At Isoko Mirror’s 12th anniversary, awards, lecture preservation of languages in focus
Isoko Mirror newspaper has celebrated its 12th anniversary and conferred merit awards on some indigenes of the Delta State ethnic nationality.
The ceremony was held at Jubilee Retreat Conference Centre in Warri.
Also, a book was launched and a lecture with the theme, “Preserving our languages for posterity: Isoko as a focus,” delivered by Dr. Elizabeth Oghenekome Agbada.
The Chief Executive Officer, Fone Media Integrated Company and publisher of the newspaper, Comrade Felida Osede Essi, affirmed that the fifth edition of the Isoko Heroes/Heroines of Development Awards was not just an occasion to bestow honours on deserving indigenes but also to celebrate its 12th year on the newsstand.
Essi spoke further: “The last time when we had the fifth edition of this programme at Shell Road, Warri on July 14 2012, I presented a book titled Historical Facts on the Isoko People and Communities. Today another book titled, Motivational Capsules is being presented that will enhance the thinking of our people to enable us move forward.”
The recipients of the awards are Alhaji Abdusalam Paxman Ekpuze, Mr. Julius Omokioja Eto, Hon. Raphael Egaga Okaruefe, Mrs. Elizabeth Oghenekome Agbada, Opa Williams, Prof. Sam Aghalino, Princess Oghale Oweh, High Chief Iduh Amadhe, Barrister Afahokor Akpovienehe Duncan among others.
She, therefore, called on the senior Isoko people to come together and speak with one voice not minding their political divide so that the oil-producing ethnic nationality can get its rightful place.
The chairman of the occasion, Prince Roland Obaro Unuafe, National Co-ordinator, Campaign for Good Governance, said: “I am blessed and happy to be an Isoko man. What our daughter has been doing for the past few years to encourage and inspire a lot of upcoming sons and daughters of the Isoko Nation is tremendous and commendable and I pray God will continue to sustain her.”
He, therefore, charged the Isoko people to emulate the publisher and start doing something that can preserve their culture, heritage and language in order for the nationality to take it position in the country.
In the lecture, Mrs. Agbada stated that language was an embodiment, distillation and codification of human value. A meaningful contemplation of existence is impossible without bringing language into the picture. But there are factors militating against the survival of the language, which are: negative attitude of the people as well as lack of patriotism and government support for the minority languages.
She stated that an average indigene of the nationality sees the Isoko language as one that cannot be used to contribute meaningfully to modernity and globalization, politically, economically technologically and scientifically. As a result the language is treated with disrespect and neglected, leading to its endangerment and extinction.
The erudite scholar added: “The average Isoko man/woman does not see any need of spending his/her money and anything that has to do with the Isoko language. The languages needs to be documented, teachers are needed to teach the language in primary and junior secondary schools to enable people read and write it.
“As the owners of the Isoko language we should do something to preserve it by documenting the language, teaching of the language, teaching of the language in schools from primary to tertiary institution from primary to tertiary institution and the negative attitude of our people towards the language must change, that will enable the language to be preserved.”