-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) – By Albert OGRAKA:
The leadership of Isoko Development Union (IDU) and Traditional rulers of the various kingdoms in Isoko Nation have commended the efforts of the Managing Director of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Bashorun Askia Ogieh, for single-handedly sponsoring the Isoko language project, to save it from extinction.
The President General of Isoko Development Union (IDU), High Chief Iduh Amadhe, speaking on behalf of the Union said that the role of Bashorun Askia Ogieh in the transformation of all the facets of development is noteworthy and commendable.
He stated this during the very successful Mid Year Conference attended by Isoko stakeholders, leaders, traditional rulers, Presidents-General of various clans and Chairmen of all branches as well as sons and daughters of the Isoko nation at the IDU Secretariat in Oleh, Isoko South local government area of Delta State at the weekend.
Recall that Bashorun Askia, has through effective collaboration with Dr. (Mrs.) Elizabeth Oghenekome Agbada, Dean of School of Languages at the College of Education, Warri, sponsored the writing and teaching of Isoko language books for Junior Secondary Schools (JSS 1 to 3) in both the public and private secondary schools across the country.
It was also disclosed that the Isoko Language Project have been given approval by the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja.
Meanwhile, Bashorun Askia, speaking at the IDU Mid Year Conference, promised to pay the minimum wage emoluments to not less than 40 Isoko language graduate teachers throughout Secondary schools in Isoko land to encourage the revival of the language.
When asked about what prompted his sponsorship of the Isoko Language Project, Bashorun Askia said “It is my love for the Isoko language”, adding that “the language is the key to the identity of any ethnic group.”
According to him, “Language is that cultural identity that every ethnic nationality has that binds them together.’
“And it’s is in such a way that it dates back to the time that the place was founded. Although there would be some changes over time but the language is the major identity that brings people together.”
He noted further that “Over time, I just discovered that the language was going into extinction, maybe because of civilization, modernization and that our people are traveling here and there and due to inter ethnic marriages to people of other ethnic nationality.”
He explained that “When the Father and Mother are not speaking the language, the children can’t cope but we need to make a conscious effort to make sure that the language is not extinct.”
Speaking further, Bashorun Askia said “I felt I should take that as a responsibility as a Chief, you recall that I’m the Udu of the entire Isoko Nation. I’m also the Odio of Traditional Chiefs of Uzere and these are built on the solid foundation of the language. In line with that calling, I have to step up, protect over that aspect of it to bequeat an enduring language of Isoko to our people, that is my love for it.’
Highlight of the event was the official presentation of the Isoko language books for Junior Secondary Schools (JSS 1 to 3) to the President General of Isoko Development Union (IDU).