With Lari Williams
Dearth of books is a major contributor to the decline in education in the country. The rare sight of books has even created strangeness between books and people.
Some people approach books in such an apologetic way that between fear and timidity they would have lost the joys of reading. Instead of a causal and masterful confident turning of pages they treat the book tentatively as though it were some object too delicate to stand rough treatment.
Whereas in other parts of the world today, printed works tumble off giant presses night and day looking for every means of securing wide distribution. In today’s world books should be here, there and everywhere waiting for an alert aggressive reader to pick them up and read.
In homes, schools, libraries, private clubs, men and women should find books available to read for enjoyment or for enlightenment. They also should read with determination, with questions, with answers with anger and with sorrow and with joy.
These guarantee purposes. Books are not abstract pieces of matter, but instead, they are the thoughts and feelings of flesh-and-blood people intended to be read by other flesh-and-blood people.
The more familiar you handle a book the more mutual respect you cultivate, giving added respect both for the book and for yourself.
Begging questions for all
Having said all that, the question becomes : where are the books? Writers are willing and ready to write if printers are paid to print. Authors are made by publishers but where are the publishers? The few publishers who are willing to face the task demand so much from writers.
Some of whom have starved, denied themselves pleasure and sacrificed for creativity hoping for collaborators and encouragement to bring out the final result.
But when the service and facilities are not there, where do we go from there? Therefore President Goodluck Jonathan’s award of cash should extend to accommodate publishers and printers.
We believe that education of a nation spreads outside the classroom. They can be encouraged when the government makes available cheaper printing facilities encouraged publishers and writers will emerge.
The nation has told the world it can produce writers, and a few have excelled. She has produced a Nobel Laureate, excellent fiction writers. poets, playwrights and philosophers not to talk of daily news and serious writers.
It is a nation that reads that builds a culture and a future. We seem to have forgotten all about reading culture, and sold out to trading culture, yes the latter yields immediate dividend but does it promote relationship between the generation?
If we can use our yesterday to protect our tomorrow, we can make a better life for ourselves and a future for our generations to come thereby keeping a tag on our future and progress. Writing, we know stem from thought, and the application of the basic energy in human history. Civilization is put together by not machines but by thought.
Similarly, mans uniqueness is represented not by his ability to make object but by sorting them and relating to them. Other Animals practices communication, only man has the ability and the capacity for comprehension. Man therefore, needs to use this ability to the advantage for the building of his cities and culture.
Today, we talk of the world being a global village, but to belong to a family of communal partakers in this big small unit we have to master the communication methods.
The channel of communication has it based firmly rooted in books. Information from past to present and from country to country, generation to generation are all passed on through books.
If we read for information from other Nations culture, we also need to make our information available for future generation and other nations, so as to make the membership of the global village of the world secure. Books are necessary to the civilized society of today for tomorrow.
Although sports is making the rounds, and making a lot of money for the athletes and footballers, we cannot guarantee a great nation from a generation of brawlers. We need to awake, and alert the brains to think. It is from thoughts we build nations.
The brain exercise in play writing, fiction writing, poetry and story writing can keep thousand of would be criminals out of mischief, both as creators hereby known of mischief, both as creators hereby known as writers, or consumers known as readers.
If the ministers of culture and information can help in this direction, we should be building a better cultured and sophisticated Nigeria.