BY OSA AMADI
Ibitola Ojoye-Adebayo, a Nigerian United Kingdom-based author, is not happy with Nigeria’s poor ability in accessing the Universal Basic Education Commission’s funds and the prevailing poor reading habits of young Nigerians.
Different studies, according to her, show that 40 per cent of Nigerian adults never finish reading a fiction book from cover to cover after leaving school. Other studies also indicate that about 30 million Nigerians have graduated from secondary schools with poor reading skills. These are results of poor habits formed during school days.
“Government is doing something but they are not doing enough,” Ibitola says. “The stakeholders need to look at the issue of UBEC funding that is not being accessed and ask the state governments why they are not accessing the funds. The younger generation is the future and there is the need to nurture them and prevent the vicious circle of illiteracy. Without that, we cannot grow as a country. There should be enough funding and the state governments need to utilise the funds to promote the reading culture.
“When I was in school, my mother used to send me a lot of books from different authors and for five years I never saw her. I feel that reading those books she sent to me was a way of filling that void. Though I wasn’t too happy that she wasn’t there for me, but I got lost in reading the texts and it became a great passion for me right from my secondary school. Even though I did pharmacology in the university, I have always been a novel person. Writing wasn’t originally my plan; it just happened.
Explaining her new initiative in the country, Ibitola said: “I am here to take my part in shinning the beacon into the world of writers, offering unique insight into their works. I want to awaken the nation’s consciousness to the growing illiteracy rate in Nigeria, as a serious awakening is needed.”