Nigeria’s Lagos State to schools: include Yoruba Language in curriculum or face fine & school closure – Tola Adenle

In a people’s language lies more than a tool of communication. Beyond stereotyping can be seen the ethos of a cultural group: its distinguishing attitudes, habits and beliefs and general characteristics inherent in the group.

A simple example: Why do many Yoruba believe that late [poor Uncle Bola] Ige should have read èèwọ̀ – [Yoruba for bad omen] into the removal of his cap by a younger Yoruba man at Ife a mere days before his murder.

The Ides of March of the much-beloved Cicero of Esa Oke [as he was also popularly known for his erudition] was nigh, but he – and we – knew not.

Yoruba always honor old age, no matter what, and removing an older person’s cap is an abomination.  [Yoruba, a disappearing Language – Tola Adenle, The Comet on Sunday (later, The Nation on Sunday), January 2003. Link below.]

Hopefully, Lagos State lawmakers would effect immediate compliance after the governor would have signed the Bill into law rather than wait two long years. Below is an excerpt of the news report of the Bill from Nigeria’s The Vanguard. A link to the report as well as related news report and essays on the subject are at the bottom of this post. More can also be found on the subject by inputting ‘Yoruba Language’ into the Search Box on the Home Page. TOLA, September 2017.


LAGOS, SEPTEMBER 29, 2017.  The Lagos State House of Assembly is proposing a fine of N500, 000 or closure of any school that flouts its proposed law on compulsory teaching and learning of Yoruba Language, when passed. “A Bill for a Law To Provide for the Preservation and Promotion of the Use of Yoruba Language and for Connected Purposes’’ before the House seeks to make Yoruba language a core subject in schools.

The bill states further that all state- owned tertiary institutions should incorporate the use of Yoruba Language in the General Studies (GNS) curriculum. It reads in part: “The use of Yoruba Language shall be an acceptable means of communication between individuals, establishment, corporate entities and government in the state if so desired by the concerned.

“Any school that fails to comply with the provisions of Section 2 of the law commits an offence and is liable on first violation to issuance of warning and on subsequent violation be closed down and also pay a fine of N500, 000.”

Ogunyemi later told newsmen that the committee might amend a provision in the bill which recommended that it should take effect after two years of its passage. According to him, most of the lawmakers want the bill to become effective immediately after it is signed into law by Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode.

Read more at:



FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2017. 1:35 P.M. [GMT]


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4 Comments on “Nigeria’s Lagos State to schools: include Yoruba Language in curriculum or face fine & school closure – Tola Adenle”

  1. emotan77 Says:

    Dear Bro.,

    I received your comments with mixed emotions because being on the ground, so to say, I see the danger that the gradual erosion of Yoruba Language poses to its survival.

    Here you are, however, capturing in what must be for you almost an essay – not only the essence of a people losing their language, but what it would mean and along the way, a bit of HOW NOT TO go about enforcing the law if and when it comes.

    I understand the alarm bells for you as regards the punitive measure if the Bill becomes Law.

    Nigeria – you must have heard and read – is a very special kind of country where everybody considers himself/herself an outsider. The states feel arrayed private school owners who MANDATE “no vernacular”, i.e. NO YORUBA/IBO/HAUSA in their schools. Although I’m not 100%sure of Hausa or Ibo; kids who break this particular “school regulation” in Yorubaland often get punished.

    State govts do have the power to grant/rescind school approvals. I’m sure ambulance chasers of the Nigerian variety will NOT be lining up to accompany school owners to court to challenge what I believe is in their purview of states’ rights.

    Having said that, I agree with you as regards penalties. Lagos should think of the pupils whose education would be turned upside in case a school is shut down for non-compliance. A heavy financial fine should be adequate for a while before other drastic measures kick in.

    Listen, Bro., countless Yoruba parents are on the same page with private schools: most middle class (and higher) homes DO NOT speak Yoruba; they converse in English Language. There are therefore millions of Yoruba kids who, though, have never stepped outside Nigeria (and their Yoruba homeland) cannot speak the language! How could elementary and high school pupils be forced NOT to speak Yoruba once in school?

    After all, Yoruba of my generation – and younger – spoke Yoruba at home and at school but still succeeded in mastering “King’s/Queen’s English”; if teachers actually teach and pupils/students read books, of course having a good mastery of English and even another language becomes no Herculean task.

    What is a government to do? I’m on the side of Lagos State even though I understand your concern about possible government high-handedness.

    Thanks for these very thoughtful words on a subject very close to my heart.

    Sincere regards,

    Liked by 1 person


  2. mr.johnsons.snapshots Says:

    consider me an outsider and be correct in that assessment, however, I happen to agree that once your “native” language is usurped and replaced by the “Kings/Queens” ‘native tongue’ you as a “people” are forever casted aside and relegated to the dustbins of history. the teaching and therefore preserving of one’s ‘mother-tongue’ should be REQUIRED, indeed it should, but – and this is a relevant and important point – it should not be enforced at the point of a BAYONET or governmental intrusion: “liable on first violation to issuance of warning and on subsequent violation be closed down and also pay a fine of N500, 000” that my friends (and brothers and sisters in blackness) is MADNESS!!! Let us not travel down the road of acquiescence, nor up the road of capitulation in the name of assimilation. that the language/tongue of the Yoruba should be ostracized is stupidity masquerading as the “future” so, looking from afar, immediate implementation of the bill and furtherance of it’s intent is not only the most appropriate response but the right response and with that i’ll shut up



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