By Jon Egie

Chief Onoriose Lawrence

Chief Onoriose Lawrence

An Educationist, Chief Lawrence Onoriose has called on the leadership of the Urhobo Progress Union to fight to see that the Urhobo Language is included in the Primary School Leaving Certificate Examination.

Chief Onoriose who is a teacher in Oharisi Model Primary School I, Ughelli harped on the urgent need for the inclusion of the Urhobo Language in the Primary School Certificate Examination just as Yoruba, Hausa and Ibo Languages are included subjects in the Exam in their various climes.

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“This is one way of laying a strong foundation for the Urhobo Language to grow because we cannot be the Fifth largest ethnic group in Nigeria and allow our language to go into extinction”.

Chief Onoriose who has authored many books in Urhobo Language including ‘Ine Re Eha’ (Poetry in Urhobo) and the Uyono Re Urhobo series for Primary classes 1-5 and Junior Secondary classes 1-3 said his style of writing was influenced by the work of late Chief E.O.Ege who was the author of the first Urhobo Grammar Book.

“That book is the key to the model of writing Urhobo Language. Without understanding that work you cannot write the Urhobo Language perfectly. Urhobo like English Language has it’s eight parts of speech complete with the relative tenses. The Urhobo Language is one in writing but when spoken, it manifests itself in many dialects as it occurs in other languages.”

He said he has received encouragement from the office of the Education Secretary and Chief Inspector of Education in Ughelli, the Association of Primary Schools Heads of Nigeria (AOPSHON), Kogbodi and Marvel Intentional Schools as well as the Urhobo Language Department of the College of Education, Warri that has appreciated and recommended the books to their students and much lately, the Urhobo Studies Association, based in Delta State University, Abraka headed by Professor Mrs. Aziza has also shown appreciation and recommended the books for the study of Urhobo Language.

With this milestone, he believes any Urhobo man or woman that is literate in English Language and also wants to be literate in the Urhobo Language can happily do so with the assistance of the collection of his books within two weeks.

“We have got the instrument to revolutionize the studies of Urhobo Language therefore; the Urhobo Language cannot die anymore. Free education in Urhobo Language can be made possible by you and I because, every big man comes from a village and talking from experience, pupils are very excited and keen in learning the Urhobo Language, all we need to do is to get the instruments available to them”

He boasted that his commitment to the teaching and development of the Urhobo Language has paid off as presently, his pupils in Oharisi primary school, Ughelli have been adjudged the best and winners of the prestigious King and Queen of children in Delta State schools for excelling in the reading of local language.

“These same pupils were used to grace the recent Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) general annual celebration at Uwiamuge-Agbarho when they cast news in Urhobo Language to the admiration of all. They are my product and pride”.