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At Yoruba Lakotun, Soyinka, Orimoogunje, Others call for cultural renaissance


Olutayo Irantiola, Atokun, Yorùbá Lakotun; Professor Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Laureate and Professor Oladele Orimoogunje, Keynote speaker and Professor of African Studies, University of Lagos at the Yoruba Lakotun Colloquium held during the Lagos Books and Arts Festival, Lagos…recently.

The venerable writer and Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, and Professor Oladele Orimoogunje have lent their voices to the cultural renaissance championed by Yoruba Lakotun.

During the special edition of Yorùbá Lakotun dedicated to the late author, Oladejo Okediji, which held at the Lagos Books and Arts Festival (LABAF), which held recently, Soyinka said, “we were raised in our indigenous culture and we should not give up on it. We need to keep encouraging the speaking and writing in our indigenous languages.”

In his keynote address, Professor Oladele Orimoogunje said that current writers needed to continually expand the frontiers of Yoruba literature after the death of Okediji because there are opportunities for writers interested in oral and fictive literature.


Orimoogunje gave glowing tributes about the detective works written by Okediji, which include Aja lo leru (1969), Agbalagba Akan (1971), Oga Ni Bukola (1972), Rere Run (1973), Imura Idanwo Yoruba (1978), Atoto Arere (1981), Sango (1987), Opa Agbeleka (1989), Binu ti ri (1989), Aajo Aje (1997), Running After Riches (1999), Karin Kapo (2007), Aaro Olomoge (2014) and Ohun Enu Agba (2018).

There was also a panel discussion moderated by Damilare Igbayiloye of Akonilede Yoruba, fielding panelists including, Dr. Clement Odoje of the University of Ibadan; Dr Ayodele Oyewale of the University of Lagos; Folake Benson of Scholars Runnel and Ayobami Oyedele of Yoruba Di Wura. They agreed that Yoruba scholars and enthusiasts need to be more strategic in order to gain more global relevance.

According to Odoje, “the Nigerian government needs to support the teaching, learning and research on our languages because various countries of the world are deliberate about learning our languages and engaging those who are vast in the knowledge of Nigerian languages. The value of Nigerian languages is currently being appreciated by the international community and as a nation, we need to latch onto this as well.”

Other segments of the colloquium include the extensive teaching on greetings by Chief Gbemisoye Ayano, book reading from the last anthology of poetry by Okediji, 2018 titled, Ohun Enu Agba.

There were performances by JojoBody Beat and Amulegbajo and award presentations to Prof Orimoogunje, Mama Iyabode Aboaba, Chief Gbemisoye Ayano and Yemi Shodimu.

This was the first colloquium of Yoruba Lakotun curated by Olutayo Irantiola in partnership with Committee for Relevant Arts, the organisers of LABAF.

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