Commissioners of education in Southwest, leaders of Yoruba language practitioners’ associations and book publishers converged on Ibadan late last week to give the go-ahead to the proposed annual Yoruba language millionaire contest among secondary schools in the region, as a means of reclaiming the youths from the grip of foreign language, and representing the language as a tool for regional and national development.
The success of the programme being organised by the Yoruba World Centre in conjunction with Oodua Investment Company Limited and the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission necessitated the meeting of the stakeholders. It was held at Cocoa House office of DAWN and hosted by the Oodua Group.
In attendance were the Commissioner of Education, Oyo State, Dr Rahman Abdu-Raheem, his colleagues who were ably represented by top Directors: Mr Adebayo Adeyemi, Director of Special Duties and Innovation (Lagos), Mrs Bamidele Makinde, Director of Education Support Services (Ogun) and Mrs Tola Adeniyi of School Services (Ondo). Also present were the President of Egbe Akomolede ati Asa (the Yoruba secondary teachers Association), Aare Omowumi Faleye; President of YSAN (Association of Yoruba Language Lecturers in Universities), Professor Dele Orimoogunje and his Deputy, Dr Adeola Faleye; President of Yoruba Lecturers Association in Colleges of Education, Dr Soji Aderemi Fajenyo; Professor Dele Layiwola of Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan; Professor Adedotun Ogundeji of Yoruba Language Centre, University of Ibadan; Mrs Labake Owolabi of Centre for Yoruba Language Engineering (CEYOLENG), Dr Tunde Odunlade of Tunde Odunlade Arts Gallery, Mrs Folakemi Bademosi, Director of Publications, University Press Limited, and Mr Emmanuel Abimbola, Executive Secretary of Nigerian Publishers Association.
In his welcome address, the Director General of DAWN Commission, Mr Seye Oyeleye, told participants that the time to save Yoruba language is now, and all should work towards its revival. The Group Managing Director of Oodua, Mr Adewale Raji, explained that the focus of the Group has always been looking for way to bring all-round development to the region. The Coordinator of the Yoruba World Centre, Ogbeni Alao Adedayo, unveiled the programme: the Yoruba Language Millionaire Contest, before the stakeholders, who contributed enthusiastically, after which the need for it was unanimously agreed on.
Modalities and plans were advised to be put in place immediately, and a day for the inauguration of the programme that will bring all the Yoruba speaking states together be announced soonest.