Ekiti Dialects Day 2020 holds from tomorrow, 20 November in Ido Ekiti. The following day, Saturday, it will continue in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. It is being organized by Ekiti Dialect Forum, EDF which was created in 2013 by Princess Titi-Oke to revive the tradition and dialect of Ekitiland. Princess Titi Oke hails from Ifaki-Ekiti. She holds NCE in Fine and Applied Arts and B.Ed in Guidance and Counseling. She coordinates members of the group (Ekiti sons and daughters at home and Diaspora) on Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram. Now members want to meet one another physically.
In this interview, she explains the origin of the Forum, its activities and future plans
Your yearly get-together comes up this weekend, throw more light on it. One is holding in Ido and another in Ado. What are the activities lined up?
The forum is having get-together in Ido-Ekiti on Friday and the main celebration on Saturday in Ado-Ekiti.
Is the government involved?
Not involved but we sent a proposal earlier to the State government
What about traditional rulers, the custodians of culture?
Some of our traditional rulers were involved. The visiting train will be paying homage at the selected palaces for royal blessings on Friday 20th November
What inspired you to set up Ekiti Dialect Forum?
I notice a great decline in the tradition and dialect of Ekitiland, which is gradually facing the threat of extinction. The forum was created for the revival of Ekiti cultural values. Also I value culture (right from my childhood). This prompted me to join school cultural group then in Secondary School.
What were the challenges you faced (and still face) in the task?
The main challenge is that some members still prefer to go against the rules guiding the group, no matter what.
What have been the responses of Ekiti indigenes to your movement?
We have had high responses. Many indigene are interested; members are increasing daily.
Do you have supports from prominent sons and daughters of the state?
Yes, I really commend Ekiti sons and daughters, at home and in Diaspora for their supports, even for this year’s event.
What about encouragements from the state government?
No encouragement yet, but hopefully soon.
Generally speaking, do you have ways of gauging whether your efforts are yielding the desired results in the revival and preservation of Ekiti dialect?
The efforts have been yielding good and desired results. People are leaning from each other both in writing and speaking on the platforms.
What are your future plans?
One of my future plans is to bring in the dialect into the school curriculum as a subject in order to retain our unique dialect.
At a point, “Yoruba Egbe” (mixing general Yoruba with Ekiti dialect) stopped featuring on your social media platform (WhatsApp). Any reason for that?
Yes, I realized that Yoruba Egbe program is not helping those that couldn’t speak the dialect fluently. Our aim might not be achieved if we continued.