•Naza Alakija, reading with the children.
By Osa Mbonu-Amadi
It was about cultivating the habit of reading books in children, and the sponsor was FAMFA Oil. The event took place at the Shell Hall of MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, to commemorate the World Book Day.
The book that was read by Naza Alakija, one of the anchor persons, to the over 300 school children in attendance was titled “Chidubem the child of destiny” authored by Munachi Mbonu. “It is really amazing to see how, at eleven years old, (a child could author such a good book),” Naza told journalists.
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“If you are truly passionate about something and you love what you are doing, you will have the capability to do that. No matter what it is, you will find the means; you will find the resolve. And I think (it’s also important) to reach out to platforms that are available; to reach out to whoever you can to make your dream come true.”
The school children, drawn from different parts of Lagos, in an interactive session with different anchor persons of the programs, gave definitions to who a great leader is: “A great leader is one who sacrifices his life for his country…One who solves the problems of his people.” They also defined the word, “integrity”: “Integrity Is when one says what he means and means what he says.”
Culture and theatrical drama was also part of the package that celebrated the World Book Day, giving credence to the fact that the creative arts are integral part of education.
Some of the values the children upheld included service, hard work, team work, integrity, and love. The team of the event was “Share a Story”. Among the axioms expounded to the children was that “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”. Readers, the children were told, are always ahead: Readers are leaders.
Speaking to journalists during the event, Rotimi Alakija, Executive Director, FAMFA Oil, said they were looking at a foundation focused on education. He said what FAMFA Oil is doing is trying to bring the joy of reading to children. “We are trying to help inspire a new generation of children.
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Reading should be enjoyable; reading should not be a trauma. It should be a fantasy. Reading is something the children should be able to learn something from. Without education, things fall apart.” Mr. Rotimi said FAMFA is trying to emphasize that education is the main foundation. “Nigeria has a lot of children out of school. We want to try to do our part to keep them in school and keep them interested. And the best way to keep them interested is with books, with stories.”
Responding to question about whether the initiative will be sustained or not, Rotimi said: “As long as FAMFA is still in this country and is still working, we will continue to do this. This is not a one off thing. It is something that will continue.”
Talking about reading books to children, Naza Alajika also told journalists that she believe everyone can do that part, “but it’s always good to start somewhere, develop a platform where other people can be inspired, whether you work in a local library, in a bank, wherever; you can contribute to children and help those that don’t have the opportunity other children have. I think it is inspiring, not only for the children, but also about inspiring other people to get involved and see what part they can do.”
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