Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture, and Tourism, Dr Uyi Oduwa Malaka, has praised Governor Godwin Obaseki for his dedicated efforts in upholding and promoting the Edo language despite the encroachment of Western culture.
Participants delivered the commendation during the Edo Language Day event organised by the Global Coordinator of Edo Language Day, Nekpen Obasogie. The event took place at the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub in Benin City.
Nekpen Obasogie, who is based in Toronto, Canada, proclaimed and observed the inaugural annual Edo Language Day on August 12th and 13th, 2023. The Amsterdam News reported the event.
The aim of this initiative was to counteract the alarming United Nations’ prediction of the potential extinction of indigenous languages, with around 50% of spoken languages facing extinction or severe endangerment by 2100.
A devoted preserver of Benin culture residing in the Bronx, Lady Aghabiomom Ogbeiwi, emphasised the urgent need to protect the Edo language, which is among the endangered indigenous languages.
Nekpen Obasogie is a renowned historian and Nigerian cultural activist who authored “Great Benin: The Alcazar of Post-Colonial Culture and Its Relationship with the Europeans Since 1400 AD.” He has been instrumental in promoting the celebration of Edo Language Day. The event took place on August 13th.
The educator and media personality revealed that the idea of a worldwide Edo Language Day was first proposed during the 2022 Edo Language Seminar organized by NEBO TV.
Distinguished figures, including Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, former Governor Chief Lucky Igbendion, and other notable personalities such as Aghahowa Obazee from California, Amb. Joe Ehigiamusoe from London, High Priest Osemwegie Ebohon from Benin City, Lady Esosa Edogiawerie from the United Kingdom, and the Uyiedo Cultural Troupe, all contributed to the historic event.
The central focus of this initiative is to devise strategies to “preserve, revitalise, and harmonise” the Edo Language among Edo Indigenes worldwide, with the overarching goal of promoting and preserving a standardised Edo Language globally.
This year’s event was hosted by Edo Language Day Worldwide (ELDW), NEBO TV Canada, the Edo State Ministry of Arts, Culture, Tourism, and Diaspora Affairs, and the University of Toronto. It took place both in person and virtually on August 12th and 13th. The venues included the University of Toronto in Canada and the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.