A group of concerned citizens led by Kolawole Oyeyemi, author of several books, including the most anticipated book of the year; ‘Kill or Get Killed: The Marketing Killer Instinct’ and also the General Manager, Consumer Marketing of MTN Nigeria, have lamented the dwindling level of the reading culture in Nigeria. The group is therefore set to organize an awareness walk as a first step towards taming this rising scourge. The awareness campaign tagged ‘KO Readers ‘r’ Leaders Destiny Walk’, a Trademark of Ignite Africa, is expected to take place on Saturday, July 12, 2014, at Rowe Park, Yaba, in Lagos.
At a press briefing held earlier this week to unveil the campaign, Kola Oyeyemi, the convener, revealed that the failure rate in secondary school certificate examinations, and the number of unemployable graduates being turned out from our universities should give every Nigerian cause for worry. According to him, with over 80% failure rate by young people, our leadership potential as a nation is at risk. An increasing population of youths unable to pass examinations and unwilling to embrace vocational trainings is a recipe for disaster, as they become target recruitments for crime.
The Walk will feature quite a number of celebrities and technocrats from different sectors including education, banking and entertainment, all of who have expressed interest in the project. He mentioned Ben Bruce, Alibaba , Joseph Benjamin, Emem Isong, Joke Silva, singer Praiz, Banky W, KC, Sound Sultan and Chidinma, as some of the people that will take part in the walk.
The briefing, which was attended by journalists, publishers and educationists, highlighted the different factors that have led to the almost extinct reading culture especially among the youth.
One of the key speakers, Eniola Bello, Managing Director of ThisDay Newspaper, cited apathy by the government and the restlessness of youth as major barriers to reading. He encouraged the government to support initiatives like the ‘KO Readers ‘r’ Leaders Destiny Walk’ to bring Nigerians back to the good old days when reading was an integral part of capacity building.
In her own submission, Winnie Aduayi, Executive Director of Trendy Communications, USA, emphasized the need to “revisit the ‘ancient landmark’ and establish policies that will motivate the current crop of Nigerian students and the youth in general to start reading extensively to expand their frontiers of knowledge”
She added that, “reading is the best way to develop the brain, for an individual to thrive in a competitive world. Hence, readers make the most effective leaders, and our future leaders are already exhibiting apathy to knowledge acquisition through reading”.
The convener, Oyeyemi, recalled how Nigerian intellectuals used to be the brides of the Western world because of their high intellectual capacity, but stressed that what we have currently are students and artisans who can hardly compete favourably locally, let alone on the global platform. He therefore encouraged well meaning Nigerians to troop out en masse on July 12, to support the initiative to revive the reading culture.
The need to revive the dwindling reading culture has continued to attract attention from prominent Nigerians via different initiatives such as the Destiny Walk. One of such initiatives was the Port Harcourt Book Festival, which held months ago, where erudite scholars like Wole Soyinka and Chimamanda Adiche spoke extensively on the subject.
The ‘Kola Oyeyemi Readers are Leaders Destiny Walk’ is seen as a step in the right direction towards rekindling the reading culture in Nigeria, if we are to reverse the embarrassing cases of mass failures being recorded in the school certificate examinations.