Language as vehicle of development: The Ambode example
Among the various definitions of language is that of “A system of conventional spoken, manual or written symbols by means of which human beings, as members of a social group and participants in its culture express themselves.” I will go further to assert that the language of a people is like the genetic vehicle that carries the encryption of their ideas, philosophiesand values. It is eventually the vehicle of its development as itcontains the nuances and inconsequential that ultimately gives shape, structure and form to embedded ideas, thoughts in the soul and nature of its constituents. It is the greatest instrument for man to communicate, to express his identity, to play, for emotional release and to imaginatively express himself.
The above preamble is to underscore the importance of thedecision of the Lagos State Government to enact a law that has been aptly titled the “Yoruba Language Preservation and Promotion Law and For Connected Purposes 2018.” For this writer, this law is the first step ever to have been taken by any government to assert our independence as a people and a nation under God. Whereas the development of the Yoruba language must have passed through several stages whereby some of its essence must have been lost in antiquity, the deliberate decision of the government to recognize the importance of language in development in the life of its people is both commendable and laudable.
It was Ahmenhotep, the Egyptian Pharaoh and sage who posited after deep thought and reflection that “The happiness of the people is the glory of the King.” The preservation, promotion and popular usage of the Yoruba language is no doubt a source of immense joy to a Lagos State that is indigenous to the Yoruba people as it does not only preserve the language, but also the culture and space.
It is also to the eternal pride of the Yoruba people in their geo-political region and across the country and the Diaspora that the governor has come of age to assert a significant part of his people’s identity through laws that would eventually cement its usage in international fora. Governor Ambode has demonstrated nothing short of an audacity to dare.As the glory of this intervention naturally and expectedly would go to His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, the Speaker of the House of Assembly Honourable Obasa, the Lagos State Executive Council, and the entire members of the House of Assembly and all those who worked in the background to midwife the bill into law must also be commended in bringing to safe delivery this novel piece of legislation.
There is greatness inside all of us. But we must first choose to be great. With a finite amount of time to live our ideal life, the time to embrace the inner excellence is always now. Governor Ambode and those at the helms of the affairs of government had chosen the path of greatness. It is our duty to support them and indeed make them greater.
The leadership style of the Ambode administration as it focuses on the former “GRAs” (Government Rejected Areas) of our rural areas, uncharted population centers of Alimosho, Ipaja, Aboru, Alagbado Axis, Epe, Sholuyi, Ajelogo, Ogudu Ori-Oke, Ikorodu etc, an insightful observation of their efforts betrays their attention to scholarship, engineering, sociology, general professionalism and the desire for excellence.
The elimination of traffic congestion on the outward journey from Lagos Island through the Third Mainland Bridge at Iyana-Oworo was one of its first testaments of a purposeful government. The employment of engineering and design at the notorious Berger bottleneck and Iyana-Oworo (Inward Lagos) Bus Stop portrays a government that does not just throw money at problems but studies, analyses and propound viable and sustainable solutions. It was Edmund Hillary who said “People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things “.
It must be said here that one of the banes of African political leadership is mental indolence and shyness from great and extraordinary decisions. The Lagos State Chapter of Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) and my humble self salute Governor Ambode on the wise and progress instilling decision to enact the law for the Preservation and Promotion of the Yoruba Language for Lagos State, Nigeria. We call on him to take even greater and epochal decisions that will impact positively on the people of the state. Governor Ambodeis poised to truly become the lodestar of development, progress and emancipation in the South West Region of Nigeria.
I will end this piece with the slogan prayer of the new Nigeria patriots who believe that Nigeria had been blessed sufficiently by God, but that our supplication now should be for Him to save us.
God Save Nigeria. Amen.
Ayo Osunloye is Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group,Lagos State Chapter
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