Nekpen Obasogie, the author of “Benin Warriors & The British Colonial Rule in Nigeria,” is set to celebrate Edo Language Day Worldwide this weekend on August 12th and 13th, respectively, in Toronto, Canada; and in Edo State, Nigeria — in person and via Zoom online.
“The Edo Language speaking people of Nigeria are celebrating their first annual Edo Language Day Worldwide on August 12th and 13th, 2023,” the Toronto, Canada-based Obaspgie told the Amsterdam News.
The Edo Language Day initiative is a part of the Edo people’s response to the United Nations’ warning about the “extinction of Indigenous languages around the world.” Event organizers cited that an estimated “50% of today’s spoken languages [which] will be extinct or seriously endangered by 2100.”
Bronx-residing fellow Benin culture sustainer, proclaiming “Edo to the world,” Lady Aghabiomom Ogbeiwi, added, “Our Edo language is part of the group of Indigenous languages that are in danger of gradually becoming extinct.”
In an effort to stem the flow, Obasogie, a well-known historian, and Nigerian cultural activist is also the author of “Great Benin: The Alcazar of Post-Colonial Culture and Its Relationship with the Europeans Since 1400 AD.” For the last couple of months, she has been promoting the celebration of Edo Language Day, set to take place on Aug. 13th.
Obasogie, an educator and media personality, said that the declaration of Edo Language Day Worldwide was suggested in 2022 at their first worldwide Edo Language Seminar organized by NEBO TV. Both event participants, Obasogie and Ogbeiwi, noted that this year, like the last, will be a historic event, featuring many dignitaries from the Great Benin kingdom and other notables.
Each declaring the greeting for recognizing the Benin King Oba Ewuare II as ‘God’s representative on earth;’ “Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo;” among the dozens of guest speakers and moderators are: Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, Former Governor Chief Lucky Igbendion, California’s Aghahowa Obazee, London’s Amb. Joe Ehigiamusoe, Benin City’s High Priest Osemwegie Ebohon, United Kingdom’s Lady Esosa Edogiawerie, a speech and language therapist/pathologist, and the Uyiedo Cultural Troupe.
The central theme is to strategize on how to “preserve, revitalize, and harmonize” the Edo Language among Edo Indigenes worldwide. Their initiative is focused on promoting and preserving a standardized Edo Language worldwide.
This year’s event will be hosted by Edo Language Day Worldwide (ELDW), NEBO TV Canada, Edo State Ministry of Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, in partnership with the University of Toronto, Canada. It will be held (in-person and virtually) on August 12th and 13th at the University of Toronto in Canada and Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.