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Lagos State declares Wednesday “Yoruba Speaking Day” in Schools with all Lessons to be taught in Yoruba



Lagos State declares Wednesday "Yoruba Speaking Day" in Schools with all Lessons to be taught in Yoruba - BellaNaija

The Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has directed all schools in the state to begin all classes in Yoruba on Wednesdays, The Cable reports.

The directive was given to both private and public schools.

The Deputy Governor Idiat Adebule, passed the directive across to Public School principals and head teachers in a meeting, declaring Wednesdays “Yoruba Speaking Day.”

The National Anthem is also to be sung in Yoruba Language, she informed the principals, and Yoruba Language has been made compulsory. She said:

Gov. Ambode wants me to pass this message to you, that henceforth, Yoruba language be made compulsory in both private and public schools.

The national anthem must be sung in Yoruba on a daily basis too.

The Egbe Akomolede has done the translation and we will send the copies of the Yoruba version to your schools by Monday so you can begin to teach the students.

I have also met with the owners of private schools and we have relayed this directive to them.

We are also considering translating the textbooks of other subjects into Yoruba Language because I believe that when students are taught in their mother language, learning will be easy and their level of performance will improve.

The state government is passionate about this Law, so we do not lose our language, culture and heritage.

She appealed to all present to support the Lagos State government’s Yoruba Language Preservation and Promotion Law.

The state’s Ministry of Education is conducting an assessment to determine the number of Yoruba teachers required to fulfil the aim.


  1. bruno

    March 7, 2018 at 11:38 am

    ambode why are u so wicked. u just want to frustrate non yoruba students. this is not fair. if u dont want non yoruba people in lagos just say it.

    • Sally

      March 7, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      this is not well thought out. we did something similar in my sec sch (mayflower) 20 yrs ago but it was restricted to assembly time on Wednesdays. Plus a student gave a speech in Yoruba on that day. But to teach other subjects in Yoruba, that’s just silly.

  2. Olope

    March 7, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    This is brilliant, and I hope other states follow suit. I can understand how non indigenous people in these places may feel initially, but when we move to foreign places, we learn the languages and culture and adapt. We should start to take pride in our different cultures, and showcase them.

    Furthermore, I agree that this will aid in better understanding of abstract concepts.

    I hope, however, that each state makes teaching of other Nigerian languages and cultures not indigenous to it optional; benefits include increased job employment, sense of inclusion for others, and promotes exposure to other Nigerian cultures for those willing to take advantage of the opportunity.

  3. abby

    March 7, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    what is sooo wrong with this? Nobody ever died from learning another language, i am yoruba and went to FGGC Owerri my spoken igbo is not excellent yet but i speak igbo @ least 50%

    • Chi

      March 7, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      But did they force you to learn igbo in owerri. If you want to carry yoruba language for head like gala. Good and Fine but leave non-yorubas out of it.

  4. The Real Oma

    March 7, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    I have nothing against this but I am just wondering how necessary it is. I took Yoruba classes in school and wrote it in WAEC but before this I spoke Yoruba fluently, just from everyday interaction, The point I am trying to make is that Yoruba students will still speak Yoruba and non-Yoruba students who want to learn can still do so without the government dedicating one whole school day to the language. Let us look at the far reaching effects of this, what happens to schools with a shortage of Yoruba speaking teachers, or non-Yoruba teachers for whom Wednesday is the most feasible day to give classes. Let us also not forget that this is going to be implemented in majorly public schools where student’s performance is already below par, and now you take out one day for learning in Yoruba… hmmm,

  5. James

    March 7, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Yes another misplaced priority that will do nothing but inflame ethnic tensions. I don’t know whose advising him that the Yoruba language and culture is on the verge of extinction.

    Ambode, not every non-Yoruba pupil wants to sing the national anthem in Yoruba or learn the language. Our national anthem should be sang in the language that binds us as a nation and that is in English. If you want to promote the Yoruba language and culture, just make the language an elective course in the school’s curriculum so students can choose to learn it. It should be optional. Don’t force every child to learn Yoruba. Lagos is a multi-ethnic ethnic state and you need to recognise it and allow children to exercise their rights.


      March 7, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      Lagos is a cosmopolitan and not a multi-ethnic state, Lagos is a yoruba state and it will stand so till whenever. You can be from any walk of life and be a lagosian either by birth or relocation, but Lagos is and will always be a yoruba state, I don’t know how hard that is for some to grasp. So far our constitution still recognizes and adhere to “state of origin” statutory, moreso the history of creation of Lagos firmly makes it impossible for it to be otherwise.

