Launch of Kị́rị́kẹ́nị́ aye fịe (Speak Kị́rị́kẹ́) - Self-study Book and Audio book in the Kị́rị́kẹ́ (Okrika) Language
Kị́rị́kẹ́nị́ aye fịe (Speak Kị́rị́kẹ́) – a Kị́rị́kẹ́ self study language Book and Audio Book CD, was officially launched in Port Harcourt on Sunday 10th December 2017 at Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt.
The Book, which was commissioned by Dr Ifie Sekibo, Managing Director of Heritage Bank PLC and published by Niger Delta Books Limited, is authored in English by Mrs. Oyintarela Ebiere Umeri and translated into Kị́rị́kẹ́ by Reverend Emmanuel Tamunoḅara-aḅiḅoye Oroyi.
Niger Delta Books Ltd was established to contribute towards the revitalization of all languages of the Niger Delta region, through developing written and audio language materials for different age groups and on a variety of subjects. The company successfully launched the first book- Ịzọ́n Fie (Speak Ịzọ́n) in Lagos in May 2013. During that launch, Dr Sekibo commissioned the company to publish a similar one in the Okrika language.
The aim of the Kị́rị́kẹ́nị́ aye fịe (Speak Kị́rị́kẹ́) Book and Audio Book CD is to encourage the speaking and the preservation of the Kị́rị́kẹ́ language of the Okrika people. It is a response to and in compliance with the National Policy on Education for the production and reading in our indigenous languages.
The gradual dearth and erosion of our indigenous languages especially amongst the youths and children has been a cause for concern for many literary icons like Chimamanda Adichie, Binyavanga Wainaina, et al. During the launch, this was also graphically explained by Dr Tony Enyia, Fomer Executive Secretary, Rivers State Readers Project, who lamented the stalling of indigenous languages development in the state.
The book was reviewed by Dr Steve Ogan, an accomplished and revered Author, Man of God and an Okrika indigene. He described the book as “a practical guide to speaking the Okrika language”. According to him, “People often talk about problems without professing solutions on how these problems can be solved. Kị́rị́kẹ́nị́ aye fịe (Speak Kị́rị́kẹ́) is a definite and practical solution to the problem of the looming extinction of our indigenous languages. The Book is well written, carefully edited, expertly translated and professionally formatted to achieve its intended Purpose. It is an indispensable tool for rescuing the 25% of children bellow 11 years who are unable to speak the indigenous language of their parents, at least amongst the Wakirike people”.
Dr Ogan also stated that “revival can be started by passionate desire and the spoken word, but it takes the written word to sustain the revival. Kị́rị́kẹ́nị́ aye fịe (Speak Kị́rị́kẹ́) will not only enflame the passionate desire for the restoration of our cultural Heritage, it will inspire us to speak the language and above all sustain the revival of the language of the Wakrike People”.
The event was chaired by Mr Timi Alaibe, Former MD of NDDC and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and hosted by Dr Ifie Sekibo, Managing Director/CEO, Heritage Bank PLC.
The Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Her Excellency, Dr. Mrs Ipalibo Harry Banigo, was represented by Mr Ben Roberts, Director of Administration, Office of the Deputy Governor.
Other special guests included Senator Chief Emmanuel Diffa JP, Ambassador Idaere Ogan, Hon. Boma Iyaye, Hon. Commissioner Rivers State Ministry of Sports, Hon. Fubara Imangs, Mr Fred Ndigbara, Rivers State Ministry of Culture, Mr Abiye Amachree, Mr Isodiki Thompson, Mr Daibe Selema, Wakrike Development Coalition, Dr. Friday Nwafor, Dept. of Humanities, Uniport, Dr John Yeseibo, Head of Theatre & Film studies, Uniport, and Mr Ben Owuapu Willie. National literary elders, Professor E.J Alagoa and Dr Gabriel Okara also graced the occasion.
As stated by Mr Daibe Selema of Wakirike Development Association.
"I speak , read and write kirikeni. Indeed most persons in my age bracket would claim this. But we went in to sleep, and in our sleep lost our language, to the extent that some of our children cannot speak or read kirikeni. We were gradually losing hope until Mrs Oyintarela Umeri and her team appeared on the scene. They have shone very bright lights at where we slept. They succeeded in waking us up from our deep sleep. We have decided to retrace our steps so that our children can start speaking kirikeni.
Everything (the launch) was organized perfectly well. The hall was well-arranged.. Mr Timi Alaibe former MD of NDDC had a good show of the evening. The Book Reviewer, Dr Steve Ogan, kept all of us interested. What do you expect in a gathering that you have Emeritus Professor Alagoa and the old man Dr Gabriel Okara? The socials that followed were Top class. One word to describe the evening- PLEASANT".
To ensure sustained revival of the indigenous languages in Rivers state, Dr Tony Enyia proposed that “To consolidate on this achievement, Mrs Umeri needs our encouragement to progress in writing the Books for Kirike school children by reviving the Rivers State Readers Project soonest”. Enquiries:
Mrs Ivy Davies-Etok-Akpan
Tel: +234 803 309 5050
Mr Yibo Koko
Tel: +234 803 339 9961
Mrs Oyintarela Umeri
Tel: +234 816 869 9380