Why does irony play a devilish act with Nigerians’ reading habit? Have you many a time ever thought of reading but sleepiness overcomes you? You are determined to pass. But, reading is problematic. The guru of your department challenges the lecturer many a time, and you are dumbfounded by the seeming-achievement. Wait, think, sleep, wake but not read! Are you a Nigerian? Yes! It is not your fault that you cannot buy books and read. OK, who should you blame? Africa's culture? Government's non-concern? Lecturer's complexity? Or yourself?
The brain, mind and heart behind book is understanding. What make the literati, Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, J.P Clark, Sam Omatseye and lots more stand out best in booking awards? Understanding. Yes, understanding. However, would some Nigerians especially students buy books to understand? No! To even ask, do we really read in Nigeria?
It is often said that, if books derail ignorance overcomes. Ours is a society of money. Virtually, every student comes to the university to house much money. Everybody wants to attain Dangote's richness. In fact, some prefer to be armed robber politicians (Andrew Yakubu, Dasuki and lots) in other to withhold money. We celebrate frivolities in Nigeria. Ignoramuses are at the zenith of recognition. But, the sword of the writer never proclaims recognition.
I have a friend by the name Fool. During our secondary school days, he was first to all, in all courses. Albeit, reading is flame to him. When he was in University, the idea of best-in-all resonate and beatify his laziness in reading. Little did he know that, reading is the key to intelligentsia and wiseness. To my surprise, he was 'erosioned' from the university.
Kudos to the vice president, Yemi Osibanjo who presented unexpected gift on Christmas/ New year's day to our beloved ministers. No one could believe the gift. But the truth of the matter is, Vice president knows the problem combating Nigeria. Not only recession of stomach is affecting Nigerians but also recession of eyes for reading. For any community to stand out best, reading and understanding books must be their priorities. I am very sure, if Osibanjo had told the ministers what will be given as a gift, many of the ministers would have been nonchalant to accept the book.
Even former president of USA, Barack Obama, spoke about the role book plays while he was on presidency. “At a time when events move so quickly and so much information is transmitted,” he said, reading gave him the ability to occasionally “slow down and get perspective.” He added that reading “has been invaluable to me. Whether they’ve made me a better president I can’t say. But what I can say is that they have allowed me to sort of maintain my balance during the course of eight years, because this is a place that comes at you hard and fast and doesn’t let up.” This is the beauty of reading books. It changes the society towards achieving good.
Now, the game is over. Ojo Aderemi has been elected. Greetings by our dear politicians have derailed. Humbleness has flooded to sky. To be cleared, no more campaign. It is high time we faced our primary assignment on campus. Lectures on ‘intelligentsia’ are over. Read! Read! Read!