‘Reading key to natural development’

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In order to foster development in reading aspect, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, explained the importance of reading for national development.

He disclosed this in a statement made available to the press, during the courtesy visit by Mr Dominic Omokaro, the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Library Association.

Stressing his interest in books, Olaopa described himself as an incurable book collector, reader, and writer, adding that he joined the Federal Civil Service as a speechwriter and Chief Policy Analyst to the former military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida.

Beyond formal years of schooling and education, a society that aims for progress must invest in lifelong learning. Research has shown that the rate of access to information resources and the reading rate per capita of the population are critical development indicators that must be carefully managed through policy innovation. This is why our age is often referred to as the information and knowledge age.”

While acknowledging the increasing ubiquity of mass media, social media, and the internet, Olaopa insisted that the issue of studying and book reading should regain its prime place in public policy, with a focus on addressing the systemic constraints and challenges facing the sector.

He said that due to the harsh economic situation, it now becoming more difficult for authors to publish in Nigeria.

“As an author, I can attest that it is becoming practically impossible to publish in Nigeria today. Where you manage to publish, recovering the cost of printing is a struggle, let alone expecting royalty payments from publishers, who themselves are barely surviving in what has become a disabling business climate. Regardless of the neglect of book policy and lifelong learning, the number of published books, journals, libraries, readers, writers, translators, and publishers in a country will always remain crucial indicators and fundamental drivers of economic growth and the critical transitions that will ignite national structural transformation.”

The challenges inherited by the Tinubu administration are immense, such that soft issues like book policy and the reading culture might seem intangible, but they possess a strong game-changing inherent potential. It’s imperative that critical stakeholders in the book industry read the signs of the times and step up to be counted,” he added.

He stated that they visited to congratulate Olaopa on his appointment, seek waivers for librarians to be employed in the civil service, and explore collaboration opportunities with the civil service.

 

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