We must rise in defence of indigenous languages

- Feyikemi

by Akeem Lasisi Feyikemi

Actress and co-presenter of Owuro La Wa, Feyikemi Niyi-Olayinka, expresses her joy at being named the 2013 Most Popular Indigenous Presenter (Female) at the Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Awards, AKEEM LASISI reports

Actress and TV presenter, Feyikemi Niyi-Olayinka, has been in high spirits since she emerged winner of the Most Popular Indigenous Presenter (Female) award at the Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Awards event held in Lagos.

She got the award, which was organised by Reality International, based on her role as a co-presenter of popular morning-ride programme on Lagos Television, 'Owuro Lawa'.

In a telephone chat with our correspondent, Niyi-Olayinka says she is happy at the development because the prize further confirms the pattern of responses she has been getting from many viewers.

She adds, "I feel very happy because it is one thing for you to think you are doing your best in a particular field and another thing for people to feel the impact and appreciate the efforts accordingly.

"While I am grateful to the organisers, I particularly feel honoured that it was the generality of the people that decided the winner. This is because they are the ones who voted for the nominees. This shows that the good people out there are acknowledging the role that one is playing in the society."

Olayinka, who first came to limelight when she acted as Asake in Tunde Kelani's 'O Le Ku', a film adapted from Prof. Akinwumi Isola's acclaimed Yoruba romance novel of the same title, explains that 'Owuro La Wa' places emphasis on the regeneration and development of Yoruba values. According to her, there is the need to rise to the challenge posed by Westernization.

She commends her co-founders and presenters of the programme - Abimbola Salako, Adeyinka Adewoye, Jare Ayo-Martins and Wale Adekanmi, who has replaced Ayo-Martins as a presenter.

"I will not say that there have not been challenges, but we thank God that God has been seeing us through. The goodwill that we also enjoy from the leadership, management and staff of LTV is also great.

But as Yorubas would sa, 'Eniyan laso mi', meaning that people are my clothes, it is the viewers out there that have been providing the tonic that has been keeping us strong and stronger," she notes.

Niyi-Olayinka says she has not abandoned acting, although she is not as regular on the scene as many would have loved her to be, based on the inspiring performance she put up in 'O Le Ku'. Apart from the fact that she has appeared in a couple of other films, she says she is also planning to produce her own movie, adding that it is funding that she needs to get right that is still delaying the project.

She also says, "The love and passion I have for Yoruba language, culture and tradition has also inspired a project that I will soon unfold.

I believe we need a kind of organisation or foundation that will promote Yoruba values, especially among the youth and children. Things have become so challenging for our indigenous languages that all hands must be on deck. We must rise in defence of indigenous languages."

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