Ugonma Cokey, Lagos
Global attention will on Friday February 21 shift towards saving many indigenous languages from extinction as the world marks the 2020 edition of International Mother Language Day.
Nigeria’s external broadcaster- Voice of Nigeria, is collaborating with a number of stakeholders to commemorate the day in Lagos.
The partners include the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) and the Nigerian Film Corporation.
Theme of event
The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Safeguarding Linguistic Diversity.”
The Director, United Nations Information Centre Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, will speak on the theme of the day during which stakeholders in the language and culture sector will deliberate on strategies for protecting indigenous languages from extinction.
The Chief Executives of the three collaborating organizations are in one accord on the International Mother Language Day because of their shared mandate of propagating the Nigerian cultural values in which language is central.
The Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, Mr Osita Okechuchukwu had acknowledged that ‘CBAAC in partnership with VON successfully hosted the 2019 edition of the event and prepared to participate in this year’s edition.
Accordingly, he said the 2020 edition of the event would be jointly hosted by VON, the Nigeria Film Corporation and CBAAC.
“We are optimistic that your coming on board will make this year celebration to be richer,” he told his colleagues.
Media houses like the Nigerian Television Authority, the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria and Wale Adenuga Productions TV as well as Nike Art gallery are expected to join the commemoration which holds at the Cinema Complex of the Nigerian Film Corporation, Old Federal Secretariat Road Ikoyi, Lagos.
The day will be marked with an array of activities including poetry, panel discussion exhibition of African language and cultural heritage.
The trio of VON, CBAAC and the Film Corporation are agencies under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
Nigeria alone is home to over 250 ethnic groups with even more diverse languages in different states of the Federation.
Voice of Nigeria
Voice of Nigeria broadcasts to all regions of the world.
Apart from English, French and Arabic, the external radio service also broadcasts in Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Fulfude and Kiswahili.
Although English is the nation’s official language, the three dominant language groups in the country are Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, peculiar to Northern, Eastern and Western geo-political zones of the country.
In past years, there had been advocacy that children should be taught in mother tongue during early childhood education.
International Mother Language Day
International Mother Language Day is a United Nations annual event observed on every 21st of February to raise awareness on linguistic and cultural diversity.
It was proclaimed by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999 and has been observed since year 2000.
Edited by Eniola Ajayi