By NWABUEZE OKONKWO
ONITSHA — Igede resident in Onitsha, Anambra State, have urged parents and governments at all levels to promote the learning and speaking of indigenous languages in the country. The people who spoke under the aegis of Igede Development Association, IDA, said that most Nigerian languages would be extinct if the young ones were not thought their own languages. The Igede tribe which is estimated at over six million in population, is the third largest tribe in Benue State with a sizeable population in Anambra State.
President of the association in the state, Mr Patrick Akobo who spoke in Onitsha, during the installation of the new Ad’ Igede III, Chief Matthew Omenka, as the paramount ruler of Igede people in Anambra, noted that a child that cannot speak his mother tongue, not to talk of writing in the indigenous dialect would be seen as a social misfit as an adult.
According to Akobo, “It is deplorable that many educated families in Nigeria do not allow their children to speak their native dialects. Rather, they confuse their children with pidgin English, which is socially an unacceptable type of English. And with this development, these children would not only fail to understand or pass English Language but also fail to understand their own native language, making it a double jeopardy, because ultimately, they also lose other important parts of their cultural heritage.”
Akobo noted that the association had established an Igede Language Study Centre in Onitsha, in a bid to further promote the language and cultural heritage of Igede people, adding that, “with the centre, we will try to imbibe in our children virtues that would encourage our great cultural heritage and positive mindset for true development.” In a speech, the Ad’ Igede III, Chief Omenka, thanked the entire Igede people for the trust they reposed in him going by the large crowd that attended his installation.
“I will work to maintain those positive traits which Igede people worldwide are known for, which include being humane, loving, being careful in whatever they want to say or do.