The Dearth Of Reading Culture And Nigerian Authors (Part-1)

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One thing I have discovered among Nigerian readers is the love for foreign authors than Nigerian authors. It is good to be omnivorous in reading international authors to know their international experiences but the fact remains that African continent has its own challenges that many Nigerian readers abysmally failed to know. In one of the books written by Dr.D.K Olukoya of Mountain of Fire Miracles Ministries International where he titled it as ‘When the deliverer needs deliverance’.

This author explained vividly how traditional African system has been a problem to our greatness in life. That is, the only solution is constant prayers and ability to know our root problems in life. My stake here is that the reading and writing culture of a Nigerian youth would continue to die because more attention have been given to foreign authors whose backgrounds cannot be comparable to African background.

It sad that 50 percent of Nigerian readers, preachers of the gospel and motivational speakers, emphasis more on the achievements and nuggets of foreign authors than Nigerian own. That reminds me of our great heroine woman, late Professor Dora Akunyili who passionately initiated ‘Nigeria rebranding ‘which project had phased out due to continuity of government policies in the country.

The reading culture of own Nigerian authors will continue to die because our privileged authors have not really addressed the dearth of writing and reading African books. How many of these foreign authors have ever quoted Nigerian authors in their published books except our own African authors who know the quality of our authors. If we continue to place more emphasis on foreign authors, the culture of catching them young in writing skills would die off.

Again, God blessed Nigeria with good authors and the government has failed to acknowledge these brains till date. Only few Nigerian authors especially most clergies that have large congregation that are really selling their books. The congregational encouragement is given these authors to be launching out their books every month. Not that these authors are the best writers but there is large market to exhibit both their spiritual and physical creativity.

To me, I have placed more values on Nigerian authors than the foreign authors which environment is quite different from ours. I have couples of Nigerian young and old authors in my book shelf that had real life experiences than these so-called celebrated foreign authors. I want to commend Channels TV for creating Channels Book Club to unveil young and old African authors. The Nigerian literary world is dying gradually in the sense that only few authors can survive through their books in life.

Back in the days of Prof.Wole Soyinka,Prof. Chinue Achebe,Prof.Okigbo and the rest of them started writing books from their secondary school days till they graduated from the university. The environment then encourages young minds to read and write. Our own Nigerian celebrated authors in religion, politics, economy, science and others are yet to give credence to our own brand. Our readers again prefer to read those achieved authors than the growing ones in the country. No big author in Nigeria started from the top, so why not encouraging the younger ones to grow in knowledge.

I read a Nigerian young author, Alex Great Akhigbe, popularly called ’Dr.Passion’ which book titled as’ Dare your Passion’. It explains the need for everyone to know his or her area of calling in order to excel in life. Bishop Leonard Umunna,a renowned Nigerian clergy has authored several books and nuggets which every reader must read and know how he got to his present greatness in life. No wonder, an American businessman and the 2016 US presidential run up, Donald Trump insulted Nigeria that everything is imported including tooth pick.

How can a Minister of Science and Technology, Dr.Ogbonnaya Onu in this digital age should be laying emphasis on producing pencils when technology is in vogue now.

For the reading and writing culture to be creatively revived, it means we need our Nigerian authors and motivational speakers to channel their energies in knowing how our own made authors got to the top. My recent findings among those that sell books either in roadside or bookshops, the demand for foreign authors is at geometrical progression while our own is at arithmetical progression. In 2010, former President Goodluck Jonathan introduced a reading culture of bring back our books and created social media awareness to the youth. Where is that dream now?

Today, the same former President Jonathan that accepted defeat to give peace a chance has been tagged as’ effectual Buffoon and clueless leader’. African leaders continue to commend our former President but in Nigeria we condemned his leadership to fault. Even the Bible says a prophet is not honored in his own country.

The Ace comedian; Ali Baba recently initiated the culture of reading among our secondary school students, if it was a foreign convener that brought that initiative to Nigeria, the crowd would be uncontrollable. Many youths that have interest at writing are now embracing Whatsapp which is the easiest way to launch out books.

The question is how many people are really interested in this digital age of ours? The great Nigerian authors do not want to read young authors and recommend their books in the larger market. The cost of producing a book is very expensive and searching for readers to read it is a problem. Where do we go from here?

If the like of Bishop David Oyedepo,Sam Adeyemi,Pat Utomi,Enoch Adeboye and others do not have large market, their writing skills would have ended in fiasco. Out of every 10 books that are published in Nigeria, 60 percent of nuggets are from foreign authors. How many of these foreign authors use our nuggets as reference quotes?

The Nigeria dream of honoring good authors is dying gradually which has adverse effect on creativity among our youths in Nigeria. Again; Channels TV recently documented a young man without a university education from Delta State who has passion in building aircraft which flies for 45 minutes to 1hour, such dream could be encouraged if there is real change of government in Nigeria .Today, everything is imported in this country and the cost of living is high now. Let all our celebrated authors from religion, politics, science, arts and culture, economy and others should be promoting our own.

Godday Odidi
Social Media Analyst/Creative Speaker

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Articles by Godday Odidi