By Amaka Abayomi
Worried by the dearth of textbooks in the country’s tertiary institutions, the Professor Green Nwankwo Foundation has donated 8,000 books to 200 institutions and state libraries across the nation.
According to the initiator of the Foundation, Prof. Green Onyekaba Nwankwo (OON), pioneer Head of Department of Finance and former Dean of Faculty of Business Administration, University of Lagos, the objective of the donation is to demonstrate accountability and stewardship to the professional world of finance and academics which he joined since 1960.
“When I returned to Nigeria after a 12-year sojourn in the UK to establish the Department of Finance at University of Lagos, I was faced with the daunting challenge of paucity and virtual absence of indigenous literature on banking and finance in Nigeria.
“I found there were no indigenous texts as Nigerian institutions and environment were largely undocumented, and most of the texts being used were mostly by American or British authors.”
Nwankwo, who said the benefitting institutions would each get a total of 40 book titles on banking, finance, economic development, politics, governance, management and other social sciences, disclosed that the donation is geared towards bridging the wide supply gaps in this area.
“This would mark the beginning of a new private initiative to drive the process of equipping tertiary institutions with the much desired academic materials at no cost to the government or the institutions.”
Praising Nwankwo for his contributions to the education sector, the Chairman of the occasion and former Minister of Information, Prof. Walter Ofonagoro, said such gesture would promote the reading culture among students.
“We have to encourage the reading culture by enabling students have access to reading materials, and this is one way of supporting that. I did well when I was in school in the 50s’ because I had access to books from the state library and this enhanced my performance in national and international examinations. But the reverse is now the case as most schools lack books in their libraries and students end up photocopying reading materials.
“The situation is such that a school with student population of 30,000 would not have up to one million books in its library. This is wrong because the school I graduated from in America had over 10 million books in its library.”
Some of the representatives of the benefitting schools were full of thanks to the Foundation as they said the donation was the first of its kind in Nigeria.
Calling on those still in government to emulate such gestures, Dr. Ibi Esor Egbe of University of Calabar said; “We were surprised when we received a letter informing us that UNICAL has been chosen as a beneficiary of the books because we have not honoured him in any way.”
For Hassan Jarengol, Liaison Officer, Adamawa State University, “the Professor knows the value of education, which prompted this donation. Tertiary institutions only get books from NUC and TETFUND, so if we can get five like-minds, our standard of education will improve.”
Pointing out that this is one of the best things to happen to higher institutions, the Provost, Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Imo State, Dr. (Mrs.) Blessing Ijioma, represented by the Public Relations Officer, Tony Ololoh, called on all serving and retired academics to follow suit.