Daily Independent (Lagos)
Nigeria: Lawmakers Applauded Over Use of Yoruba Language for Plenary
9 February 2009
Lagoos — Lagos State lawmakers have been lauded for adopting the use of Yoruba language as an alternative means of conducting legislative business on the floor of the House.
Speaking to Daily Independent on the development, National Coordinator of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Gani Adams described the development as the revival of a lost heritage. “What the Lagos State House of Assembly has done today is the reclamation of what the entire Yoruba race has lost. The cooperation of Yoruba that has been lost, has now been recovered by the Lagos House. What the House did today, will in a way promote our own activities as a socio-cultural group. They have been able to liberate the cause of the Yoruba race,” Adams said.
He noted that any race that looses touch of its language is at the verge of extinction.
According to him, language can help someone to where he is coming from and where he is going, “if you don’t attach importance to your language, there is no way you can know where you are coming from and if you don’t know where you are coming from, there is no way you can know where you are going. Language can be used to achieve a lot of things. “For instance, China, which is one of the fastest developing countries in the world, make do with their language and that is why they are where they are today,” he added.
Ambassador Segun Olusola also maintained that Yoruba have in the past lost their cultural heritage.
According to him, “the House has actually decided to use our language every Thursday and I believe that very soon, they would probably make it twice in a week. I really want to commend them for this.”
Harrison Adeniyi, a lecturer at the Department of Linguistics, Lagos State University, also expressed delight with the way the day’s plenary session went. Adeniyi, who was one of the teachers that taught the lawmakers the rudiments of Yoruba language during the 2-day workshop, explained that the lawmakers were very quick in grasping all they were taught. “They applied most of the things that we taught them during the workshop and this really gladdened by heart. So, I would want other Houses of Assembly that are yet to emulate this development to know that as long as we major on the use of English language, we are still under the yoke of imperialism.
“We must go back to the root because majority of the people we are legislating for don’t even understand our usual medium of communication. The reason why lawmakers are deliberating is for the interest of the grassroots, and there is no way their yearnings can be met if we continue at all times to deliberate in a language they don’t understand, so the earlier the better for us,” said Adeniyi.
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