Soyinka, Orimoogunje, others advocate Cultural Renaissance at Yoruba Lakotun

Irantiola, Soyinka and Orimoogunje at the just-concluded LABAF

Yinka Olatunbosun

The Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and Prof Oladele Orimoogunje have added their voices to the advocacy of cultural renaissance championed by Yoruba Lakotun in the last four years. This call was made during the special edition of Yorùbá Lakotun dedicated to the late author, Oladejo Okediji held at the Lagos Books and Arts Festival.

According to Soyinka, “We were raised in our indigenous culture and we should not give up on it. We need to keep encouraging the speaking and writing in our indigenous languages.”

In his keynote presentation, Prof. Orimoogunje said that current writers need to continually expand the frontiers of Yoruba literature after the death of Oladejo Okedijibecause there are opportunities for writers who areinterested in oral and fictive literature.

Orimoogunje made glowing remarks about the detective works written by Oladejo Okediji which include Aja lo leru (1969), Agbalagba Akan (1971), Oga Ni Bukola(1972), Rere Run (1973), Imura Idanwo Yoruba (1978), Atoto Arere (1981), Sango (1987), Opa Agbeleka(1989), Binu ti ri (1989), Aajo Aje (1997), Running After Riches (1999), Karin Kapo (2007), Aaro Olomoge(2014) and Ohun Enu Agba (2018).

The panel discussion moderated by Damilare Igbayiloyeof Akonilede Yoruba, included Dr Clement Odoje of the University of Ibadan; Dr Ayodele Oyewale of the University of Lagos; Mrs Folake Benson of Scholars Runnel and Mr Ayobami Oyedele of Yoruba Di Wura. They agreed that Yoruba scholars and enthusiasts need to be more strategic in order to gain more global relevance.

For Dr Odoje, “The Nigerian government needs to support the teaching, learning and research on our languages because various countries of the world are deliberate about learning our languages and engaging those who are vast in the knowledge of Nigerian languages. The value of Nigerian languages is currently being appreciated by the international community and as a nation, we need to latch onto this as well.”

Other segments of the colloquium include the extensive teaching on Greetings by Chief Gbemisoye Ayano; book reading from the last anthology of poetry by OladejoOkediji, 2018 titled, “Ohun Enu Agba”; performances by JojoBody Beat and Amulegbajo and award presentations to Prof Oladele Orimoogunje; Mama Iyabode Aboaba; Chief Gbemisoye Ayano and Mr. YemiShodimu.

The first colloquium of Yoruba Lakotun curated by Olutayo Irantiola in partnership with Committee for Relevant Arts, the organisers of LABAF.