At AGM and Conference, NBRP pushes reading frontiers in Nigeria
By Ada Anioji
Members of the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Culture Promoters in Nigeria, NBRP rose from their 3rd Annual General Meeting and National Conference on Reading with a renewed determination to push the frontiers of the reading culture forward, The Difference reports.
The session, which was held from September 27-28, 2023 also endorsed that the organisation’s pioneering executive be returned in office for one more term.
According to the text of a statement from the organization, the motion to return the executive in office was moved by Uyo Book Club founder, Dr Udeme Nana and seconded by Professor Oyinkan Chukuka Tasie of the Tolulope Book Club, Ibadan.
The returned officers are:
Richard Mammah – President
Prof. Felicia Etim – VP
Emmanuel Okoro – Secretary
Irene Okon – Assistant Secretary
Funmi Ilori – Treasurer
Farida Ladipo-Ajayi – Financial Secretary
Ekineta Annette David-West – Internal Auditor
Anote Ajeluorou – Publicity Secretary
Adekunle Smith – Legal Compliance Officer
Also at the AGM, Yenagoa was reconfirmed as the NBRP National Book Clubs City 2024 while the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja was also endorsed to serve as the National Book Clubs City 2025.
The National Book Clubs City scheme which began in 2021 with Uyo as pioneer, is designed to concentrate the reading promotions initiatives of NBRP within a given area for one calendar year. As Book Club city for 2021 and 2022, Uyo set itself the goal of engendering the coming into place of many book clubs within the state. In the current year, Lagos had opened its range of activities with the mega-advocacy Lagos Book Walk event in April.
Every Book Clubs City also has a mandatory obligation to host the AGM and National Conference of NBRP within its Book Year.
Accepting the outcome of the bid process, NBRP’s FCT coordinator, Chief Loye Oloowokere pledged the readiness of his team to ensure that the 2025 Book Year would be one of the best yet in the annals of the organisation. On her part, the representative of the 2024 hosts, Bayelsa, Annette West affirmed that extensive work was already underway to deliver a grand outing in the state next year. The full details of the final package for Yenagoa as NBRP Book Clubs City 2024, she outlined, would be revealed later in the year.
The 2023 NBRP National Conference on Reading and AGM which was held at the Julius Berger Hall, University of Lagos had Dr Paige Pullen, Chief Academic Officer at the Lastinger Center for Learning, University of Florida as keynote speaker.
Champions of Reading awards were also presented to six eminent drivers of the reading promotions enterprise in Nigeria. They include the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Dr Ekong Sampson; the Chairman, Nigerian Book Fair Trust, Mr Dare Oluwatuyi; the MD/CEO, Accessible Publishers, Mr Adedapo Gbadega and the President, Nigerian Publishers Association, Dr Uchenna Cyril Anioke. Others are the Founder, Uyo Book Club, Dr Udeme Nana and the Patron, Raffia City Book Club, Ikot Ekpene, Abom Tony Esu.
There were also panel sessions on Book Distribution, managing book clubs and an examination of several notable reading promotions boosters such as the Pacesetters books series, the Nigeria Prize for Literature and the Guinness World Record read-aloud bids by Bayode Treasures Olawumi and John Obot on the overall Nigerian reading and books ecosystem.
The opening session was chaired by National Librarian, Prof Chinwe Anunobi, represented by Dr Jumoke Ajibola while the Chairman of the Board of the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA Chief Kayode Aderinokun, Nigeria Library Association President, Pastor Dominic Omokaro represented by Dr Taiwo Ajayi; Roving Heights Bookshop Co-founder, Dotun Eyinade; the educators, Ola Opesan and Temitope Bajela-Oladeji; CORA Programme Chair, Jahman Anikulapo and the Guinness World Record reading-aloud duo of Bayode Treasures Olawumi *(2018) and John Obot (2023); were among other dignitaries and reading enthusiasts that participated in the respective sessions.
The occasion equally served as an opportunity to review and strengthen the implementation processes for NBRP’s MOUs with the National Library of Nigeria, the Nigerian Library Association and the Committee for Relevant Art on the 774 Libraries and Book Clubs Project, a scheme to ensure the establishment and functioning of at least one well-stocked library and book club per LGA in Nigeria.
There was also an interactive Children’s Read segment that doubled as a celebration of the International Literacy Day and which was compered by i-Read Mobile Library Founder, Funmi Ilori and Onkawe Book Club Convener, Ifeoluwa Aduradola.
The event was co-hosted by the Transcultural Writers Network of the University of Lagos and supported by Showers Publishers and CSS Bookshops Limited.
The communique issued at the end of the conference equally affirmed very many salient points:
1. Commend the Keynote speaker, Dr Paige Pullen and panel discussants for very lucid presentations that spoke to the subject of the conference and recommend their adoption as working documents by NBRP;
2. Acknowledge the continuing and expanding solidarity among stakeholders in the books and reading ecosystem and call for even greater levels of collaboration therein;
3. Commend the MOU partners in the 774 Libraries and Book Clubs Project and the Book Ecosystem Advocacy initiative, namely, the National Library of Nigeria, the Nigerian Library Association, the Committee for Relevant Art and the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Culture Promoters in Nigeria for sustaining the collaborations thus far and call for renewed efforts on all sides to deliver even more value going forward to the Nigerian people on the critical turf of readership promotion;
4. Request the extension of the MOU period with the National Library of Nigeria to a new mandate of three years for enhanced longer term engagement. To this end, a formal re-signing event should be convened as soon as is practicable;
5. Ask for the institutionalization of an annual review session in the MOU objects as an avenue for continuing to streamline and sharpen implementation modalities;
6. Request for more regular training and refresher activities for book clubs managers;
7. Advocate the introduction of a Literature Defense and Support Fund to practically intervene in combating the dwindling attention to the teaching of Literature in the school system given its negative effective on the cultivation of deep and lifelong reading, education and research skills;
8. Advocate the infusion of more spaces and opportunities for online and digital based reading culture enhancement and broad communication so as to engender greater youth engagement;
9. Commend the returned Executive of NBRP for a productive first term in office and ask for more devotion and output in their second term;
10. Task the pioneer NBRP Champions of Reading awardees to be good ambassadors of the brand and the reading promotions endeavour;
11. Encourage Authors, Publishers and Booksellers in particular to continue working at mutually addressing friction points and challenges in the book chain so as to ensure that the chain works more seamlessly and readers get improved value overall.
12. Urge the Annual NBRP Book Clubs City and Conference state hosts to fully provision for the enhanced implementation of the NBRP 774 Libraries and Book Clubs mandate in the respective LGAs within their states as a priority activity during their hosting year.
Nigeria Book Fair Trust Chairman, Dare Oluwatuyi receiving his award from Dr Jumoke Ajibola, who represented the National Librarian/CEO, National Library of Nigeria, Prof. Chinwe Anunobi at the event.