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Lagos State Government’s efforts in preserving Yoruba Language from going into extinction has earned çommendation from the Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Yaba College of Technology chapter, Nureni Yekini.
Yekini gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Wednesday.
He said that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s action on the matter was a welcome development and would keep Yoruba Language in its pride of place.
NAN reports that Ambode had on February 12 signed the Yoruba Language Preservation and Promotion Bill into law.
The law makes it compulsory for all candidates seeking admission into all tertiary institutions in the state to have at least a credit in Yoruba Language.
It states that the teaching of Yoruba Language is now compulsory in both the private and public schools in the state.
Law also mandates all the state-owned tertiary institutions to integrate the use of the language as a course unit into their General Nigeria Studies.
Yekini said: “Well, I must be sincere with you; they have acted in the right direction.
“There is one problem we are having in this country which is lack of respect for our culture and languages.
“This is a country with multiple languages, but our children do not speak our language and parents also look away.
“We all need to learn the rudiment of a particular brand. Yoruba is the mother tongue in Lagos, so it must be widely used.
“There is need for everybody to understand some parts, rudiments of other languages across the country.”
He, however, said that it was not appropriate to denial people admission into the state’s institutions because of the law.
He said: “The Lagos State Government has done something very good, but not to the extent of saying you will not be admitted into higher institutions, if you don’t get credit in Yoruba.
“It will not be palatable enough, but it is advisable that we promote our language.
“It is not appropriate to say people must get credit pass in Yoruba Language before they can get admission into any of the state higher institutions.
“No, I don’t support that, but everybody must learn all the languages we have in Nigeria, especially the three major ones- Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
“I am a Yoruba man. I speak Hausa to some extent; I speak Igbo to some extent. It is very important to learn more than one language.
“I speak Igbo Language to some extent because I cannot just get to the East and become complete novice about the language there, but the level government has taken it to is now too much.”
The ASUP chairman called for the adoption of the mother tongue to teach in higher institution for better performance.
He said research had shown that teaching children with the mother tongue aides better understanding.
Yekini said: “About 65 per cent of institutions in India adopt indigenous languages for communication. In China, the same thing, but here we want to die because of English.
“It depends on how communication comes up, you cannot force me to speak English the way the Queen of England speaks English. Queen cannot speak Yoruba the way I speak Yoruba.
“It is a terrible thing. It’s good for us to at least help our children to speak our language, but this thing is not government that can just do it.
“We have to start from the grassroots; some parents are not helping our children; we don’t speak our language to our children at home.”