By Gabriel Olawale
SOME Yoruba leaders, including President of the Yoruba World Congress, YWC, Emeritus Professor, Senator Banji Akintoye, have expressed concern over what they described as the alarming rate at which Yoruba culture, language, norms and traditions are declining and being eroded by western hegemony.
Speaking while receiving Yoruba ethnic groups, Ifa practitioners from the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Togo, Benin Republic among others, at the First General Assembly of the Yoruba Nation beyond the Nigerian Borders in Lagos, President-General of Yoruba World Congress, YWC, Emeritus Professor, Senator Banji Akintoye, called on relevant stakeholders to rise up and ensure the traditions of Yoruba people within and beyond Nigeria do not go into extinction.
He said that Yoruba people, under no circumstance, will ever surrender to the hopeless poverty, hunger, starvation, material retrogression, rampant insecurity, mind-boggling looting and corruption that currently pervade the Nigerian polity.
Akintoye said: “Our Yoruba nation’s population is very large in the world today. To mention only a few countries where we are found, we are about 56 million in Nigeria, about 6 million in Benin and Togo Republics together, about three million in Sudan and South Sudan together, about 60 million in Brazil, about seven million in the United States, about eight million in Haiti, about four million in Cuba, about five million in Mexico, and about eight million in Britain and other countries of Europe together.
“At close to 300 million in population worldwide, our Yoruba nation is one of the largest single ethnic nations in the world and we are one of the most widely spread ethnic nations across the world. A website of the University of Pennsylvania in the US offers the following information: “The Yoruba people from West Africa are one of the most travelled nations on this planet. Their language and blood type show up almost everywhere.”
The Professor of History, however, appealed to parents to teach their children Yoruba language, virtues, values, culture, norms, characters and beliefs, warning that the language stands a chance of possible extinction in the next two decades if all hands are not on deck to curtail the rate at which western culture is eroding the cultures and languages of developing nations.
His words: “Today, as our Yoruba Nation is growing, we are concerned that the culture, language, norms, tradition, beliefs and the virtues which the Yoruba people are known for, are being unguardedly eroded by the togas of western hegemony and the monopolistic tendencies of the imperial powers.
“Our parents should stop beating their children for speaking the Yoruba Language. Today, many schools do not teach Yoruba Language and they are operating in Yoruba land. Speaking Yoruba in schools today attracts corporal punishment from teachers. The teaching of history has been abrogated. In the interest of the future of Yoruba Nation, we reject this in totality.”
The conference, attended by delegates of the Yoruba People from the US, Mexico, Venezuela, Togo and Benin Republic, including a Professor of African Studies from California State University, US, Fakolade Johnson Edmonds and his wife, Taylor Gentry, both Yorubas of American descent, was attended by prominent Yoruba leaders including Afenifere chieftain, Amos Akingba, ace journalist and ex-Chief Executive Officer of Daily Times Conglomerates, Akogun Tola Adeniyi, renowned columnist, Dr. Femi Orebe, and a former Director, Institute of African Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Prof. Wale Adeniran.
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