      The issue at hand, I don’t know how this will work, but any well thought out means to promote culture and language which are an important fabric of our existence cannot be futile.

    • Peter

      March 7, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      This has nothing to do with ethnic tensions. A person choosing to live in Lagos accepts Yoruba culture in and of itself. Anyone that has visceral hatred for Yoruba culture living in Lagos may need to reconsider his/her place of residence. The new law will affect Yorubas as much as non Yorubas. Many Yorubas don’t speak Yoruba these days. They as well as non Yorubas will have to
      work harder.

  6. Las

    March 7, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Great move! I hope other state governors will follow suit. In the words of Anthony Aristar,
    “Losing a language is a major setback for everyone, because along with the language, you will also lose all of the poems, the stories, the songs. And those things are of immense importance to all of us as human beings.”

    Maria Montessori said “The only language men ever speak perfectly is the one they learn in babyhood, when no one can teach them anything!”

    A quote from Nana Maouskouri – “I thought it was respectful to each country to sing in their language.”

    A people that preserves its language, preserves the marks of liberty.

  7. nene+

    March 7, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Can Ambode tell me the difference between boko haram imposition of sharia and your imposition of language on Lagos a mini Nigeria?

    Ambode there is already a palpable ethnic tension going on in Nigeria. Please don’t teach the Northerners, Please don’t recolonize Nigerians

    We really need to define Nigeria and a language she should universally adopt. All these ethnic brawl need to stop. We are getting more divided by the day. Ambode this is not the time for this. The tension and sensitivities are red hot.

  8. whaf

    March 7, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    What a stupid thing to do!! It should be an elective. No one should force anything down anyone’s throat. What a silly little man!!

  9. whaf

    March 7, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    What a stupid thing to do!! It should be an elective. No one should force anything down anyone’s throat. What a silly little man!!

  10. OJ

    March 7, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    This Ambode with his onion head is a joker…..there is no way the Yoruba language is facing extinction. Best way for child learn the language is at home within the family, isn’t that’s why its called mother tongue? Not from the school….now you need a credit pass in Yoruba to study in LASU for instance, yet language of teaching is in English, who’s fooling who here…the best brains from other non Yoruba speaking regions would go somewhere else…..also unknown to them Musa in kano and emeka in nnewi can easily apply with A1 in Yoruba to study in Lagos, this is naija……in fact, they might at as well say that all TV and radio and print media should start broadcasting in Yoruba language…yeye people

    • Mo

      March 7, 2018 at 6:58 pm

      Lo l @ “isn’t that’s why its called mother tongue”

    • Concerned Lagosian

      March 7, 2018 at 9:47 pm

      Please, the best brains from other non-Yoruba speaking parts of the country should please go somewhere else. How does it make sense for the development of ONE state out of thirty-six to be this much more developed than all the others?

      Other states SHOULD adopt this or something similar (of course they need to figure out how the teachers aren’t going to pull this off) and work towards preserving our languages, cultures etc.

  11. Chi

    March 7, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    This is is the sort of thing you will expect from a radical like shekau and yerima ( with his sharia law), not from a governor of a state as multi -cultural like lagos. This is basically a fvck you to non-yoruba indigines. If you don’t like it fvck off. This is a yoruba land . it is also a wake -up call to all the igbos and SS who are fond of doing One Nigeria. .To all the hypocrites supporting and justifying this . You know this is wrong. If you want to learn yoruba, Good and fine but leave non -yorubas out of it or make it optional.

  12. Ceebaby

    March 7, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    So do all the teachers in Lagos state schools speak Yoruba? Or are they going to have to shuffle class schedules so that only Yoruba speaking ones teach on Wednesday? I guess after the national anthem students would gather and start singing “abe igi orombo” What is Lagos state doing to make sure that it students develop critical thinking skills, or soft skills?

  13. bubu

    March 7, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Wait oh. so we have national anthem in our native language. it would be nice to hear it sung during national event. only yoruba, igbo and hausa though to avoid commotion, as I hear minority tribes reach 500+ for Nigeria

  14. debby

    March 7, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    I think it is a good move, to keep our culture and heritage. Some children abroad even speak better yoruba than some of our children here. Ambode is not imposing the language as though ALL the children in Lagos MUST yoruba or have “A” in yoruba before leaving school or it is a password to livelihood.

