A legacy on culture and language is the best kind of legacy that can be left for the younger generation,â€ according to Wale Omole, chairman, Governing Council of the Yoruba Academy at the inauguration of the Board of Trustees and the Governing Council of Yoruba Academy in Ibadan recently. At the event, which pooled members of the academia and politicians and professionals from different walks of life, Omole said that the Yoruba academy had been established â€œfor the advancement of the Yoruba cause.â€
Oladipo Akinkugbe, Emeritus professor of Medicine and former vice-chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and University of Ilorin, who was chairman of the event, said the idea of the â€œYoruba academyâ€ had become very critical to further the need for the promotion of self-confidence, strong Yoruba identity and develop our intellectual capacity ... and propel our minds, body and spirit to identify with the urgent need to preserve and continue to nurture who we are.â€ While noting that the Yoruba is a proud race, he said that the academy would strive to help the Yoruba [people rediscover their pride.
On his part, Dimeji Bankole, speaker, House of Representatives, said that in the last 10 years, the South-west had been relegated to the background in the fields where they used to be at the forefront. â€œFor instance, in the banking sector about 80 to 85 per cent of the sector used to be controlled by Yorubas but now there are just about three to four banks being controlled by them.â€ He noted that the recent mass failure in the NECO examinations could be linked to the inability of the race to actively involve in charting the course of the educational sector. Bankole called on Nigerians to be actively involved in holding their political representatives accountable for the affairs of the country. â€œWe must all work together to achieve rapid developmental progress,â€ he said.
Babatunde Fafunwa, chairman, board of trustees of the academy and former minister of education, said that the Yoruba language fell into the worldâ€™s category of popular languages for being a very rich one. While itemising Yorubaâ€™s rich oral traditions, Fafunwa observed that the Yoruba culture is the only culture associated with the Ifa divination, which is currently recognised by the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO. Fafunwa called for the promotion and elevation of the language.
Omole stated that the academy is not â€œa political associationâ€, adding thatit is open to individuals from all walks of life, who share the ideal of furthering the Yoruba cause. The Yoruba Academy opened its office in August 2008. Members of the academyâ€™s board of trustees include Jimi Agbaje, politician; Olajumoke Anifowoshe, secretary of Ajasin Foundation; Akinwunmi Isola, professor of Yoruba Literature at Obafemi Awolowo University; Wale Oshun, politician, and Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate and novelist. Members of the governing council include Wale Adebanwi, founding executive director of the academy; Tunde Kelani, cinematographer, and Sola Olorunyomi, senior research fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Ibadan. Other eminent personalities at the occasion included, retired justice of the Supreme Court, Bola Babalakin, Professor â€˜Bolanle Awe, Professor Akinwunmi Isola, Professor Ayo Banjo, former vice-chancellor, University of Ibadan, Chief â€˜Bisi Akande, national chairman of the Action Congress, AC, and former governor of Osun State, Mr. Adebayo Faleti, a renowned playwright, actor and broadcaster and many other accomplished Yoruba people.
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