Niger Delta stalwart, Amb. Dr Boladei Igali has called on Ijaw citizens to adopt a central Ijaw dialect in a bid to revive the Ijaw consciousness and identity.
Amb Igali who is the current Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, (FUTA), made this call at the All Ijaw Summit held at Ijaw House, Yenagoa on Saturday, 4th December.
He stressed that the beginning of true Ijaw identity and relevance must first start inwardly.
The educationist described the language as strong internal unity across all lines among the Ijaw people while calling for its use in future Ijaw meetings.
He appealed to the Governor of Bayelsa State and the President General of INC to act quickly to adopt any of the dialects as the central Ijaw language for all, through the Council of Ijaw Traditional Rulers and Elders (CITRE).
This, according to him, should be accompanied by the rapid establishment of a teaching curriculum for it, as well as widespread teacher training in all parts of Ijawland.
He noted that some languages, like Kolokuma, are currently in use on Radio Nigeria, and that Nembe and Okrika already have fully translated Bibles.
Meanwhile, in his Keynote Address, Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to the development of the Ijaw language, stating that Kolokuma has already been adopted for instructional purposes in Bayelsa State.
Amb Igali who is also the “Ibetariowei of Izon” informed the summit that other ethnic groups, like the Ibos, Yorubas, and even Hausas, had done the same thing a few years earlier. Amb Igali believes that if this step is taken with commitment, all Ijaw gatherings will be speaking the same language in around 25-40 years.