By Dayo Adesulu
IN a bid to shore up the nation’s learning deficit, revive the flagging reading culture and boost Nigeria’s leadership credentials across the world, Nigerian youths have been urged to become lovers of books and cultivate a sound reading culture for life.
This clarion call was made at the 2016 edition of the Ignite Africa Readers ‘R’ Leaders Destiny Walk, held on Saturday, 22nd of October in Lagos.
The annual road walk, which had in attendance artistes, comedians, actors, various professionals, students and stakeholders within the educational sector, was organized by the Ignite Africa Leadership Foundation as a literary awareness campaign aimed at promoting a reading culture in Nigeria especially amongst young people.
The 6.4 km walk, which saw enthusiastic Nigerians clad in bright orange shirts turned up in record numbers at the Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu Park, Oregun, Lagos, featured groundbreaking leadership content, poetry and spoken word performances, rib cracking comedy, dance, and live music by entertainers.
Kolawole Oyeyemi, Founder, Ignite Africa Leadership Foundation and Convener of the Destiny Walk, said “We must all come together to create awareness for the youth of this nation to cultivate the habit of reading. No nation can grow, develop and lead other nations, if it is an ignorant nation.
Once upon a time, our graduates were being poached by the super powers because we had the knowledge, understanding and wisdom in our respective fields. Today, we are no longer good enough in our own country. Jobs which Nigerians should ordinarily undertake are now being given to expatriates and if we continue like this what kind of future is in store for our youth and our nation?”
Dr. Larry Izamoje, chairman/CEO of Brila Group who also lent his voice to the campaign, commended the organizers for a job well done and challenged parents to do more in deepening the reading culture among young people.
“This exercise by Ignite Africa is a noble one that should be extended by parents. Parents can start by reading to their children on a daily basis and as the children grow older, they also pick the habit of reading and even pass it on to the next generation and before we know it, it would become a national culture for Nigerians to read,” Izamoje enthused.
Ignite Africa Leadership Foundation also used the occasion to showcase the significant progress made in its stated commitment to helping to get youths to embrace learning as a way of life so that we can guarantee our nation a great future and leadership amongst the comity of nations. A first of its kind library website, hosting over 4,000 books, www.igniteafricalibrary.org, and its over 60 book clubs across Lagos and Rivers states, are some of the success stories shared with participants at the event.
Ignite Africa Leadership Foundation and its partners invest significant resources into reviving reading culture in Nigeria after witnessing the negative trend of the high failure rate recorded in senior secondary certificates examination in recent years.