By Chris Onuoha
An Associate Professor of Yoruba Studies at Lagos State University, Taiwo Olunlade has stressed need for Nigerians to embrace indigenous language and its inherent beauty.
The university don who was guest speaker at a quarterly audience participatory programme, ‘Yoruba Lakotun’ dedicated to the new Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, at the Ethnic Heritage Centre, Ikoyi, weekend, urged Nigerians to be proud of their mother tongue as it is the only way it can garner international recognition.
In his words, ‘It is encouraging to note that there are about fifty universities in the United States awarding different certificate programmes in African languages today. We have to ensure that we give our best to understanding our languages and give it a push it deserves for other nations to appreciate.’
While dismissing the insinuation that Yoruba language studies is fetish in nature, he made people understand that all areas of language studies in English language is also in Yoruba language. He read from his anthology of poetry titled, ‘Ewi Igbalode’ to the admiration of audience, including Rebecca Jones, a post-doctoral research fellow from the University of Birmingham who had come to Nigeria on a study tour.
However, the convener of the programme, Olutayo Irantiola said, “The programme is a way of promoting Yoruba literacy in diverse forms such as poetry, music, creative writing and other arts that would continually showcase the beauty entrenched in the language”. According to him, ‘Yoruba have a great heritage that must be passed down to the next generation. We should not make Yoruba language and other Nigerian languages second-languages despite being resident at the crux of these languages.