The Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, has advocated for the promotion of native language in Nigeria as a way of promoting development and social cohesion.
The Speaker made the call while playing host to a delegation from Ukara Ibibio, a socio-cultural organization, in his office on Tuesday.
Rt. Hon. Bassey, while thanking the delegation for stopping by, appreciated the group for thriving to protect the Ibibio heritage and urged them to take the “Bring Back Our Native Language” campaign to nooks and crannies of Akwa Ibom.
In his words: “I thank the leadership of Ukara Ibibio for this visit. It is apt and it brings to mind the need for us to preserve our cultural heritage, especially as it concerns our native language. We need to encourage Ibibio and other languages to be spoken and written in all educational institutions of Akwa Ibom State. The need for a policy direction in this regard cannot be overemphasied as it will contribute to our development and social cohesion. Country like Iraq, Libya, China and Japan have done it. They have interpreted all science books to their respective languages for easy assimilation by the people.”
“When Japanese, Chinese and French Presidents for instance visits another country, they communicate through their own native language using an interpreter. It is important for our leaders to think towards this direction and ensure there is a national policy that promotes our local languages. Most State Houses of Assembly conduct the affairs of the House through their native languages. It is the right step in the right direction. Our local languages must not be allowed to go extinct,” he added.
Speaker Bassey enjoined parents to be mentors and role models to their children at home stating that the home is the first schooling environment of any child. He pleaded that parents should endeavour to communicate with their children at home using local dialects.
To him, “Communicating with our kids at home using our vernacular will assist them in learning about their culture and promoting same”
Speaking, the leader of the delegation, Mrs. Ekaette Macaulay Utong, who described the Speaker as someone that has displayed humility, selflessness, integrity in development of the state, thanked him for the warm reception and opportunity given them.
She maintained that Rt. Hon. Bassey “is towing the path of the forebears of Ibibio nation in promoting Ibibio cultural heritage and development,” and appealed that he uses his office to ensure, unity, peace, love and prosperity of Akwa Ibom heritage.