Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lagos Assembly May Adopt Yoruba as Official Language

Lagos Assembly May Adopt Yoruba as Official Language

By Deji Elumoye, 11.28.2007

Lagos State House of Assembly yesterday said it is considering the use of Yoruba language as its working language on the floor of the Assembly.
This is in response to a letter to this effect, written by one Mrs Ohiri Anuche, who described herself as a concerned citizen.
In the letter read on the floor of the Assembly, the woman said it was not in the interest of the grassroots for proceedings in the Assembly to be held in English Language, considering the fact that many of them do not understand the language. She cited the examples of Anambra, Ogun and Ekiti states, where local languages are used.
Debating the matter, Honourable Sanai Agunbiade, Ikorodu 1, said writer of the letter was simply drawing attention “to a constitutional provision, which says "state Assemblies could transact their businesses in English Language or other languages spoken by the people."
In his contribution, Mr Oshun Olanrewaju, Lagos Mainland II, argued that it was necessary to conduct the business in Yoruba Language at least once a week, to carry the people at the grassroots along.
“My mother for example, may want to hear her son or follow proceedings of those who represent her, but since she does not understand English, she would be robbed of this privilege,” he said.
Mr Oshinowo Adebayo, Kosofe 1, said this will force children to understand their mother tongue, because many of them do not speak or understand Yoruba.

However, the Majority Leader, Kolawole Taiwo, Ajeromi-Ifelodun 1, differ because, according to him, he represents a section of the state where majority do not speak Yoruba.“I represent Ajegunle, which is dotted with people of various ethnic groups, and I am obliged to use the English Language, so that I can communicate with them and vice-versa,” he said.The Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, suggested that the matter be put in proper motion for consideration, but added that anybody who had lived in a place for up to 10 years should be able to speak and understand the language of that place.

This article was taken from

1 comment:

zen said...

Personally I think it would be a bad idea for the Lagos Assembly to adopt Yoruba as their official language. Lagos used to be the capital of Nigeria and is either the first or second most developed and modern city in Nigeria, (Abuja being the other one) so to conduct the affairs of their Assembly in Yoruba would be a mistake. The reason why I think so is there are many Lagosians (residents of Lagos) whose native language is not Yoruba or who do not speak Yoruba even if it is their native language. Many Lagos residents went to Universities abroad (England, America, etc) and therefore do not primarily communicate in this language. Additionally, and this is by no means supporting a bias, but most educated people in Nigeria speak English so to change the Assembly's language would be to exclude a lot of people whose input would be beneficial.

A possible solution could be to have a Yoruba translator in the Assembly who translates what is said as it is being said during times of t.v. coverage for those who wish to understand but are not fluent in English.