GBADEGA ADEDAPO: CELEBRATING A BOOK ICON PAR EXCELLENCE
By Dare Oluwatuyi
Saturday, June 25, 2022 witnessed the conferment by the Pan African Writers Association, PAWA of the Esteemed Patron of the Arts Award on the Chairman of the Nigerian Book Fair Trust, Mr Gbadega Adedapo. It is a most fitting tribute to a book icon par excellence, one who has been very ebullient in making advocacy for, and projecting the best interests of the book ecosystem and the educational enterprise in Nigeria and Africa.
Part of the base for Mr Adedapo’s sterling performance and delivery which has now and again been noticed and applauded by discerning observers, whose number now includes the very respected PAWA is that he is one who has indeed come prepared for the tasks laid before him.
After bagging a degree in Computer Science from the then Ogun State University, Ago-Iwoye, he proceeded to undertake a Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. Not done, he equally went on to enroll for, and secure several other professional certifications that are germane to the book trade and ecosystem where he functions. These include a Certificate in Developing a Successful Publishing Strategy Cover Concepts, Design and Digital Publishing from New York University; another in Strategic Publishing Management: Gaining the Competitive Edge from The Publishing Training Centre, London, and a third in Cross Boundaries & Expansion of Publishing Opportunities from The George Washington University in partnership with the World Bank. As you encounter him in the course of his work across virtually all spheres of the book ecosystem, you readily see the fruits of this very prolific season of preparation.
Currently serving as Managing Director/CEO, Accessible Publishers Limited (formerly Rasmed Publications Ltd), Adedapo also sits on the board of Best Technologies Limited and Best in Print Consults, Nigeria.
His path and that of this writer crossed when he served first as President of the Nigerian Publishers Association, NPA and later as Chairman at the Nigerian Book Fair Trust, NBFT, the umbrella grouping of book sector organisations and affiliates in sub-Saharan Africa’s largest book market and which is the organiser and convener of one of the longest running and singularly most successful book convocations of its type in the region at the moment, the Nigerian International Book Fair, NIBF.
As NPA President, Adedapo led the decades-old association to deliver on many laudable set goals and initiatives, including some very notable work on its permanent secretariat complex which is under construction. At the NBFT, Adedapo’s tour of duty, which is now into a second term, has revealed that he also possesses that uncommon grace that turns adversity into blessing.
In response to the globally-imposed lockdown on the movement of people and goods in 2020, Adedapo led the NBFT to organise and host the first fully virtual expression of the annual Nigerian International Book Fair. With the pandemic subsiding slightly in 2021 and 2022, hybrid editions of the fair series were organised, and for good measure too, in a now more upscale Victoria Island, Lagos location.
On the global turf, Adedapo is also most engaged and annually attends, participates and speaks at book industry and education fora all over the world. These include international Book Fairs in London, Frankfurt, Sharjah, Accra, Harare, Cape Town, New Delhi, Bologna and in the US.
Adedapo also formally serves as an Executive Committee Member of International Publishers Association (IPA), Switzerland, where in line with his passion for encouraging capacity building and the rounded development of the Publishing ecosystem in Africa, he influenced the coming on stream of the first International Publishers Association (IPA) seminar in Africa.
Back at his primary Nigerian base, Adedapo renders even more service as a Board Member at the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, NERDC.
In recognition of his varied contributions to the nation, Adedapo bagged an Award of Excellence in Leadership and Productivity from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, National Productivity Centre (NPC), Abuja in November 2020. Before then, he had been recognized as one of the 20 Most Exceptional CEOs of the Year 2017 by Tell Communications Limited, as well as the Printing/Publishing Personality Prize winner of the Year 2017 by African Mark of Leadership Excellence (AMLE).
He was also to be presented with a Distinguished Service Award by the Association of Nigerian University Professional Administrators (Olabisi Onabanjo University Chapter), as well as the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPSS) Ambassador Award.
Oluwatuyi is MD, CSS Bookshops Limited; President, Booksellers Association of Nigeria, BAN; Council Member, Nigerian Book Fair Trust; member, Revival Task Force of the Pan African Booksellers Association, PABA; and an Management Committee Member of the UN-SDGs Book Club, Africa.