It was in an attempt to help revive the waning reading culture in the country, that select Nigerian artistes, comedians, actors, professionals, students and stakeholders within the educational sector recently embarked on a road walk to sensitise Nigerians on the benefits of reading to a growing nation. The yearly exercise, organised by Ignite Africa Leadership Foundation, as a literary awareness campaign, was aimed at promoting a reading culture in Nigeria, especially amongst young people.
The 6.4 km walk, which saw enthusiastic Nigerians decked in bright orange and black shirts, turned up in record numbers at the Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu Park, Oregun, Lagos. It featured revolutionary leadership content, poetry and spoken word performances, rib-cracking comedy, dance, and live music by entertainers.
With the theme ‘Readers ‘R’ Leaders Destiny Walk,’ Founder, Ignite Africa Leadership Foundation and convener of the programme, Kolawole Oyeyemi, issued a clarion call to young people and adults to practically demonstrate love for books and cultivate a sound reading culture for life. While stating that no nation could develop and lead others without reading, Oyetemi charged Nigerian youths to become compulsive readers as it is one sure way of breaking new grounds.
He 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. We cannot continue like this.”
While corroborating Oyeyemi’s view, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Brila Group, Dr. Larry Izamoje, said becoming an avid reader is one sure way to success, even as he urged parents to help inculcate good reading habit in their wards.
He lauded the organisers for deepening the reading culture among young people, and asserted, “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.”