A university don, Prof. Akinwumi Isola, has raised the alarm over the looming extinction of Yoruba and other indigenous languages in Nigeria.
According to him, failure of the people to speak Yoruba language to the young ones was capable of wiping out the language.
Isola, a literature icon and professor of language, said this at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko while delivering the 4th convocation lecture of the institution, which was presented in Yoruba language and entitled, ‘Kini A fee Maa Fii Ede Yoruba Se?’He expressed concern that the country did not learn a lesson from China, which, he said, was able to achieve the present level of development because the people use their mother tongue for education and other transactions.
Isola, therefore, suggested that government should make Yoruba language compulsory from primary school level to higher institutions to ensure that the young ones understand the language from early stage of life. The don lamented that many elites consider their language as inferior to the foreign ones, saying some of them don’t speak Yoruba language in their homes let alone train their children with it. According to him, “Government should also ensure that the Yorùbá language is made the medium of instruction in primary schools as it was done during the If?? experiment some years back.
The vice chancellor of the university, Professor Femi Mimiko, said the decision of the institution to present the convocation lecture in Yoruba language showed that it was committed to the development of the language.
“There is also the need for government to rescind its decision and ensure that Yorùbá language is made compulsory at the Senior Secondary Examination level. It will not be out of place for universities to include the teaching of Yorùbá language in the GST curriculum where they teach Nigerian peoples and cultures”.