As part of efforts to prevent Esan language from going into extinction, a professional body; Association of Esan Professional Association (AEP) traditional rulers have called for the inclusion of Esan language in schools’ curriculum.
This is just as they advised parents to teach and speak Esan language to their children at any point in time.
This was disclosed while speaking at the just concluded AEP 12th Esan Economic Empowerment Workshop with the theme, “Esan Language: Is it on the verge of Extinction?” at Samuel Adegboyega University Hall, Ogwa, Edo State.
The president of AEP and former Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Matthew Egbadon, said that the essence of the gathering is to brainstorm on the need to prevent Esan language from extinction, adding that the language was fast dying, as parents no longer speak Esan to their children and that even children whose parents are all Esan don’t speak the language to their wards.
He stated that AEP was trying to prevent a situation where as time goes on Esan language will no longer spoken by Esan children, adding that what the group is demanding is for Esan language to be taught in schools .
He added that as it is today Esan language is endangered and that if drastic steps were not taken to address the issue, the language may become extinct in the next 25 years.
The former Speaker of Edo State, House Assembly, stated that the gathering at Ogwa was to find a way to salvage the language.
According to him, “If you don’t understand Ishan language, there is no way you will understand the culture itself.”
The former law maker posited that during his primary school days, he was taught Esan language but that today the language is no longer taught in schools and that this further makes the language to extinct faster.
In his words, “We want Esan language re-introduced in schools’ curriculum. We intend to reach out to our people abroad on this matter. It is a very serious one. We have come to seek support and prayers of every Esan man and woman.”
Speaker of the Edo State of Assembly, Hon. Dr Justin Okonoboh, stated Esan language cannot go into extinction, adding that the fear of language going into extinction was not restricted, as even the French and English people also entertain this fear.
He stated that the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare 11, had also called for the inclusion of Edo language and history in schools’ curriculum during his coronation and receipt of staff of office.
The Speaker added that the Oba had implored government to include Edo language and Benin history in schools’ curriculum, assuring that he would ensure that Esan language does not go into extinction.
According to him, “I know we can prevent Esan language from dying with the caliber of people in AEP in particular and Esan in general”
The Chairman of the occasion and the Ojomon of Ekpoma , Chief Ezikiel Ainabe, stated that the fear of Esan language going into extinction was real, adding that presently children from Esan land no longer speak the language .
He said that the very aim of this gathering organised by AEP is to discuss and proffer solutions on how best to revive Esan speaking of Esan language.
According to him, “It is high time we address this issue of Esan language going into extinction once and for all. That is the reason why we are here to draw the attention of Esan people to the danger of allowing the language to die.”
He stated that the AEP would put pressure on authority to ensure that the language is not only spoken but that it is also taught in schools, adding it would not be out of place if it is made a compulsory in schools
On the way forward, the Chairman stated that the association would ensure that Esan language is made compulsory in schools in Esan land.