light of the day as soon as possible”.
The senator pointed out that most developed countries attained what they are today as a result of the use of their mother tongue both at home and in schools, such as China, Singapore, Germany, Japan and Britain among others. ”What we all referred to today as development in those places are the results of the easiness with which learning in indigenous languages is identified with, especially at the earlier stage of schooling” he said.