The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), has been commended for organising an Annual Round Table on Reading Culture, as a follow up on the “Bring Back the Book” (BBB) Campaign by Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Honourable Minister for Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, who made the commendation at the Annual Round Table on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO), described the programme as laudable, noting that given the seriousness of the campaign, the Ministry will give it all the necessary support, as little learning is dangerous to any society.

He said: “The Bring Back the Book (BBB) campaign, launched by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010, was part of the efforts made by the present administration to curb or completely eliminate continual slide of our reading culture. Various Institutions have their quota to contribute towards the removal of this menace. It is noteworthy that National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), under the able leadership of Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, has been in the forefront of this project through different workshops they have been organising. It is the same project they have continued with this event today. I commend NICO for this. The ministry will give the programme all the necessary supports given its importance.”

Continuing, the Minister said the programme was worth giving serious attention because it provides a veritable platform for reviving reading culture, as no nation can develop in the face of a decaying education.

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, who expressed his delight for the impressive attendance, said ARTCO is an enlightenment programme in pursuance of the mandate of NICO, adding that the topic was chosen due to the deteriorating culture of reading in Nigeria.

The ES said: “The dwindling culture of reading in Nigeria is alarming. We have chosen this theme in line with the “Bring Back the Book” (BBB) campaign of President Goodluck Jonathan. We want to support Mr. President in the project. That is why we have invited all the institutions and stakeholders, so that at the end we come out with a working document and give to the government. You will all agree with me that icons like Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, J.P. Clark, Elechi Amadi, Zulu Sofola, Christopher Okigbo, Cyprian Ekwensi, Chimamanda Adichie, Olu Obafemi, who just won the 2011 ANA Prize for Drama, etc. would not have been famous without reading. So, we call on everybody to come out and encourage reading culture.’’

The event, which was the 7th edition in the series, took place at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, with the theme, “Promoting Reading Culture in Nigeria: The Role of Institutions,” under the chairmanship of Professor Olu Obafemi, the Director of Research, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru-Jos, Plateau State.

Several institutions attended, including Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Youth Development, Committee of Vice Chancellors, National Library of Nigeria (NLN), Association of Nigeria Authors (ANA), Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA), Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Parents Teachers Association (PTA), Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Related Matters (NAPTIP), Voice of Nigeria (VON), Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre (CLTC), Federal Scholarship Board (FSB), Agency for Mass Education (AME), etc.

Nwagbo Nnenyelike
Corporate Affairs