A University don, Dr. Oye Taiwo has advocated the need for the use of indigenous language in Nigeria saying the move would help in promoting sustenance of democracy in the country.
Dr. Taiwo, a lecturer in the Department of Linguistic and African Languages, University of Ibadan, made the statement while delivering a lead paper at the 8th Annual Conference of School of Languages, Adeyemi College of Education ( ACE), Ondo, held in the institution on Tuesday April 19, 2016.
Speaking on the theme of the conference entitled: “ Language, Literature and Communication for Sustainable Democratic Change in Nigeria”, the University don described language as one of the most powerful instrument that could be used for preserving and developing Nigeria’s tangible and intangible heritage.
Underscoring the importance of indigenous language, Dr. Taiwo bemoaned what he described as its neglect by government as medium of expression when it comes to official matters.
Similarly, the language expert also lamented what he observed as the failure of government at all levels in Nigeria in using indigenous languages as instrument for promoting national, economic, social and political development in the country.
The university lecturer also flayed the attitude of those he described as educated parents for what he observed as their failure to promote indigenous languages by refusing to speak the languages to their children at home. He described the situation as worrisome stating that the development could lead to decline in the use of indigenous languages as medium of expression among them.
While stressing the use of indigenous language as a potential instrument of communication in democratic setting, the language specialist decried the use of English language by Nigerian politicians for dissemination of information stating that the development has led to disconnection between them and the people as “vast majority of the audience they address may not fully grasp what they are saying” he remarked.
On how to salvage indigenous languages from extinction, Dr. Taiwo advised the government and the people especially religious leaders, who prefer to use English language in sending out messages to the people, to change their attitude towards itby stop perceiving indigenous languagesas inferior to English language.
Also in a keynote address delivered at the conference, Prof. Olalere Oladitan of the Department of Foreign Languages, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife stressed the importance of the media, and urged government at all levels to create opportunities, that would allow more people to have access to it, stating that the step would help greatly in promoting sustenance of democracy in Nigeria.
In his remark, the Provost of Adeyemi College of Education (ACE), Ondo, Prof. Olukoya Ogen described the theme of the conference as germane to current happenings in the country.
He bemoaned what he described as neglect of indigenous languages and expressed the opinion that the development has contributed to the slow pace of development in the country.
The Provost congratulated the organizers of the conference and assured that the College Management would continue to support the school in its effort at advancing the frontiers of knowledge in the institution.
Earlier in his address, the Dean, School of Languages, Dr. Johnson Oludare Ojo stated that the theme of the conference bears relevance to the change mantra of the present political dispensation in Nigeria.
He expressed optimism that communiqué that would be issued at the end of the conference would go a long way towards enriching the policy thrust of the present administration in Nigeria.
The conference held at Obongawan lecture theatre which featured delivery of welcome address by the Chairperson of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC). Dr. (Mrs.) Nkiruka Kammelu was attended by important dignitaries from within and outside the College.
Among those in attendance were Deans and Directors, Heads of Departments and Units, staff and students to mention but few.