Soyinka, Ishola make case for Yoruba language

BY OLA AJAYI

IBADAN—NOBEL Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has urged Yoruba sons and daughters to ensure that the language and culture of the Yoruba land do not go into extinction.

Soyinka, whose comments aligned with that of a foremost writer, Prof. Akinwunmi Ishola, spoke at the inauguration of Odu’a Hall of Fame and Museum at Cocoa House, Ibadan, yesterday.

At the programme organised by Odu’a Investment Company Limited, Soyinka lamented the extent to which things had derailed for the Yoruba nation and the country at large when peoples’ heritage and monuments were allowed to waste away.

Soyinka, who was a special guest at the event, said: “This cooperative building (Cocoa House) was a victim of deterioration simply because the normal facilities that were in place at inception had decayed. Cocoa House could not save itself.

“There is need to right the wrongs. With this initiative (Hall of Fame), I see the beginning of Yoruba technology. I am happy that appeal had been made earlier on the need to develop our culture.

“There is one negative aspect. Not just Ibadan, not just the South-West, but the country and its institutions just went into downward spin, including the premier university.”

He, however, expressed optimism that things had begun to take shape, saying “what I have seen today shows that things are being brought into proper shape. We can say that Cocoa House is the contemporary Opa Oranyan of the Yoruba.”

Soyinka commended the management of Odu’a Investment for “resuscitating and re-invigorating what is so essential to us as a people.”

Ishola said: “The idea behind setting up the Hall of Fame and museum is good. But what will help is the preservation and promotion of Yoruba language so that the younger generation can imbibe the culture of Omoluabi.

“Odu’a must find a way of teaching the younger generation the Yoruba language. Let writers write folk tales and short stories that could be developed into cartoon.”

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