Nigeria: National Librarian advises on reading to enhances mental alertness, independence, confidence, good leadership

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The National Librarian/Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Chinwe Anunobi, has advised  Nigerians to make reading a priority in order to achieve inclusive Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Anunobi made the call at the  annual Readership Promotion Campaign (RPC) organised by the National Library at Mushin Local Government Secretariat, Palm Avenue.

A sensitisation rally as part of activities to mark 2022 Edition of  the Annual Readership Promotion Campaign (RPC) organised by the National Library held at Mushin Local Government Secretariat, Palm Avenue, Lagos. November 2022. (NAN)

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event, which had students and artisans in attendance, had: “Reading as a panacea for societal problems” as the 2022 theme.

“We must appreciate that a strong reading culture enhances independence, leadership and confidence.

“It reinforces developed and developing important academic skill that is needed to acquire knowledge and understanding in school and is fundamental to lifelong learning.

“The RPC is designed to awaken  reading consciousness, a call on all Nigerians to embrace the habit of reading in order to eradicate the rate of illiteracy in Nigeria, and collectively seek solutions  to the reading culture considering the need for inclusiveness and desire to address the national problems.

“National problems such as Yahoo, 419, get-rich-quick syndrome, banditry, suicide bombing, terrorism, insecurity, mental degeneration, misinformation and fake news which are the outcomes of lack of reading,” she added.

The National librarian said the NLN had extensively provided the communities with writing and basic reading materials as a followup, adding that the campaign was not expected to be “ flash in the pan”, “whereby once we turn our backs,the project will end”.

She noted that the efforts were put in place in other to engender basic literacy skills, help the children, adult, the excluded to be included, aimed at encouraging them to learn basics of reading in their mother language.

“They must appreciate and be able to recognise their geographical location as well as other basic literacy and numeracy, as this move is expected to serve as a springboard to community book clubs which NLN will nurture in due course,” Anunobi added.

“The intention is to address the seemingly unconcerned majority of people who are uninterested in reading from the grassroots and to educate them on the importance of reading which will surely address the mentioned vices.

“It is expected as encapsulated in the theme that reading will bridge the gap between the uninformed and the informed, the excluded and the included, the aware and the unaware.

“The acclaimed scholars and the yet to be tutored, the rich and the poor, the rural and the urban, the freeborn and the cast, the leader and the follower, the master and the servant, the employer and the intending employee,” she said.

Mrs Obianuju Onuorah, Head of Branch (HOB), Lagos, NLN, who described  reading as a vital tool for human development, said anyone who acknowledged the importance and priorities of reading would excel educationally, economically, socially and politically.

“The 2022 RPC flagged off in September by the Hon. Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, is being carried out in the 36 states including  FCT, Abuja.

“The programme has been held in 30 states.”

She said that the two-day reading programme, which had a sensitisation rally for traders, market women, artisans, mechanics and out-of-school children, was used as a platform to enlighten the populace on the importance of reading and continuous education.

“In the course of the programme, they were informed that we will form a book club, which we hope will give birth to others in primary,secondary schools in Mushin and environs.

“The idea is basically to encourage readership as it fosters creative thinking, builds inquisitive mind and enhances life learning abilities of a person and the attribute will boost their general chances of success in life.

“I, therefore, charge our youths to imbibe good reading habits as it will empower and make them more relevant  in the society,  know their right and have versatile knowledge on various issues,” she added.

Speaking, Mrs Rachel Odunlade, Deputy Directors, Head of Cataloguing Section (GST), University of Lagos (UNILAG), said that reading for students should be approached beyond academic success as it was a necessity that helped keep the brain alive and active.

Odunlade enjoined parents and guardians to engage their wards more in reading as against watching television, while they find a way to motivate them in making reading a lifestyle.

“Reading helps you get more informed beyond passing examinations, boosts your critical thinking and helps you get meaningfully engaged against watching television and playing away your time,” she added.