Group Asks Sanwo-Olu to Ensure Use of Yorùbá Language on New Blue Rail

The government of Lagos State must ensure the use of Yorùbá language in the broadcast of the new Blue Rail line services

The Yorùbá self determination group, Apapo O’odua Koya, (AOKOYA) in a statement on Tuesday said the Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, should introduce the use of Yorùbá Language plus English for the Blue Line users.

“Leaders should have a deep sense of history. You cannot lay claim to Lagos as a Yoruba city when you allow others to tell your story to the world. The late Chief Obafemi Awolowo would never have made such a mistake,” AOKOYA said in a statement signed by its official, Ahmed Akorede.

The group said the 21st century is about identity, about culture, about values and about heritage.

“Lagos has no fewer than 18million Yorùbá people. Lagos is a Yorùbá indigenous city dating back to the 9th century. The first settlers were Awori and today we have Egba, Ijebu, Owu and Ijesa settlements across Lagos. The Government has the responsibility to protect the heritage of the city and its indigenous people.”

AOKOYA said if the state government could adopt English, a foreign language and an instrument of slavery and colonialism, it is unwise not to adopt Yorùbá language as a means of broadcast apart from the use of English.

The group said: “Political leaders deliberately undermine their own people, they trample on the indigenous knowledge and culture of the people and at the same time they claim ignorance of global best practices. Sanwo Olu has suddenly forgotten how he nearly lost Lagos because of his futile attempts to build a Lagos that had no history and no past.”

The group said what Sanwo Olu had done was not surprising, given his lack of understanding of the socio-political and cultural context for power in Nigeria and across the world.

“In Quebec, it is mandatory for workers in factories to speak French. In some companies in Quebec, you won’t get a job unless you can speak French, even though Canada is English speaking. That is moral and cultural responsibility. When a people lose their language, they lose everything that makes their history, their being and essence”, the group stated.

AOKOYA said Sanwo-Olu should learn from traditional rulers in the North who do not use English to communicate with their people, adding that he should also learn from Ibom Air where the first means of in-house announcement was rendered in Ibibio language.

“People who are not proud of their heritage can never be good leaders. Thay are strangers on the seat of power.

“You cannot claim Lagos is Yorùbá when you pull down and destroy the city’s Yorùbá culture and heritage,” AOKOYA said.