A Professor of French Language and former Head of Department of European Languages, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Jide Timothy-Asobele, has bemoaned the extinction of indigenous languages such as Efik, Ijebu and Edo, among others.
This is as he warned that this development was dangerous for the country’s future and development.
According to him, the challenge had been worsened by “inadequate funding and shortage of personnel to resuscitate these indigenous languages from becoming extinct, as well as arrest the other main Nigerian languages, including Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa/Fulani from extinction.
The don expressed the worry during the conferment of the award of the ‘Tutuola Palm for Poetry Award’ on him by the Delta Book Club in Lagos. Other recipients of the awards are Dame Tito Obaigbo, Bernadine Evaristo and Akin Ajose- Adeogun.
Timothy-Asobele, who called for a paradigm shift in order to rescue the nation’s educational sector from total collapse due to the ongoing rot in system, said: “In all honesty, I have devoted all my time teaching and advocating the strengthening of these languages, but sadly not much progress had been achieved to stem the tide by the government.”
Meanwhile, the event described by the organisers as “Creative Icons of the Pen,” and entitled: “Profiles of the Lagoon,” took place at the Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos.
The Chairman of the event, Prof. Oladapo Ashirum, however, decried what he described as the dwindling reading habit among Nigerians, especially the younger ones, calling for the revival of reading culture.
On his part, the President of Delta Book Club, Dillibe Onyeama, said Prof. Timothy- Asobele and other recipients “personify poetry-in-motion,” adding that Timothy-Asobele in particular is a towering educationist, who has so far published 125 books, which he noted, was one of the highest output of books by any black man on the face of Mother Earth.