BY DAUD OLATUNJI,ABEOKUTA
A monarch in Ogun State, the Onilogbo of Ilogbo in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area, Oba Samuel Olufemi Ojugbele, has canvassed for the teaching of indigenous languages in private schools in the state, saying only the mastery of the mother tongue would ensure proficiency in both written and spoken English.
Oba Ojugbele, who said that indigenous languages are the vehicle for the transmission of culture and tradition, lamented that they are facing the risk of extinction due to their non-inclusion in the school curricula, especially in the privately owned schools.
The monarch spoke at the third graduation ceremony of 16 secondary and 11 grade six students of The Gem International Schools and College in Owode-Yewa, Yewa South LGA.
“As a custodian of the culture of the people, I have to communicate in Yourba always. It is unfortunate and alarming that the English language has displaced indigenous languages in many of our homes today.
“Even our schools are not helping matters as they don’t encourage the teaching of our local languages.
“I recently went to a school and was shocked that the children did not know how to greet in Yoruba. Experts have said that the Yoruba language as a means of communication is very complete and I decided not to speak in English not because I did not go to school.
“It is the desire to see our students not just to become academic robots but self-dependent, confident and creative individuals that can at any point in time thumb their chests among their peers.”
Meanwhile, the Director -General of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, Dr. Gloria Elemo, has said that the high level of unemploy-ment in the country was compounded by illiteracy in information and communication technology.