New policy on Yoruba: YUF scribe lauds Ambode, Lagos speaker

The new policy of the Lagos State government mandating the teaching of Yoruba in all schools in the state has been described as a step worthy of emulation by other South-West states.

Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune in Ibadan, on Tuesday, elder statesman and Publicity Secretary of the Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF), Dr Kunle Olajide, commended Governor Akinwumi Ambode and the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Honourable Mudashiru Obasa, for the initiative, saying that it was a bold step towards reclaiming the state from external forces.

Olajide, who doubles as a chieftain of the pan-Yoruba sociocultural group, Afenifere, also lauded the state House of Assembly for adopting the use of Yoruba as a language of lawmaking, following the long-neglected constitutional recommendation that the majority national languages be used in the parliament, in addition to English.

It will be recalled that the  Lagos Assembly under the speakership of Olorunnimbe Mamora had rejected the use of Yoruba on the floor of the House on December 9, 1999, on the strength of the arguments that Lagos was a cosmopolitan city and that using Yoruba “would reduce the intellectual capacity of the legislators.’’

According to the YUF scribe, the bold steps of the Lagos State government would correct the notion that Lagos is a no man’s land where every Nigerian should enjoy equal privileges.

He said: “I want to sincerely congratulate the governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwumi Ambode and the speaker of the state House of Assembly for restoring the teaching of Yoruba in all schools, as well as the teaching of history. I commend the assembly for accommodating the use of Yoruba as the official language, apart from English in the state legislature. This is an action worthy of commendation.

“The Yoruba Council of Elders and other Yoruba organisations had been championing this cause since the return to democracy in 1999, so I think the Lagos State government is to be specially congratulated for its courage in blazing the trail out of all the Yoruba states. I sincerely urge all Yoruba state legislatures and governments to emulate this.

“If the people do not know where they are coming from, they cannot know where they are going. Identity is very critical to the success of any human endeavour; it is the realisation of identity and living up to the expectations of identity that brings success.

As the Yoruba would say: ranti omo eni ti iwo n se (Remember whose child you are). That Yoruba language is being celebrated gives me a lot of joy.

“This action will completely erase and correct the erroneous belief that Lagos is No Man’s Land and that because some people who have come to settle there believe that they have equal rights as Yoruba citizens in Lagos. Once Yoruba history and Yoruba language are being taught, then we are reclaiming our land.”