SAVE IKA LANGUAGE FROM EXTINCTION – IKA PEOPLE URGED

Language,
according to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, is
defined as a system of communication by written or spoken words,
which is used by the people of a particular country or area. Going by
this definition, language differs, and it gives relevance, beauty,
identity and recognition to different natives of the world.

That
is why civilized countries in the world today, such as Britain,
France, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and many others can attribute
their growth and development, majorly to their languages and culture.
Britain for instance, at a time was a world power, all because she
was able to influenced many countries of the world including the
United States of America with her Queen’s Language (English).

Even
the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, that is, Hausa, Yoruba and
Igbo are waxing strong every day, not because they are more in number
but because they were able to embrace their languages in its
entirely. Nations or ethnic nationalities who have had their
languages overtaken by alien civilizations, of the west, are
struggling to survive even in the midst of plenty resources. A good
example, are most countries in the Africa continent, who as a result
of long time colonial influence on them cannot tell their own history
let alone writing it

Narrowing
it to our door step, is our mother tongue language, Ika, which is
spoken by not less than 500,000 persons all over the world, is
surprisingly today gradually being absorbed by foreign languages,
like English and Yoruba, as many Ika sons and daughters both at home
and abroad have formed the habit of not only speaking English or
Yoruba (for those living in Lagos) at their various homes but also
give names which has no Ika cultural coloration to their children.

Speaking
on this, a community leader and businessman, Mr. Anthony O. Ijeh,
blamed the crop of new generation parents of Ika extraction, who have
in the bid to get their children exposed to the wider world, often
end up denying those children the ability to speak their own
language, Ika. Citing the coming of colonial masters viz a viz
Christian Missionaries to Nigeria and later colonization of the
country from 1914-1960, as the major cause of language drain in Ika
land, Mr. Ijeh maintained that, Ika people were not the only people
in Nigeria that were influenced by the English culture and language,
“the Yorubas, Ibo’s and Binis were also victims of British
hegemony. But the later, have come to the point of realization by
making their Ibo and Yoruba languages official. The Ibos, Yorubas or
Binis, no matter the positions they have attained in life or how big
their occasion may be, address their people in their native dialects.
They do not do this because they are illiterates but to educate their
children, that they have their own history and language (alionye wu
ndua) one’s place of origin is his/her strength,” he opined.

He
further said that, all successful Ika sons and daughters of today,
were all brought up in a traditional way, so, the idea of parents
making English as an official language in their homes is not a
yardstick to their children success. He however, enjoined parents,
traditional leaders, Onu-Ika, and other stakeholders in Ika land to
help save Ika language from extinction by making it official both at
home and in public places, adding that, traditional festivals like
Osi-ezi Iwa Igi, etc. should be resuscitated so that the present
generation of Ika children will know more about their culture.

Similarly,
Chief Dr. J. I. Iguma, the Onyemeyenibe of Ogan, alias, Omiye 1 of
Abavo kingdom, while commending Ika
Weekly
newspaper for the good work it is doing in Ika land, urged all Ika
indigenes to uphold their cultural heritage for that will help
facilitate development in the area.

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