Gov. Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has signed into law, a bill that makes it henceforth mandatory for all schools from primary to to tertiary whether public or private, to include the teaching and learning of the Yoruba Language in their curriculum.
Signed along six other laws by the governor, the Yoruba Language Preservation and Promotion Law represents a cognisant reflection of the position which Lagos State prides Yoruba language as the cultural vehicle for articulate communication.
The law also mandates all tertiary institutions owned by the state to integrate the use of the language as a course unit into their General Nigeria Studies, GNS.
The signing of the law has been commended by various stakeholders across the land, as very vital to the preservation of Yoruba Language, especially at a time when the language is facing extinction.
“Yoruba Language, like every other indigenous language across the world, deserves its rightful place and recognition like other foreign languages in our school system.It has been long over due” Paramount monarch of the Yoruba Kingdom, Ilu Baba Yeye, the Alaafin of Oyo submitted.
The new law epitomises the revival of Yoruba Language with certainty that the spirits of advocates of the language such as the late Prof. Akinwunmi Ishola and Adebayo Faleti would be jubilating in their graves, and commending the initiatives of Ambode, who has not allowed it to die
Champion Scholar observes today, that the Yoruba language is in dire need of revival, and fast too, as scholars of the language are fast diminishing.
Unlike what Obtained in time past, hardly do we now have students taking up Yoruba as a course in our universities.
The importance of language in any society cannot be overe-mphasised.
Language serves as the chief tool of communication in every society and as a vehicle of reaching every strata of the community, majorly at the grass-roots.
Hence, the recent signing of the Yoruba Preservation Law by Governor Ambode signifies a signpost to the relevance of mother tongue in every society, regardless of adoption of foreign languages as lingua-franca.
Besides its arts and culture dimension, the new law will further help in achieving the dream of integrating the south-west as currently being spearheaded by Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN.
It could, thus, be affirmed that Governor Ambode is a passionate promoter of Yoruba cultural values and interests.
The development raises hopes that other State Houses of Assembly and governors will take good clue from Lagos State and take similar step towards the preservation of Nigerian languages and diverse rich cultures.