    All he is doing is to ensure that even if it is 1 child that will benefit and speak the language, so be it, instead of NONE speaking at al.l.
    Many homes today speak english all in the name my children must speak “oyinbo” in a yourba land, on naija soil….even the oyinbo will do everything to ensure their kids speak their dialect.

    Anyway to each his own…

  15. BlueEyed

    March 7, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    I am all for culture and language preservation but who are we kidding? The Yoruba language is not anywhere near being extinct (not with how obnoxiously loud and disturbing the language and a lot of it speakers are ) and the Nigerian educational system does not need this type of faux development at this time.
    On a positive, other states can adopt this method, that way the real minority Nigerian languages that are losing native speakers can preserve the language.

    • A Real Nigerian

      March 7, 2018 at 7:11 pm

      “The Yoruba language is not anywhere near being extinct (not with how obnoxiously loud and disturbing the language and a lot of it speakers are )”


  16. mrx

    March 7, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Most of you complaining that Lagos is a cosmopolity city don’t understand history and also lesson from history. Lagos is a predominately a Yoruba state. Although other cultures are allowed to co exist with the omo oni le. That doesn’t mean that the vast majority cannot decide on what they want to do for their state moving forward. I believe this initiative once replicated across the 36 states of the federation will reduce the amount of illiteracy. Speaking english doesn’t mean you are literate. During the Nigerian Hay days in the 50 and 60’s Yoruba was the language used to teach south westerners in schools. It fosters better understanding of difficult concept.

    We should demand that the 3 major languages of Nigeria become the national languages. English Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo. All official documents should be written in all three languages. News should be subtitled in the region major language. or subtitled in english. This drives a more inclusive society. No one feels left out or be easily manipulated.

    • Mama

      March 9, 2018 at 9:27 am

      And what happens to the over 200 ethnic groups who do not fall under these three categories? Are we supposed to give up our own identities and be subsumed under them? Your comment is evidence of privilege and superiority complex.

  17. Ajala & Foodie

    March 7, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    I am Yoruba but I think this is again our politicians wasting time and resources on the inconsequential. Really, Yoruba in PUBLIC schools !!! Even while I was in secondary schools many public schools already “taught” in Yoruba. What I mean is many students and teachers conversed in the language while in school. So extinction in such environments is highly unlikely. It was in secondary school I learned the language and this is a private school in Lagos.

    Our educational system needs help but teaching in Yoruba is not what we need I’m afraid.

  18. Hawtchic

    March 7, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    @ BlueEyed, you know English, o gbo oyinbo ju! Clap for yourself o!! Oniranu!!!

  19. Dr.N

    March 7, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Some ideas are great on paper but not in reality

  20. Lola

    March 7, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    This is absolutely rubbish!! I’m Yoruba, but I still find it difficult to write and speak the language fluently hence the reason why I always fail in secondary school. Did Ambode put the non Yorubas into consideration before imposing this rubbish?

  21. Nonso

    March 7, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Make I go dust my pvc? Since today is Wednesday, I will comply: Governor Ambode, Ó ma se oh!

  22. Engoz

    March 7, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    So the non-Yoruba kids that can’t speak Yoruba are doomed on Wednesdays? So what exactly is the plan for the kids that are not Yoruba and/or can’t speak the language? Do they lose out on their education and have to play catch up?

    1) I’m all for the preservation of culture. I had no angst studying Yoruba as a subject on its own in primary and secondary school in Lagos. No problems whatsoever because culture is important (despite the fact I was a perpetual F9 recipient. I did German and Spanish as electives in University and got As. The difference was that the Yoruba teachers threateningly spoke in Yoruba without interpreting whatever they were saying. As a good child, I dutifully watched them while they rapped and ranted on and collected my F9 without remorse). To now say that entire lessons will be taught on Wednesdays to all students is a fraud and increasing the chances of more failures. BN you really need to clarify if this is what they really mean, because this is absolutely ridiculous and doesn’t look good for Lagos state. I’m all for translating textbooks to Yoruba or indigenous languages all across Nigeria and distributing to the pupils pertaining to their ethnic group. You can then make the lessons compulsory for the pupils of that ethnic group that fears extinction, and optional for the rest of the pupils. This is if the sole aim is to preserve culture and not stylishly frustrate non-Yorubas out of the state.

