By Timothy Ekpo
In furtherance of the development of indigenous languages in education, the Akwa Ibom Government has said that it is desirous to improve and contribute to the growth of the various language units of the state.
The state deputy governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, who stated this during the visit of the National Institute of Nigerian Languages (NINLAN), at Government House, Uyo, for the presentation of books on Annang language, said the decision was aimed at ensuring that all languages spoken in the state are properly situated and are able to contribute to development.
The deputy governor who addressed the institute led by the president, Professor Abiajulu Mejulu, explained that language was very important, without which there could be no fluent communication, therefore it was imperative that the government explores various ways of making them relevant by incorporating them into the school curriculum.
He acknowledged the contributions of Ati Annang as the driver of the project since its inception at a time that Elder Udo KierianAkpan was the president of the socio-cultural organization. He said the Annang language was very lucky to be taken seriously by the Ati, and for the project to come to the level where nine books including a dictionary to be used from the primary to secondary school levels in the state, the group needed to be applauded.
Mr Ekpo said he was aware that the project handler, Dr ItoroMichael, had been in constant touch with the Ministry of Education, to be able to come up with texts that would be recommended by the ministry for use in schools.
On his part, the president of Ati Annang, Mr UwemedimoNwoko, SAN, said presently they do not have an approved autography which would ensure that what was put out for consumption would not be a mixture of other autographies.
He said the Ati had set up a committee to develop an Annangautography, a document he stressed would form the basis for the writing and teaching of Annang language. Nwoko pointed out that Annang as a language had many dialectical differences that would be married to form one recognised autography for them.
Nwoko thanked the institute for the job done and wished that the NERDC be notified for the final approval.
The former president of the group, Elder Udo Kierian Akpan,under whose regime the project started said the Ati was dealing with the National Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to develop Annang language and he was aware of the Ati’s collaboration with NINLAN, that the Annang language had been approved by the council.
Elder Akpan commended the council on the project and urged the writer of the books, Dr Itoro Michael, to get in touch with the Ati, to ascertain if the project was in consonance with what they wanted.
The president of NINLAN, Professor Emejulu, said he was at Government House to present the finished work on the development of Annang language to the deputy governor. He said the project consisted of 12 texts on Annang language, covering Primary One to Junior Secondary Three to cover the basic education and three reference texts: spellings book, pronouncing dictionary and Annang meta language to help those working in various areas of lives.
Professor Emejulu told the deputy governor that the institute was working on other texts relating to the areas, but noted that with what was available, it was possible to teach Annang at the primary and junior secondary schools in the state.
He said the language provisions in the national policy on education, specified that children should be taught in their mother tongue as research had shown that children taught in their mother tongue, perform far better than those taught in English and foreign languages.