Readers Platform Congress urges government to encourage reading culture in Nigeria

GLORIA IKEGBULE

‘Knowledge is Power’ is a popular mantra among educators. Reading, it is believed plays a key role in the acquisition of knowledge and the dismissal of ignorance for progressive impact.

It is against this background that the Readers Platform, conceived in October 2016, held her inaugural Readers Congress
in Lagos.

The visioner, Ojedele Oluwasenu noted that the Readers Platform started from a WhatApp group. It is a group where book lovers connects to share views on various issues and engage the illumination that comes from reading into life relevance for societal transformation. Activities of the Readers Platform include book review, personality review, and discussion.

“We are a community of readers who are not just knowledge driven but also pride ourselves in analytical thinking to affect positively on our society. Our vision includes to promote community based learning among students of various categories, be among those that will influence the reading culture in Africa and make the right in- formation available to impact on various aspects of our lives including wealth creation,” he said.

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As the country gears for the forthcoming 2019 election, Ojedele noted: “At Readers Platform we try to disseminate the right information one of which is for people to get their PVC and to vote the candidate of their choice. We preach one man, one vote and do not be a part of election malpractice,” he pointed.

A presentation titled: ‘The Nigerian Leadership Crises and The Way Out,’ by Uche Okologo during the congress noted that Nigeria has been enmeshed in leadership crises since independence in 1960, citing crises such as unnegotiated political unity, constitution quagmire, irresponsible leadership, incompetence, taking up politics as a vocation, ethnicity, religion and tribal sentiments and lack of empathy and patriotism as some of the challenges that have affected the effective development of the country.

As a way forward, he pointed that Nigerians should insist and embrace effective leadership and get young and innovative minds involved in politics.

Mathew Uduka in his presentation, “Building a Sustainable Reading Culture in Nigeria” emphasized the need for the nation to embrace a viable reading culture. He said that reading is the universal tradition that plays an important role in societal transformation and development.

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Uduka tasked the government to reevaluate the situations that promoted poor reading culture, restore our reading culture and reward those who go to school or embrace self development. “If government is interested in changing the cause of this country, people should be encouraged to read. There\ should be free education, functional libraries and kits for reading across the country, set up competitions, shun favoritism but reward competence and diligent,” he said.

Dr. Idowu Afinowi, a senior registrar at Federal Neuropsychiatric, Yaba and a member of the Readers Platform added that all hands must be on deck to build a Nigeria we will all be proud of as our present situations in the country is impacting on the mental health of citizens.