Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, the director-general of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), has commended the Lagos State House of Assembly for passing a Bill making Yoruba Language compulsory in Lagos schools.
He lamented that many youths in Nigeria could no longer express themselves in their mother tongues, adding that Nigerian youths are now being educated with a borrowed culture. “Our language is the primary vehicle for our cultural expression and identity as a people and to abandon our language is to endanger our cultural heritage,” Runsewe said.
The NCAC boss pointed out that many indigenous languages in Nigeria are today facing the danger of extinction because the family and the educational institutions have relegated our indigenous languages to the background. He also stated that the bold step taken by Lagos State would not only restore the dignity of Yoruba language, but would also engender academic scholarship in the language and make teaching and learning a lot easier.
He noted that learners assimilate better and faster when the language of instruction is the mother tongue than when it is a second or foreign language and called on other states to emulate the good example of Lagos State, stressing that no nation can aspire to any meaningful development without a strong cultural base of which language is very critical.
It would be recalled that on Thursday, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, ordered the Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni to send a clean draft copy of the Bill on making the teaching of Yoruba language compulsory in Lagos schools, to the State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode for assent.
The Bill stipulates a fine of N500,000.00 for corporate offenders while schools in the State that fail to comply with the law face closure and a fine of N250,000.00.