Prince Olaniyi Oyatoye, a passionate advocate for cultural heritage preservation, has urged media professionals, particularly those who utilize the Yoruba language in their work, to take a stand against the discrimination of the language in official settings.
During an interactive session with members of the Guild of Yoruba Media Practitioners (GYMP), Oyatoye, the President of Asa Day Worldwide Inc. based in Canada, emphasized that one of the most effective ways to preserve cultural heritage is by promoting the use of indigenous languages in official settings.
Oyatoye, also known as Baba Asa, expressed his commitment to promoting Yoruba culture worldwide, but he acknowledged that his group faces frustrating challenges.
According to him, it is surprising that the Museum he founded in Canada is only frequented by white people, and there is little interest shown by the native population to learn from the cultural institution.
“We get invitations everyday from Canadians, Europeans, Americans, etc. who want to learn about our culture. They travel from far and wide to visit and learn from the Museum, whereas our own people, whom we established the museum for don’t even show interest. This is really scary!”
“We are afraid because the whites or the West may end up teaching our children our culture and tradition in schools, and that is why our government, especially in the South West, should institutionalize the use of Yoruba language in official functions and day-to-day running of government,” noted Oyatoye.
He, therefore, urged the Yoruba Media group and all users of the Yoruba language to take action and preserve the language from the threat of extinction.
“I want you to seek the help of the United Nations, UN, in protecting the language, you may also need to reach out to UNESCO over the matter, especially on how our schools can partner with Yoruba print media organizations amongst you. We are also ready to support you in this course because our heritage, culture, and language must not die,” he said.
Oyatoye also disclosed that there are plans to hold the Asa Day celebration in Abuja in June, followed by events in London and Canada in July and September, respectively.
Samuel Akinrole, the Chairman of the Guild of Yoruba Media Practitioners, expressed gratitude towards Baba Asa for serving as a remarkable ambassador of Yoruba heritage and promoting the cause of the community worldwide.
He also conveyed to Asa Day Worldwide that the group is committed to providing support for their endeavors.