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Yoruba language, culture may go into extinction if… — Ifa Council

The President of the International Council for Ifa Religion (ICIR), Dr. Fayemi Fatunde Fakayode, has hinged the survival of the Yoruba language and culture on the preservation and promotion of traditional religion (Isese).

Fakayode made this assertion yesterday while delivering a lecture titled: “Yoruba Language and Culture, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” at the Palace of Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, during the 2024 Annual Cultural Festival organised by Egbe Akomolede ati Asa Yoruba, Nigeria, Ekun Ife (Association of Teachers of Yoruba Language and Culture, Nigeria, Ife Zone).

In a call for southwestern governors of Osun, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti and Lagos States to immediately commence process of changing the language of all textbooks used in primary and secondary schools to indigenous Yoruba language, ICIR emphasised that without traditional religious practices, the language, and its rich cultural heritage might face imminent extinction.

Fakayode hinted that the time has come for people to stop calling Yoruba language vernacular and make communication with the language a must at home, work and schools, as researches have shown that students taught any subject with mother tongue perform better than the one taught with foreign languages.

He further stressed that the Yoruba language, having secured a vantage position among global languages because of the acceptance of Ifa Religion across the world, will continue to grow and with time, supersede other languages.

Fakayode said, “It is high time we decolonised ourselves by stop seeing our Language as vernacular and start communicating with our children in Yoruba, our mother tongue.

According to research, there is no doubt that students taught any subject with mother tongue perform better than students taught with foreign language.

“The issue of Yoruba Language and Religion can be compared to a Computer whose hardware cannot be functioning without the software.

In the case of Yoruba culture, Language and other components are hardwares while Yoruba Religion is the software on which other components rely.

“Today, Yoruba Language is an International Language because, all the people who practice Yoruba Religion irrespective of color or race need to be versed in Ifa, the scripture which can only be rendered in Yoruba Language.

As Arabic is the language of the holy Quran so is Yoruba the language of Ifá.

“Therefore, as spread of Islam throughout the world makes Arabic international so is Yoruba Religion makes Yoruba Language international.

This is because, once one accepts a religion, one automatically accepts the culture of the source of the religion.

“It is pertinent for all Yorùbá to learn Ifa for it is the storehouse of Yoruba culture and tradition.

I use this medium to call on all lovers of Yoruba Language to join hands in promoting Ìsẹ̀ṣe, the Yoruba Traditional Religion if truly they do not want Yorùbá language to go into extinction.”

“The future of Yoruba Language and Culture is promising because, it is witnessing renaissance.

Yoruba religion is said to be in the sixth position among the religions of the world today. It is certain that as Yoruba Religion continues to grow, so will the language and culture continue.

“The time has come for the five South-West governors to start an immediate process of changing the language of textbooks use to teach subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and the rest to aid the relevance of the language and most importantly, improve the academic performance of our students,” Fakayode stated.

In her opening speech, the Ife Branch Zone chairman of Egbe Akomolede ati Asa Yoruba, Erelu Olubunmi Ajayi, said the cultural day gave secondary and primary school students the opportunity to show and develop their talents as well as promote culture and tradition of the Yorubaland.


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