How Uyo got the nod to host Nigerian book lovers again
By Ada Anioji
Satisfaction with its impressive handling of its role as the pioneer Nigerian National Book Clubs City is the most critical factor behind the decision of members of the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria, NBRP to award the city of Uyo hosting rights for the second year in a row, The Difference has gathered.
The Annual National Book Clubs City project runs from April 23rd of the hosting year and runs through April 22nd of the succeeding year. Durng that period, the host city is expected to run a myriad of reading promotions activities within its immediate and extended catchment area.
In another development emanating from the AGM, Lagos was also to be designated as the Annual National Book Clubs City for 2023 while the interim Executive of the NBRP was returned for a a full substantive term in office.
At the end of the event, a formal communique signed by the President of the Network, Mr. Richar Mammah and Uyo Book Club founder, was issued. See full text below:
COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF THE FIRST NETWORK OF BOOK CLUBS AND READING PROMOTERS CONFERENCE AND AGM HELD AT WATBRIDGE HOTEL, UYO, SEPTEMBER 16-18, 2021.
At a well attended national conference hosted on behalf of the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria, NBRP by the Uyo Book Club, stakeholders drawn from the National Library of Nigeria; the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria; the Nigerian Copyright Commission; the Booksellers Association of Nigeria; the Nigerian Publishers Association, Librarians of Nigerian Universities; Media and Information Managers; Authors; the Political Class; Students and the Broader Reading Public, reviewed the state of the reading enterprise in Nigeria today, the operations of the NBRP and steps to boost the reading culture through greater exploration of public libraries, book clubs, e-books and social reading, and resolved as follows:
1. Lament the continued poor appreciation of the place of reading in national development and the inadequate deployment and maintenance of infrastructure in this regard.
2. Call attention to the imperative of an all-out drive to emplace the reading enterprise at the centre of the national development process given it’s notable multiplier effect across all levels and strata of national growth and achievement.
3. Emphasize the urgent need for value reorientation, and aggressive readership promotion to entrench the reading culture in all communities within the Nigerian Society.
4. Endorse the campaign of the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria for the establishment of at least one well kitted library and book club per local government in the country.
5. Demand that a Library Bill of Rights should be passed by the legislature as an instrument to provide uncompromising support for intellectual freedom and the provision of all types of libraries for all.
6. Request that a libraries’ advocacy group comprising book clubs, stakeholders in the book trade, schools, students, parents, journalists, non governmental organizations, donor agencies, etc should be formed to lobby for the continued prioritizing of libraries on the agenda of government.
7. Reiterate that social reading should continue to be encouraged given its impact on the proper cultivation and enhancement of sound human values, peer review, and the multiplicity of constructive ideas for individual and national development.
8. Require that stakeholders in the book trade should continue to work at improving the book chain for greater reader impact, reading culture enhancement and national development through taking steps towards the gradual restoration of the structural elements of the book chain.
9. Hold governments at all levels accountable to their social function and proper positioning of the education and culture sector in the national development process.
10. Advocate voluntary citizens and Community initiatives and involvement in book clubs establishment and libraries management.
11. Urge stakeholders in the book trade to work towards the introduction of an Integrated private sector-driven National Books Distribution Company that would help address bottlenecks in the books supply chain and lead to the lowering of costs.
12. Heartily commend His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom State for his support for, and participation at the Conference and for accepting and signing up to serve as Grand Patron of Akwa Ibom Book Clubs.
13. Endorse that Uyo will be the National Book Clubs City for a second year, commencing from April 23rd 2022 and that Lagos would take over as National Book Clubs City from April 23rd 2023 through April 22, 2024. Accordingly also, Uyo would host the 2022 National Conference and AGM of the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria.
14. Decide that the Interim National Executive of NBRP, comprising Mr Richard Mammah as President; Emmanuel Okoro, General Secretary; Ms. Irene Udosen Okon, Assistant Secretary; Mrs Funmi Ilori, Treasurer and Adekunle Smith, Esq, Legal Compliance Officer; remain in office as a substantive NBRP executive for a two year term.
15. Thank Watbridge Hotel, Uyo and Ibom Air for their gracious sponsorship and support towards the successful hosting of the event.