Starting from this April, the Yoruba World Centre shall begin an annual Yoruba language millionaire contest among secondary schools in Southwest, Kogi and Kwara states. The contest tagged “Time to Reclaim Our Youths” is to create opportunity for those students to learn and win cash, materials and other incentives.
This was announced by the management of the Centre at a meeting with the leadership of Egbe Akomolede, the Association of the Yoruba Language Teachers in Secondary Schools. The President and chairpersons of Akomolede in all these states attended the meeting.
According to the Coordinator of Yoruba World Centre, Ogbeni Alao Adedayo, the programme, being organised in collaboration with Odu’a Investment Company Plc. and DAWN Commission has received approval from Ministries of Education in the Southwest and Kwara States. The programme shall start from the local government councils, move to the states and then the final stage.
It will be recalled that the Yoruba World Centre, a project of the International Centre for Yoruba Arts and Culture, was launched by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, last November in the presence of foremost Yoruba traditional rulers and eminent leaders.
Alao Adedayo recollects: “One of the posers thrown on this occasion was how do we reclaim our youths lost to the western culture and beliefs; this annual contest could be the practical step needed to get back our youths. And we believe this should be our next move: building our future along with physical structures.”
The coordinator continues, “Now, about five million children are in secondary schools across south-west, Kwara and Kogi states, with yearly enrolment of over one million. More than 90 percent of these students are Yoruba by birth and the Yoruba race shall become one of the luckiest peoples of the world if it can reclaim these vibrant adolescents lost to foreign way of life. For it simply means the language and culture shall be preserved and protected, and the race shall be saved forever. And it shall be a tool for employment, empowerment, industry and youth development; and, most importantly, national understanding and unity.
“Thus, it is our duty now to entice the children to become interested in the learning of the history, language and culture of Yoruba, through reading, writing and speaking, encapsulated in a competition among the students at secondary schools in all Yoruba speaking states. Once we have these students competing annually, in about ten years of the programme, the Yoruba will have at least 10 million of its youths who will be able to read, write and speak the language excellently. The effect of this will be rebounding.”
This, as concluded by Adedayo, is the background and the necessity for the annual Yoruba Language Millionaire Contest which shall involve all stakeholders, and those that are interested in the development of Nigerian indigenous languages.