.Osinbajo, Tax

By Adeola Badru, Ibadan

Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has pointed out that one of the tasks of scholars, enthusiasts and citizens interested in understanding the Yoruba heritage is to use culture as a tool for helping people to discern their place in the world and to rekindle their visionary capabilities.

He made this known, yesterday while speaking at the presentation and launch of the Yoruba World Centre, held at the International Centre for Yoruba Arts and Culture, University of Ibadan.

Describing culture as not just about the past, Prof. Osinbajo further noted that culture is neither static nor immutable as it constantly creates and recreates.

He said: “Consequently, progress is not merely determined by fidelity to tradition but by our capacity for invention and reinvention. And this point is more relevant now than ever before as the world itself and our nation stand at crossroads.”

“The future of mankind is at an inflexion point with COVID-19 and climate change already disrupting life as we know it. While the Fourth Industrial Revolution  requires us to adapt to technological innovation changing at lightning speed.”

“To cope well, we must draw strength from our cultural capital – the wealth of tangible and intangible knowledge that emanates from a society’s core  and enables it to cope with change.”

“One of the tasks of scholars, enthusiasts and citizens interested in understanding the Yoruba heritage is to use culture as a tool for helping us discern our place in the world and to rekindle our visionary capabilities.”

“This intent is inherent in the design and work of this Centre. It bears repeating that culture, is not just about antiquity. It is about the contemporary age and the age to come.”

“This World Centre will therefore serve not just as a place of memory but as a place that inspires us and fires our collective imagination, even within the dynamic contexts of  advances in technology, ideas  and thought.”

“But perhaps, more importantly, today  the work of this Centre should offer a base from which and sanctuary in which to reflect on how Yoruba culture can contribute to the tools of nation-building.”

“The building of a more inclusive, fairer and more just society. The bringing together as one people an ethnically, and religiously diverse nation. How can the rest of the nation learn as President Buhari’s observed, from the way Yorubas manage within their families to accommodate diverse faiths and beliefs.”

“And in a nation dogged by the abdication  of high values  especially in leadership, perhaps the Centre might take on the task of formalizing the pedagogy on the concept of Omoluabi for teaching in our schools.”

“Additionally the Centre should offer a  destination for missions of discovery by the very many Africans in Diaspora who trace their origins to the Yoruba people and promote closer links between the Yoruba people in the homeland and their kin in the diaspora but more importantly provide a crucial pillar in the global attempt to build social and economic bridges between peoples of African descent everywhere in our world. And while we are at it.”

“You must join in the global movement to champion the return of artefacts that were plundered, looted or illegally taken away from these shores.”

“Indeed, the Centre could serve as a home for such returned items where the immediate provenance or circumstances in which the items were taken is not clear or not known,” he stressed.

Osinbajo, however, commended the initiator of the project, Alagba Alao Adebayo, the publisher of the indigenous newspaper, Alaroye, for his boldness and ambition of his enterprise.

“And for the enormous self-sacrifice and patriotism that this entailed. We must all seize this moment and join in this glorious civic endeavour and the time to do so is now,” he charged.

While speaking, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, who spoke in the Yoruba Language, decried what he called the “gradual extinction” of Yoruba customs and traditions.

According to him: “considering the rate at which things move these days, it will be disastrous allowing our traditions go into oblivion in the face of permissiveness.”

“It is frightening that our own language is dangling on the pit of extinction while preference is accorded foreign language, which is English. Languages often hold the record of a people’s history, including their songs, stories, praise, poetry and ancient traditions,” he said.

Alaafin noted that with the extinction of a language, man loses access to local understanding of plants, animals, and ecosystems, some of which have important medicinal value, and many of which remain undocumented by science.

In his address, Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, who was represented at the event by his deputy, Rauf Olaniyan, warned Yoruba people against allowing the distortion of the history of their race, saying it is causing colossal damage to the people’s cultural values.

The event had in attendance eminent personalities which include the Are Ona Kakanfo, Iba Gani Adams; GMD, Odua Investment, Raji Adebayo; DAWN Commission DG, Mr Seye Oyeleye, Arch. Muyiwa Ige, deputy governors of Ogun and Ondo States and other notable Yoruba leaders and groups.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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