BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
THE Edo State Government has concluded plans to introduce the study of Bini language into the state’s school curricula, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has disclosed.
Speaking at his investiture as the Patron of the Benin Cultural Heritage Centre, Governor Oshiomhole said “the objectives of the centre is in line with my conviction that if our heritage must be preserved, our children must be able to read and write in Bini language. Given the geographical entity of Nigeria, we need to unite our people and speak with one voice under a paramount ruler, the Oba of Benin, who is highly respected across the country and even outside the country.
“I think you have set for yourselves a very challenging goal, but one that with the support of every well-meaning Edo person and every well meaning Bini person, you will achieve. I had opportunity to meet you in the past and we have rubbed minds on a number of issues and I am convinced that you have started doing the right thing by not continuously lamenting what we have lost but rather organising to reposition and reclaim what we have lost and the starting point is to get others to teach the Bini language.”
The Governor said there are a lot of vacancies in the teaching service, adding that the necessary machinery would be set in motion for the employment of Bini teachers that were trained at the College of Education, Ekiadolor.
“I am going to direct the Commissioner for Education, from the next session to see if we have enough teachers to be deployed to a number of schools not only in the Benin Kingdom, but also across the three senatorial districts to begin to teach the Bini language.
“We will make it a compulsory subject for our young ones. I believe that way, we would be uniting our people for a greater tomorrow. If we assemble anywhere and can relate in one dialect without someone being able to understand, that would remind us that we have a common ancestry. I want to assure you that we shall include the Bini language in our curriculum.”
According to the governor, “the late Chief Anthony Enahoro had raised the issue that we should have a common language for every Edo person and since Bini is spoken by more than 50 per cent of the population, it is a lot easier to encourage the other areas to key in particularly when there are a number of areas in which the language is the same”.
The Governor paid glowing tributes to His Royal Majesty, the Oba of Benin for his support and encouragement in the achievements of this administration, saying “let me convey my gratitude to the grand patron, Omo N Oba N Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, the Oba of Benin for what God has used him and is using him to do for Edo State. Uniting our people and being a father in word and in action to all of us particularly myself, if my late father was still alive, he would not have given any stronger support.”