A renowned social activist and book crusader, Senator Shehu Sani has commended the efforts of Nigerian authors for keeping education alive and making Nigeria known in the world of literacy.
Senator Sani who was speaking after his induction as Ambassador of Reading at the flag-off ceremony 2023 Annual Readership Promotion Campaign held at the Federal Ministry of Education Abuja, emphasized the impact of some prominent authors like Chinua Achebe, Wole Sonyika, Cyprian Ekwensi, Ola Rotimi, Chimamanda Adichie, Chika Unigwe and Helon Habila who through their literal works promoted education and reading. People are getting discouraged because reading is not producing what is expected. Reading according to him expands your vision and makes you know what is happening in wider society. There is need to address our reading culture which is the key to economic development since democracy according to him cannot exist in ignorance. He further charged all to improve their reading skills so as to derive the benefits of reading.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Andrew Adejoh stated that a country cannot rise above its level of education and our level of national development can be assessed by our reading culture. He emphasized the need for Nigerians to embrace reading and make it their culture which is the key to a knowledgeable economy. Development growth is no longer achievable through mineral resources found below the earth surface, rather the level of development of any nation is livable from the level of its intellectual capital.
The Permanent Secretary therefore charged all to imbibe the culture of reading at least one book in a week saying that reading improves memory, empathy and communication skills.
In a welcome address, the National Librarian and Chief Executive Officer of the NLN, Prof. Chinwe Anunobi informed that the Readership Promotion Campaign is an intervention to awaken the consciousness of all Nigerians to embrace the habit of reading with a view to eradicating illiteracy in Nigeria. The National Library of Nigeria has remained focussed on the aims of the campaign which among others includes: to inculcate reading habits for lifelong learning beyond reading for examinations, promotions and interview purposes, to encourage reading for sustainable growth and development, to ensure the provision of books and other reading materials in number and variety, which are relevant to our culture and situation. The aim according to her was in line with the sustainable development goals no. 4 which focuses on quality education, inclusivity and quality for lifelong learning opportunities, these cannot be achieved where about 20 million Nigerians are illiterates.
Prof. Anunobi while relating the efforts of the organization to encourage and deepen reading culture, stated that NLN has donated 1,855 volumes in 1,740 titles of reading materials to 16 Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Institutions within the year. She said that the year's theme: Read Your Way to the Top is strategically designed to focus on reading competitions amongst students of Junior Secondary Schools across the nation.It will be another block placed on the foundation of last year's campaign to impact the hinterlands where we could reach out of school children.
The National Librarian stated the resolve of the National Library of Nigeria never to rest on her oars until she achieves a reading nation, for a reading nation is a leading and developed nation. She therefore called for collaboration with stakeholders in the world of reading as well as concerned citizens of this country to achieve a reading nation.
The Chairperson of the Readership Promotion Campaign, Ms Amaka Ojielo said the campaign was in line with the organization's mandate of connecting and building informed citizenry. The difference between you and the person you intend to be in the next ten to twenty years is determined by what you read and a deliberate network of valuable people that you interact with. She encouraged all to join hands with the National Library of Nigeria and build a virile reading nation.
Two distinguished personalities: Senator Shehu Sani and Mr. Akogun Lanre Adesuyi, the Managing Director of Havilah Merchants Ltd. were awarded Ambassadors of Reading. in recognition of their immense contribution and support to the educational sector. Mr. Adesuyi donated books worth 50 million naira to the apex library. Ziora Adighibe a young author of six years old who has written six books was also recognized at the event.