By Eric Elezuo
The conference hall of the Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies (CIAPS) came alive Thursday as the Director of the centre, Professor Anthony Kila, unveiled a book titled Owe: Yoruba by Proverb to further propagate the culture, traditional and language of the Yoruba people of Nigeria and the Diaspora.
The book according to the author, is a journey into the intricate and innermost mind of the Yoruba people, noting that the Yoruba culture is triumphant in the sense that it has blazed the trail.
Kila is of the opinion that the Yorubas remain one of the few people in the world who did not have to sweat or till the ground, fish or hunt to eat. All they had to do was think, research and learn the culture. Those people, he said were the priest, the catechist, seers, advisers and custodians of the culture.
While explaining that the book seeks to understand the ways the society and culture operate, he noted that it is not primarily a book about language, rather it provides an insight into getting to know the proverbs in Yoruba culture as part of everyday life.
Mr. Kila used the opportunity to intimate the people that his pet project on reading called ‘My Library Project’, was on the way and will hit the public space very soon, precisely on December 30, 2018. He cautioned the dignitaries and governments of various states against substituting one subject with another in schools, rather it should endeavour to expanded them. He further noted that the next on the line of major projects is a book on ‘Hausa Proverbs’.
In his remarks the representative of the Lagos State government, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, at the occasion, the Commissioner for Information. Mr. Kehinde Bamgbetan, expressed the governor’s goodwill message and his solidarity stand with the culture and tradition of the Yoruba oriented book.
The governor, he said, is passionate about arts and culture and the furtherance of the Yoruba culture, more especially.
“We are happy to identify with the author on this occasion because this effort correlates with the commitment of the Lagos state government to champion the arrival of the Yoruba Language. Earlier in the year, his Excellency signed a bill on Yoruba Language preservation and commercial law which made the teaching of Yoruba Language in both public and private schools in Lagos State compulsory,” he said.
He noted that the publication of the book is timely and apt as it makes for ‘cultural renaissance in our society, and gives confidence to our inept abilities to rise to our cultural responsibilities so that the cultural reawakening can be fulfilled. The book demonstrates that out people has the capacity to think’.
Speaker after speaker, the book as well as the author received deserved accolades, even as the Yorubas and lovers of Yoruba culture were encouraged to avail themselves a copy in order to reacquaint themselves with the opportunity to once again come to terms with the culture.
In their various speeches, Gbenga Olowo, Bola Makinde, who spoke via video, Prof Bola Akinferinwa and many others eulogised the book and Prof Kila, and called for whatever it takes to keep the Yoruba language and culture alive.
The event was attended by various heavyweights in the writing and culture preservation business as well as government functionaries among whom were Prof Tola Adeniyi, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba, Otunba Gani Adams, represented by Barr Yinka Oguntimehim, Secretary of Yoruba Elders Forum and Chairman of the occasion, Are Olajide, Chairman of Golfview Hotel, Governor of Sokoto State Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, represented by Alhaji Mohammed Bello; Father of the Day, Engr. Bello Suleiman; Lagos State governor represented by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kehinde Bamgbetan; Mrs. Wunmi Adegunwa of CIAPS, Mr. Adekunle Adesoko, who represented the former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniels, Mr. Jiye Ojo, Senator Ganiyu Solomon among others.