    2) Now if the sole aim is to frustrate non-Yorubas out of the state, you do not have to use childish means because Lagos legitimately needs to be depopulated. It is currently an eyesore. I can speak for easterners, if indeed you are serious, join in the agitation of viable sea/air ports in that region, so that people can leave Lagos with their dignity intact rather than abusing their sensibilities over and over again with questionable legalities. Thankfully last year, a large vessel berthed in Calabar Port. By the grace of God, soon, this abuse will reduce.

    • nnenne

      March 7, 2018 at 11:14 pm

      Thank you Sis!
      I have always maintained that everyone cannot and most not live in Lagos. Nigeria is very wide, thankfully. Our leaders need to promote this through their POLICIES which include where and how they locate infrastructure.
      Every single part of Nigeria has potentials. Let’s explore them.
      Lagos is over populated. Nigerians should be made to live anywhere they so choose to live in, out of choice and not out of necessity!

  23. nnenne

    March 7, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    After all the language learning and assimilation, a child born and raised in Lagos , who knows no other place but Lagos is still a NON-INDIGENE, all thanks to state of origin!
    Nigeria is a sad country. Am confused!

    • Unfair

      March 8, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      As in. Imagine being considered an outsider when you’re from the same country.

      People like me who were born and bred in Lagos are still treated as outsiders. I couldn’t get into the secondary school of my choice because i’m not a yoruba. I didn’t bother applying to Unilag because i know i’m not yoruba, whereas i watched classmates who weren’t up to the top 15 in class in secondary school get admission because they are yoruba and/or know so and so person. And it doesn’t end there. God help you if you work in a predominately yoruba environment where you’re made to feel worse as they deliberately speak in yoruba, alienating you from their discussions and deliberately promote their person even when you’re better qualified and have delivered better on the job.

  24. Zainab

    March 8, 2018 at 1:33 am

    Wow this is really nice! Learning and understanding a language gives you a sense of belonging and makes you understand other people better, am sure there are many fights and killings that happened in Nigeria just because of the language barrier between different tribes because there are people whose facial expression doesn’t match the good things they say , this will lead to the other person who doesn’t understand the language to take it as an insult or a mean comment when in reality it might even be a compliment or kind remark! But I just wished they provided the students with many language options to choose from making Wednesday not just yoruba day but LANGUAGE DAY!

    • If i hear

      March 8, 2018 at 4:37 pm

      Story for the gods. Some of the non-indigenes who were slaughtered in the north during the Biafran war and even recent clashes were very fluent in Hausa and had lived in the environment for years. Face it, Nigeria will still be divided even if all knew how to speak the three major languages


    March 8, 2018 at 4:12 am


  26. Xyz

    March 8, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Get ready for all your children to have h-factor lol

    • Nonso

      March 10, 2018 at 9:44 pm

      Hit his true oh….#Genius

  27. OJ

    March 8, 2018 at 9:48 am

    The official language of Germany is German
    Finland is Finnish….the governor cited to those two countries. If a German engineer comes to Lagos to supervise a construction will his language of instruction be in Yoruba as well?? It would be in English of course!!! @concerned lagosian take your tribal hate somewhere else….I’m sure you’re waiting to claim the properties the non indigenes would leave behind if they are forced out….make inferiority complex and jealousy no kill you people

  28. Unfair

    March 8, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    The point is the official language of Germany is German, a language spoken by ALL of its people. Yoruba is NOT the official language of the country. It is not spoken or even understood by majority of the people.

    If we want to select one language that should become the national language, it would be HAUSA as it is spoken by the most people (based on population census), including the non-indigenes who live or have lived there . But guess what, if Buhari announced that Hausa is to become the national language, HOW WOULD ALL OF YOU REACT?

    Say the truth.

    I understand Ambode’s need to preserve the yoruba language but is it best to raise such an issue NOW especially with the ethnic tensions that still abound in the country which will rise as the election period draws near?

  29. Unfair

    March 8, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    This is the reason some older ones have advised non-indigens not to purchase lands in Lagos.

    Today, it’s Yoruba is mandatory for pupils.

    Tomorrow, you must prove that you can speak yoruba to own a home.

    Next tomorrow, if you are not an indigene, you’ll be forcefully evicted from your own home.

    No one would remember that you have been paying tax to Lagos State.

    Nigeria, Nigeria.

    • 9ja

      March 9, 2018 at 2:06 am

      @Unfair, ever tried purchasing land as a (non-ethnic afilaited) non-indigene in almost all other Nigerian states? Trust me, “advise” would be the least of your concerns.

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