Great Benin Bronze


A Common Edo Language

The homogenous nature of Edo State is a reality. That a common or central language exsit among the people is still a mirage and this is a challenge before Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who recently re-emphasised the need for an Edo Language to be evolved, taught and transmitted in public schools in the State for the sole aim of promoting the rich culture of the people.

Bearing in mind that language is a powerful and very potent tool for preserving and propagating culture, the overriding need to evolve an Edo language cannot be over-emphasised.

BESIDES unifying and bringing the people closer, an Edo language, which of necessity, will be an amalgam of Benin, Esan and Afenmai (comprising Akoko Edo, Etsako and Owan) languages, because these are the major ethnic groups in the state, will fortify the culture, socio-economic and political bonds of the people, who are largely related. For, Edo people are not only related, they have a monolithic cultural background.

HOWEVER, some pundits suggest that one stock or the main stock be selected as the centrally spoken language just like exsit among the Igbo and Yoruba including the Ijaw.

OTHER suggestions equally note that the process of fashioning an Edo Language from all intents and purposes, will not be tedious and cumbersome. If anything, the syllabus will take advantage of the similarities and cure the inherent dissimilarities in the pronunciation and identification of objects and materials as well as syntax. Language teachers and translators, who are experts in English Language, the current Lingua Franca, would be engaged, thus creating a viable source of employment.

AGAIN, the process of forming an Edo Language will be a sort of empowerment to the people. The Edo nation, as it is currently constituted has a rich history. The inter-group relations of the Esan, Afenmai and Benin people from pre-colonial to present day, when reconstructed will reveal much of the historiography of each of these ethnic groupings and by extension, help substantially to under study the people, their language, history, evolution, challenges and other related demographic issues hitherto unknown in the life of these people.

HOWEVER, The NIGERIAN OBSERVER is quick here to sound a note of caution on the issue of a common Edo language. The idea, as noble and laudable as it is, should not be politicized, so that the benefits derivable therefrom, will not suffer from selfish and inordinate posturing of some groups, organizations or traditional institution. The reason for this is that like Chief Anthony Enahoro, foremost nationalist and the Adolor of Uromi, once noted, while facilitating a Pan-Edo people´s congress in Europe, Edo people have all the potentials to evolve a common language, which he suggested should be called EDO OKPAMAIKHIN( meaning, Edos are one people).

EVEN the Comrade Governor´s recent concern and reasons which have their root in the history of Edo people equally took cognizance of the fact that the non-existent nature of an Edo Language, detracts from the one-ness of the people, which is more real than is perceived by other ethnic groups in Nigeria. The ancestral lineage of all Edo people have their root in the Oduduwa and Ekalederan mythology, and the visible traditional and ancestral Head of the Edo nation, His Royal Majesty (HRM) Omo N´Oba N´Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, has a lot to offer in the direction of a common Edo Language.

The Institute for Benin Studies, the various Departments of Languages in the Higher Institutions of Learning and the traditional rulers and their interpreters will equally be handy in the projects, no doubt.
FROM available records, the variation in Benin-Esan Language for instance is only 40% while the similarities remain in the neighbourhood of 50 – 65% depending of course on the background of the Esan or Benin man in question, his level of interaction with the other ethnic group being considered and the overall world outlook and orientation. In the case of Afenmai, the situation is equally not too different as the language can be understood by both the Benin and Esan given the same aforementioned circumstance.

IT is the belief of The NIGERIAN OBSERVER, that whilst a common Edo Language is desirable, the necessary homework and syllabus must be designed and put in place to make it teachable, and communicable while not necessarily making same a Lingua Franca in Edo State. The prospects are bright no doubt, but the issue should be disentangled from the realm of politics. The component ethnic groups and other languages will have to, first and foremost, be made compulsory in public schools, and thereafter the study of an amalgam of the three major languages spoken could follow. This way, the process will become easier, more realistic and very appreciable.


Osagie igbinosun

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Comment by Otedo News Update on January 7, 2010 at 8:36pm

Gov wants teaching of Edo Language in schools


BENIN CITY - Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has advocated the teaching of Edo language in public primary and secondary schools.

Comrade Oshiomhole made the call in Benin City yesterday at the launch of a book “From Birth to Death” written by Chief Sam Igbe, the lyase of Benin Kingdom to mark his 80th birthday.

The governor noted that the problem Nigerians face today was that young people spend their time watching foreign films, adding that this could be the reason why young people grow up without having knowledge of their language and traditions.

According to him, “When we talk of Benin it should not be defined within the context of Edo South. I had argued in the past and still believe that we are all basically one people with a common ancestry.”

The governor noted that the challenge of the elders and government was to build the bridges of unity and highlight the historical facts that unite us.

He noted that in the Nigeria geo-political context, Edo State might be a minority in terms of number, but certainly not a minority in terms of the quality of brains and the level of industry.

His words: “All of us have to go back to the basics. If we have a language already spoken by fifty-five to sixty percent of our people, we do not need to go searching for a language to adopt.

If we have reason to make it mandatory that our children must speak English, then by the same logic, we must make it compulsory that our primary and secondary school pupils must be made to study Edo language’,’ he added.

He commended Chief Sam lgbe who at 80 still had the time to put together a book of such depth and expressed the hope that it would further bring Edo people together to see themselves as one.
Comment by Otedo News Update on January 7, 2010 at 8:29pm

Promote Your Language, EDSG Urges Artistes.

Pledges To Support At Least 10 Musicians In 2010

Edo State Governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has promised that the state government will support at least 10 musical artistes who make use of any indigenous languages in their lyrics in the forthcoming 2010 as a way of encouraging the growth of music in the state.

He appealed to all Edo artistes to always promote the languages of the state through their work with a view to reviving the rich cultural heritage of the people.

Citing Yoruba musicians and other tribes, he enjoined the people to halt promoting other people’s languages and in the same vein neglecting theirs.

Speaking at the recently held Lock Down Entertainment South-South music awards, the Special Adviser to Edo State Governor, on Arts, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Orobosa Omo-Ojo who represented the Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole at the ceremony stressed the need why Edos must learn to encourage their own.

Generally, he called on the people to always patronize musicians from the state by way of buying their products rather than borrowing or pirating them.

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