Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, has promised the support of traditional rulers for the revival of Yoruba language, in a bid to ensure the language does not go into extinction.
Alaafin said this against the backdrop of the lackadaisical attitude of the Yoruba younger generations to learning, speaking, writing and reading of the language.
The first-class monarch made the promise yesterday, in his address at the grand finale of the maiden edition of Yoruba Essay and Reading Contest for Secondary Schools, organised by a socio-cultural non-political organisation, Egbe Atunbi Yoruba, at the Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan.
The programme featured testing of participants in essay and reading and at the end of the contests, three winners emerged in each category.
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In the essay contest, Afolabi Marian from Queen School, Joseph Sunday from Ibukunolu Model College, and Ogunleye Oluwatosin from Sunshine International School, all in Ibadan, emerged winners and they were presented with prizes.
The event, initiated by a former vice chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Kayode Oyediran, was chaired by Emeritus Prof. Ayo Bamgbose. It was supported by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Yoruba Service.
Winners in the reading category are Akintunde Christiana from David Joel Model School, Kasali Fatimah from Zummuratu Ujaj High School, and Owolabi Samuel from Olad Model School, all in Ibadan. They were given prizes alongside all the schools that participated in the contest, though did not win.
Alaafin said: “By the grace of God, we traditional rulers and custodians of culture will support you. We will leave good legacies behind for the next generations. Yoruba language must not go into extinction during our time. I appeal to you, our children, cooperate with us. There is nothing like vernacular.
“What are those things threatening the future of Yoruba language? Those that acquired education, even before I was born, if they were not taught impeccable Yoruba language, they might not have been able to attain the level of fluency they have in English language today.
“No matter how fluent you think you are in English language, if you don’t understand your mother tongue, you will still be limited. If a child goes to higher institution, before he or she becomes a graduate, he must have been found worthy in character and learning. The good character is what is known as ‘Omoluabi’ ethos in Yoruba.”