Hon. Williams Eghebi, Senior Special Adviser to the State Governor on Orientation, on Thursday, July 26, 2018 opined that our (IKA) names should reflect our cultural identity This, he said in a visit to Technical Committee on the Standardization of Ika Language Studies (TECOSILS) situated at Lagos/Asaba Road by Abude Junction.
“It’s so unfortunate that some of our Ika people have decided to shy away from our Ika language. You will come across some people who answer Fortune Favour. This is pathetic. Our language should reflect our identity.
We still come to find out that some Ika people do not even know how to speak the language. If you go to the College of Education, Agbor, you will see Ika People greeting fellow Ikas ‘miguo’. I witnessed such from an Ika lady who grew up in Urhobo Land.
Your language shows your identity. It is your pride. When I was in Sunderland, I met someone with the name Teshola. We became friends just for the fact that he is a Nigerian.
Anyone who hides his identity has something evil or dubious about him that he is covering.”
Lending his voice to this, Mr. Dan Usifoh, Head, Collective Leadership of Onu Ika, gave an instance of a chief, “Who died long ago. According to him, the chief was so rich that one would know he is wealthy by the mere sight of him, but he bluntly refused to associate himself with Ika people in Dec. 26 1985, he was caught peddling drugs, having been monitored by security agents for six years. It was then I realized that, that was why he was keeping away from us,” he said.
In appreciation to the effort of TECOSILS, whose co-ordinator is Dr. Chnedu Anya, Hon Eghebi said,
“I must specially thank the TECOSILS body for championing the course of revamping Ika Language. They should not see it as a means of making money, but as their own contribution to the development of their community, so that when they get old and leave the stage, the society will remember them as those who contributed to the development of Ika Language”.
Speaking on the establishment of TECOSILS, Elder Daniel Usifoh said, “TECOSILS was founded as a result of us launching a dictionary. To have a dictionary is not a complete work of a language. So, we have to standardize the words and also do what is necessary to have it approved by the appropriate authorities. That is why we have this committee for the standardization of Ika language studies.
“The work of this committee is also a process in accrediting Ika Language department in College of Education, Agbor. We also have gone far in this. Just yesterday, the 25th day of July 2018, we met with the management of College of Education, and also sent representatives to National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCC) Abuja and they have given us a go ahead to get ready resource materials for the pre-accreditation of Ika language towards the reinstatement of the department”.
Speaking further, Elder Daniel Usifoh enumerated some of the achievements of TECOSILS so far. He said, “The body has worked on the curriculum for teaching Ika Language in Primary School and Jss 1-3. The body has also produced some books and are editing many others for the teaching of the language. There are also standard terms developed for the effective teaching and learning of the language”.
He also stated that ONU IKA is a facilitator of the body and also the financier to some extent. He also added that one of the goals of the body is to train teachers who are to teach the language in schools.
Elder Usifoh also noted that there are challenges faced by the body which include the chances of getting people to register for the department when it is finally reinstated. This is because many think they must have a job that is directly related to the course they studied in school.
“I don’t believe that once you are trained as an economist, you will do the job of an economist. You can study Ika language and work in an embassy as an interpreter”, he opined.
TECOSILs comprises about five groups; ONU IKA, Ika Language Development Union, Onu Kokome, Mission for Language Translation (Ika Bible), and Ika TV.