BusinessDay

NGO moves to preserve Igbo language, culture

Youth Orientation for Development (YOD), a non-profit and non-governmental organisation has strengthened moves towards the preservation of Igbo language and culture.

The move is coming on the heels of a prediction by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that the Igbo language will go into extinction in the nearest future.

YOD as part of activities for this year’s International Mother Tongue Day paid advocacy visits to Eze Oha 1 of Ebonyi, Eze Osondu Augustine Nwego, who also doubles as the Eze Igbo of Ikorodu and the office of the Ndigbo Lagos Foundation.

Emmanuel Ejiogu, president, Youth Orientation for Development (YOD) said his organisation is ready and willing to partner with any groups in reversing the prediction.

The visit to the Ndigbo Lagos Foundation, according to Ejiogu, “was a follow up to her earlier collaboration in 2018 edition of the mother tongue day where the then President of the Foundation Anya O. Anya chaired the event.”

He said “the aim of the visit was to put into action and find ways to encourage the speaking of mother tongue among our wards, adding that research has shown that most of our Igbo parent don’t speak the language to their children, they prefer to communicate in English and as a result many of this children are losing their mother tongue.”

“This visit therefore is to raise the awareness for the need to promote the use of the language through various communication channels and media, especially among Igbo children. Igbo literatures, films, music, etc should be encouraged and promoted,” Ejiogu added.

Responding, Eze Osondu Augustine Nwego appreciated the visit, stating that all hands must be on deck in getting the Igbo language out of endangered languages.

“All Igbo Social Cultural groups most wake up and find a way to remedy this situation. Part of the action plan is to encourage parents to make it a point of duty to begin speaking and teaching their wards the language at home.

He therefore promised to use his good office in mobilizing other social cultural groups of the Igbo extraction to start thinking of organizing programs that will caught the interest of the children to their language.”

Ejiogu said Ndigbo Lagos Foundation in collaboration with the Youth YOD, a UNESCO NGO committed to promoting the programmes and values of UNESCO in Nigeria and Ngbako Asusu Igbo, an Igbo social cultural organization seeking to promote the language among the Igbo’s in diaspora have carefully selected the theme: Asusu Igbo Ga-Adi as a way of countering the prediction of the extinction of the Igbo language in just a matter of years.

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UNESCO in 2012 predicted the extinction of the Igbo language by 2025 following the classification of the language as one of the endangered languages of the world.

An endangered language is a language that runs the risk of falling out of use as its speakers die out or shift to speaking another language.

“It has sadly been discovered that the Igbo language is falling out of the communication choice of many Igbo people. This is why it is appropriate to use the occasion of the celebration of this year’s International Mother Tongue Day to raise the awareness of the danger befalling the Igbo language with its rich cultural heritages.

“Those of us in the Youth Orientation for Development (YOD), a UNESCO NGO are equally passionate about this. We are not just particular about the Igbo language alone but the other rich languages that make this entity we call Nigeria. We are ready to continue to collaborate with and support all the social cultural groups who are concerned with the promotion and perseveration of our diverse cultures because this is one of the ideals of UNESCO.

International Mother Tongue Day is celebrated every year on 21st February. The main purpose is to promote the awareness of language and cultural diversity all across the world.

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