The Vice -Chancellor of Kwara State University, Malete, Prof. AbdulRasheed Na’Allah, Provost, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, KWASU, Pr
of. Abiola Irele, and Araba of Osogboland, High Priest Yemi Elebubon, have said efforts must be intensified towards the documentation of Nigerian cultures and languages.
They said this was important to preserve the enviable heritage of Nigerians and their contributions to African and world civilisation.
According to them, tertiary institutions should play leading roles in the documentation. They also urged federal and state governments to encourage the usage of Nigerian languages and the resuscitation of positive aspects
of Nigerian cultures.
In interviews with journalists in Ilorin on Thursday during a KWASU’s workshop on the ‘Ifa corpus’, they argued that abandoning Nigerian languages and culture in preference to foreign ones was detrimental to the development of Nigeria.
Na’Allah stated that Nigeria had vibrant cultures, adding that it was a tr
agedy that many parents preferred to communicate with their children in foreign languages. He called for a change of attitude.
“The programme is the exploration of literary works of the various cultures in Nigeria. Nigeria is blessed with various cultures. Today, we are specifically looking at the Yoruba culture. We have people from Toronto, UNESCO and other parts of the world who joined us to look into the subject matter.
“I have been to virtually every part of this world. I have not seen a culture that is more endowed or more blessed than what we have in Nigeria. But there are parents who have not gone beyond their home states but they have abandoned their languages and now speak only foreign languages to their children. It is a tragedy.
“If you do not ensure that your child is well rooted in your language and culture, that child is lost. Children that perform better are the ones that are well rooted in their culture. Abandoning our culture and language is part of the tragedy of Nigeria.”
Irele said there was the need for Nigerians to study their culture.
He added there were positive aspects of Nigerian culture which must not be allowed to go into extinction.
“If we abandon our culture, we will be without personality. I am not saying we should adopt everything about our culture but there are aspects of our traditional culture that are very valuable. Our world view and our morality are examples of positive aspects of our culture,” he said.