Indigenous intellectual resources of Yoruba can be constructively applied in contemporary times.
This was the view of stakeholders at a one day seminar organized by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in collaboration with African Languages Technology Initiative , Alt-I, Ibadan.
In an address of welcome, Head of Department, Computer Science and Engineering at OAU Dr. Odetunji Odejobi, speaking in impeccable Yoruba, stated that the indigenous intellectual resources on which Yoruba scholarship was built before colonization were still relevant in today’s modern world.
He pointed out the error in disparaging and disregarding such a scholarly tradition in the name of modernity.
Also speaking, Executive Director, Alt-I Dr. Tunde Adegbola, who addressed the participants in undiluted Yoruba language, explained why the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and Alt-I, two technology entities should be concerned about Yoruba indigenous intellectual resources.
While pointing out that Technology answers only questions raised by culture, Dr. Adegbola argued that people would not be able to take full advantage of modern technology until they developed technologies that addressed the unique questions raised by their culture.
In a presentation entitled ‘National Consciousness, African Experience and Indigenous Knowledge’, a retired Professor of Botany, Omotoye Olorode stated that the so called marvels of modern civilization are not unattainable through our inherited indigenous educational system.
Professor Olorede explained that the inherited educational system may not be unique but was specific to our circumstances and therefore most appropriate for our development.
According to him, the domination of a Neo-liberal world view which seeks to commercialize education, thereby making it available only to the privileged, was yet another manifestation of the age-old class struggle.
In a paper, a Professor of Linguistics in the University of Ibadan, Kola Owolabi, explored the linguistic dimensions of development using Yoruba language and culture as a case in point.
Professor Owolabi faulted what he described as a National Language Prejudice Syndrome ,NLPS which makes many Yoruba Intellectual argue that it was impossible to undertake intellectual endeavours in the Yoruba language.
Acknowledging the deep thought that went into the crafting of the documents on which the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN is based, he advised a Botum-Up rather than a Top-Down approach in fulfilling the aims and objectives of the agenda.
He spoke in particular of the need for the institution of a body that would continually undertake the translation and management of the terminologies constantly thrown up by Modern technology.
Chairman of the occasion, Agba Akin Olubadan of Ibadan, Oloye Lekan Alabi told the story of how he missed his admission and scholarship to the University of Ife (now OAU Ile-Ife) having come first in the entrance examination.
Oloye Lekan Alabi explained that he was let down by the old postal technology of snail mail at a time when the mobile phone did not exist and therefore expressed his pleasure at being invited to such a forum on Yoruba intellectualism.
Also in attendance at the event was Princess Ademiluyi, who represented the palace of the Oni of Ife, Professor Olopade of the Bells University, two representatives of DAWN and other Heads of Departments and Deans of Faculties in the University.
The theme of the seminar was Reawakening, Re-engagement and Application of Yoruba Intellectual Resources.