By Samuel Edu
The Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has called on private business owners and philanthropists to partner with his administration in making education available and affordable for all and sundry.
The governor made this call during the grand finale of this year’s edition of the National Readership Promotion Campaign with the theme ‘Reading as panacea to Nigeria Societal Problem’
The programme organized by the National Library of Nigeria was held in Igbara-Oke, headquarters of Ifedore Local Government area of Ondo State.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Folasade Adegoke, Akeredolu said quality education for the masses should not be left in the hands of government or few individuals alone but must be the concern of all and sundry.
“Without mincing words, the current decline we see today in our reading culture in the country has largely contributed to the change we experience in our value system.
“While the government will always play its own part as evidenced in this administration, creating a reading culture should not be the responsibility of the government or certain individuals alone, rather it entails the dedication, perseverance and efforts of all in the society.”
In his keynote address, the immediate past University Librarian, Federal University of Technology Akure, Dr Belau Olatunde who spoke on the topic ‘Reading as panacea to Nigeria Societal Problem’ stressed on the need to cultivate reading habit in other to bring back the already lost value system in Nigeria’s education system.
Dr Belau said “In the early days of Nigeria’s independence, reading particularly in primary and secondary schools was given serious attention by older teachers who were then products of colonia masters.
“The teachers then were passionate about their job and dedicated their lives to the upbringing of children under them with dogged commitment without much reward, no wonder education was more meaningful and valuable then than it is now. If we will retrieve these values, then proper attention must be given to reading.”
The National Librarian, Professor Veronica Chinwe in her welcome address appreciated all participants of the programme, noting that this year’s edition of the programme will be one of its kind in history.
Represented by Mr Dele Aworinde, Professor Chinwe said “this campaign is designed to awaken reading consciousness among Nigerians and to as well collectively seek solutions to the obstacles of reading culture in Nigeria. I urge you all to pay rapt attention as this will be one its kind in history”
Addressing market women earlier on Tuesday, the head of Ondo State branch of National library, Mr Bashir Salawu harped on the indispensability of reading stressing that old age is not an excuse for illiteracy.
“Education they say is the best legacy. There should be no barrier to education, as it is today, the world has gone digital and if you are not educated, you will be left behind in the current trend, cultivating reading habit in everyone is the core of this campaign.”