NDIGBO have been advised to always be proud of their indigenous language and regularly communicate with it, as a way of preserving it from going extinct, and passing it over to the future generation.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS),Uche Nworah, made the call in Awka while speaking with our reporter on the significance of the (2021) International Mother Language Day, and the rueful condition of Igbo language.
According to him, the day was a special day set aside to celebrate with indigenous languages and indigenous language speakers all over the world and also encourage them to be proud of their mother tongue.
He noted that language is tied to the culture of the people, and hence deserves to be cherished and preserved through various ways and activities, to avoid loss or extinction.
While faulting the UNESCO’s prediction that Igbo Language will go extinct by the year 2050, Dr Nworah expressed optimism that the language will not go extinct, as there are still millions of ndigbo, both in Nigeria and in diaspora, who are still passionate about Igbo Language and its promotion.
While appreciating ABS for hosting most of their flagship programmes in Igbo Language, and also appreciating Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation for starting the Ka Ọ Dị Taa Igbo Language Newspaper; he also extolled BBC Igbo and other media houses for their contributions in promoting Igbo Language and culture through their programmes and publications, urging others who have not joined the ‘mission’ to key in.
Frowning at the attitudes of some ndigbo who are not proud of their language, Chief Nworah said, “Igbo Language is beautiful. Igbo Culture is beautiful. Anywhere you see me, I dress in Igbo attire, and that simply shows that I love and that I am proud of my identity as Onye Igbo. And that is what is expected of every Igbo person.
“I have an English name, but many people do not even know that I have an English name, let alone knowing the name; and it is for a reason that I front and chose to be addressed by my Igbo name alone, even when I lived and taught in the UK University. There’s no point being ashamed of your language; be proud of your language and identity as Onye Igbo,” he added.
Highlighting the innumerable benefits of speaking Igbo Language, Nworah who shared his experiences of how speaking the language has helped to endear and connect him to people and guaranteed him of his safety in some places where he was new to, said times were past when people who speak Igbo Language are seen as illiterates, even as he urged Ndigbo to value and cherish their language, as no one else would promote their language for them, if they fail to do so.
“Anambra State Government has done remarkably well by initiating various policies aimed at promoting Igbo Language and culture; but it’s obvious government cannot do it alone; parents, teachers, schools, religious and community leaders, and in fact, every Igbo person has a part to play in saving and preserving our dear language; all hands must be on deck,” he concluded.