By BENJAMIN NJOKU
LAGOS — Wife of former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has called on Nigerians to preserve their indigenous languages, saying the lingua franca of an ethnic group remains the most important vehicle for promoting the culture and history of the people.
Senator Oluremi made the call, weekend, at the 29th anniversary/3rd biennial conference and fund raising for its project by Eriegwa Itsekiri Ladies Society, in Lagos.
Oluremi, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the occasion, urged Nigerians not to allow the lingua franca of the various ethnic groups in the country, including the Itsekiri language, to go into extinction.
According to her, the theme of the anniversary: “Promoting Our Lingua Franca” was very important and timely, saying, “I wish participants fruitful deliberations on this crucial theme and pray that the outcome will be the strengthening of Itsekiri langauge and culture which I must proudly say is one of the most outstanding cultures in our society today.
“The Itsekiri culture is a rich and progressive one where values are held dear. A dynamic people who seek to preserve their core beliefs and traditions. This conference should resonate for all sons and daughters of the Itsekiri nation and beyond.”
Senator Oluremi, who represents Lagos Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, commended the society for contributing meaningfully to improve the well-being of Itsekiri women and youths.
In his remark, Chairman of the occasion, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), commended the Eriegwa Itsekiri Ladies for playing a vital role towards moving the Itsekiri nation forward and urged them not to relent.
He appealed to the Itsekiri people not to lose sight of promoting their cultural heritage.
Earlier, Mrs. Uwala Murphy-Akpieyi, President of the society, said in the past 29 years, Eriegwa Itsekiri Ladies had achieved tremendous milestones in serving their people at various levels, both collectively and individually.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards to some Itsekiri sons and daughters, including Mr. Sam Amuka-Pemu, Chairman/Publisher, Vanguard Media Limited, Mrs. Grace Birogbemi Ogbemi, first Itsekiri woman lawyer and Mrs. Alero Erewa-Oyeyemi, past president and founder of the society, who was not present at the occasion.
Senator Oluremi Tinubu was also given an award for her contribution towards the betterment of the less-privileged people in the society,
There was a cultural display by members of the society as well as screening of a short documentary by Alex Eyengho, a film-maker which captured the culture and history of the Itsekiri nation in 15 minutes.
Dignitaries that graced the occasion included Mr. Oma Eyeoyibo, who delivered the lecture on ‘Promoting Lingua Franca,’ Mr. Robinson Eyoyibo, Mr. Afolabi Oyeyemi, Mr. Mac Eyoyibo, Mr. Ajihone-Orugbo, Hon. Irene Imiler, Chief Adolo-Okotie Eboh, Mrs. Patricia Otuedon-Arawore, Major Wale Kuku, among others.