The Honourable Minister for Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, has commended the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) for its promoting the reading culture initiative, saying the Federal Government’s concern and interest in promoting book and reading culture is predicated on the understanding that no country can achieve meaningful progress if its citizens are predominantly illiterate.
This was conveyed in an address delivered by the Minister at a one-day National Media Workshop organized by the Institute, in collaboration with the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), in Abuja on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011, with the theme, “Media Strategies for Propagating the Book Culture in Nigeria”.
Represented by the Director, Research, Planning and Documentation in the Ministry, Mr. Chudi Nwandu, the Minister stressed that the workshop is not only apt but could not have come at a more auspicious time as Nigerians are collectively strategizing towards achieving national growth and development.
Chief Duke warned that if Nigerians are not properly reoriented to appreciate and imbibe a reading culture, which is imperative for global competitiveness, the Vision 20:2020 blueprint which aspires to make Nigeria one of the top twenty developed economies in the world by the year 2020 will be a mirage.
The Minister, who described the promoting reading culture initiative of NICO as a veritable follow-up action of President Jonathan’s “Bring Back the Book” initiative, recalled Mr. President’s speech at the launch of the BBB project, where he underscored the importance of a vibrant educational system and sustainable reading culture for national development.
In the words of Mr. President as quoted by the Minister: “It is my suggestion that we focus on restoring a book reading culture with particular emphasis on children and youths.” This, the Minister said, would guide our young people towards broadening their knowledge, encouraging intellectual endeavours and building a nation at the forefront of intellectual-based economy.
Expressing delight in the reading culture initiative; the Minister further disclosed that the Ministry will continue to give the NICO the necessary support to ensure that the Institute achieves its mandate through the numerous programmes it has outlined.