Gov. Ambode Makes Yoruba Language Compulsory; Declares Wednesday Yoruba Speaking Day
Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has declared every Wednesday “Yoruba Day” and directed all schools in the state to teach all classes in Yoruba language on Wednesdays.
The directive was given to both private and public schools. And not just that, everyday, the Nigerian national anthem is to be sung in Yoruba Language, and Yoruba Language has been made a compulsory subject. Yoruba is now a compulsory requirement to get into any tertiary institution in Lagos.
The Deputy Governor Idiat Adebule, passed these directives across to Public School principals and head teachers in a meeting:
“Gov. Ambode wants me to pass this message to you, that henceforth, Yoruba language be made compulsory in both private and public schools. The national anthem must be sung in Yoruba on a daily basis too.
The Egbe Akomolede has done the translation and we will send the copies of the Yoruba version to your schools by Monday so you can begin to teach the students.
I have also met with the owners of private schools and we have relayed this directive to them. We are also considering translating the textbooks of other subjects into Yoruba Language because I believe that when students are taught in their mother language, learning will be easy and their level of performance will improve.
The state government is passionate about this Law, so we do not lose our language, culture and heritage.”
All of these fall under the edicts of the Lagos State government’s Yoruba Language Preservation and Promotion Law that the governor signed on February 8. See, language and culture preservation is all well and good, but this is all being done in the wrong way.
The defence that the state has put forward is that in Finland, you must pass the Finnish Language before you are offered admission into high institutions; the same in Germany and China and other developed countries. Agreed. But Lagos is not a country, Lagos is a state in a multi-linguistic country. Finland, Germany and China have one language across the entire country, Nigeria has over 520 languages in it.
Lagos, again not a country, is a state that has at least 21 million people from all over Nigeria and the world in it. For many of those people, Yoruba is not their mother language. So this compulsion is slowly moving from preservation to confrontational. Nigeria’s lingua franca is English Language. Its national anthem should be in English language. If Lagos state wants an anthem in Yoruba, they should just sing the Lagos anthem (which we don’t have) in Yoruba.
Not to mention, should we not be considering getting the quality of education and the literacy level up first, before trying to teach people maths in Yoruba? Many spirited conversations have been going on about this, but the Konbini Nigeria Editor-in-Chief sums up the most potent argument:
“So after they speak Yoruba what next? Because the quality of education is shit, so learning to sing the bloody anthem in Yoruba doesn’t change the fact that most Nigerians are illiterate.”