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- Information is power, and can only be obtained by reading – Adamu Adamu, Honourable Minister of Education
- Illiteracy carries with it a status of inferiority – Prof. Zaynab Alkali, Chairman, National Library Board
- Parents and guardians must do all in their power to inculcate sustainable reading habits in their wards – Prof. Lenrie Aina, National Librarian
The Annual Readership Promotion Campaign of the National Library of Nigeria was flagged off on Tuesday 10th April, 2018 by the Honourable Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, at the Conference Hall of the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja with the theme: “Sustaining Lifelong Reading for Positive Change.”
Declaring the event open, the Honourable Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu stated that the need to revive and sustain the reading interest of Nigerians could not be over-emphasized, in view of the fact that a reading nation is a progressive and powerful nation. He further noted that, information is power and can only be obtained by reading which translates to knowledge and experience which are indispensable ingredients in nation building.
The Honourable Minister, who was represented by the Ministry’s Director of Education Support Service, Mrs. Justina Ibeh, commended the sustained efforts of the National Library of Nigeria having been in the forefront of the campaign over the years to revive the reading culture in Nigerians and create a sustainable environment for its continuity.
According to the Minister, sustaining a lifelong reading for positive change requires not only the intervention of government but also the collaboration of private sector operatives. He therefore called on private organizations to collaborate with the government in promoting a culture of reading amongst citizens. This, he said could be achieved through the sponsorship of publication of good books that are interesting to the public and institutionalization of prizes and scholarship awards to attract public interest in reading.
In her remarks, the Chairman of the Board of the National Library of Nigeria, Prof. Zaynab Alkali stated that illiteracy carries along with it a status of inferiority and that no one wants to be referred to as an illiterate. She stressed that reading exposes one to new information on daily basis and also to various ways of successfully confronting life challenges. The path to success, according to her, often lies in reading about peoples experiences.
The Board Chairman seized the opportunity to make a passionate appeal to the Honourable Minister to relocate the National Library to a more befitting structure and to resume construction on the permanent site.
Earlier in an address of welcome, the National Librarian, Prof. Lenrie Olatokunbo Aina pointed out that this year’s event was aimed at sustaining the awareness created by previous campaigns through improved and continued advocacy, that he said included promoting reading beyond sheer utilization and examination purposes, encouraging lifelong reading from womb to grave, as well as supporting the creation of model reading clubs at both primary and secondary school levels and so on.
Professor Aina also stated that Nigeria was conspicuously missing in the ranking table of the reading nations of the world and that the ugly trend must be reversed, urging parents and guardians to do all they can, within their power, to inculcate a sustainable reading habit in their children and wards and generations yet unborn.
The National Librarian also stated that the highlight of this year’s campaign was developing partnership with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as part of the pilot project to establishing reading clubs across the nation and to eventually form a community development service (CDS) group, through which corps members would help in propagating the message in their areas of primary assignment. He said that as part of the National Library contribution to the development of education, desktop computers would be presented to the best performing schools in the reading competition and book gifts to second and third placed schools across the thirty-six states and the Federal Capital Territory. Books would equally be distributed to expectant mothers in some selected hospitals during ante-natal clinics, to encourage them to read books to their unborn children.
In attendance to give support to the campaign included the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, renowned broadcaster, Eugenia Abu, representatives of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), National Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND), Librarians’ Registration Council (LRCN), Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) and the Chairman of the Abuja Chapter of the Nigeria Library Association, librarians, students and teachers amongst others.
The Chairman of the 2018 Readership Promotion Campaign and a Deputy Director of Legal Deposit Department, Ms. Idongesit Akpabio stated that the theme for the 2018 Campaign, is a buildup on that of 2017 which was “Working Together to Build a Virile Reading Nation: Challenges and Strategies”. According to her, “this year’s theme aims at sustaining the established reading culture as part and parcel of our daily living hence the theme: Sustaining Lifelong Reading for Positive Change”.