Uyo becomes Nigeria’s first National Book Clubs City
By Ada Anioji
The city of Uyo, capital of the South South State of Akwa Ibom has been named as Nigeria’s first National Book Clubs City, The Difference has learnt.
In an address by Mr Richard Mammah, Interim President, Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria, he revealed that the choice had come after members of the reading promotions body sat down to consider the merits of consolidating their book activities in one location so as to achieve greater traction.
The text of his address reads:
‘Today we make history. For very many years, many advocates who have gone before us on this track have longed and worked towards a time when Nigeria would be a massive field of book clubs that are contributing their quota to the educational enrichment of the citizenry and the well-being of the nation.
In towns and communities across the country bands of book enthusiasts have gathered together to read and share experiences on the book treasures that they hold dear. But for much of the time, these have been in isolated streams.
The idea of the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria therefore is to bunch these isolated energies together for greater effect. And it is in the course of doing just this across the past 14 months that we came to the conclusion that we needed to add something else to the package.
Taking our inspiration from the UNESCO World Book Capital initiative which annually decides on one city in the world to serve as hub and anchor for reading promotions activities across the given year, we thought it appropriate to introduce a variant of this into our own environment.
What we have then put together is a National Book Clubs City Package which at the moment involves members of the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters voting from among bids presented by different contending member book clubs on behalf of their cities for the opportunity to serve as focus hub and anchor for the composite reading promotions activities of the group between April 23rd of one year and April 22nd of the following year. Through this focus, our desire and hope is that the chosen city, its friends, residents, governments, businesses and publics would rally round our anchor Book Club in the city to organise and drive a year-long carnival of books and reading, more books and reading, and even more books and reading!
What remains to be done now is to announce the pioneer and flagship city that has been chosen and honoured with this mandate. Ladies and gentlemen, readers and guests, it is none other than the capital of Akwa Ibom State, the City of Uyo and the package is to be directly administered under the leadership of the Uyo Book Club!’
Mammah thereafter invited the Founder and President of the Uyo Book Club, Dr Udeme Nana to give his acceptance speech.
In his acceptance speech, Nana thanked the network for the honour done the Uyo Book Club, the city of Uyo and Akwa Ibom State and pledged that the club would do all within its power to justify its choice.
Other goodwill messages came from the Chairman of Uyo Local Government, Dr. Uwemedimo Udo and the President of the Nigerian Publishers Association, Chief Uchenna Cyril Anioke. They both pledged their commitment to work with the Network and the Uyo Book Club in delivering on their set mandates. While Anioke saluted the strides recorded by the Network till date, noting that it was further reflective ‘of the awakening that was taking place in our national books and reading space’ at the moment, Udo, who came to the session with a full complement of the council’s leaders affirmed that he was giving his word that all would be done by the City of Uyo to ensure a very befitting National Convention and AGM for the Network in the Akwa Ibom State capital in September.
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel