By Ozoro Opute
LAGOS Book Walk 2023, the innovative initiative designed to galvanise Lagosians and Nigerians citizens, governments and corporate organisations to engage more with the book and all its anciliary infrastructure like book clubs and libraries, has been boosted by support from stakeholders in the book ecosystem. Lagos Book Walk comes up on April 25, 2023 and will sensitise Nigerians on the need to read more, make friends with books and get governments and corporate bodies to fund libraries and get audience to them. It’s part of Lagos Book City 2023, an initiative of Network of Books Clubs and Reading (Culture) Promoters in Nigeria (NBRP). Lagos was designated book city for 2023 as host of the NBRP’s national conference and annual general meeting.
Local and international organisations that have endorsed Lagos Book Walk 2023 include Accra-based Pan African Writers Association (PAWA), Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA), National Library of Nigeria (NLN), and Society of Nigerian Young Writers (SYNW) have also pitched in to be part of the initiative. Others are Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Lagos chapter, Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), among others.
In November at the 24th Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF 2022), the iconic festival organiser, Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), signed a memorandum of understanding with NBRP on various levels of cooperation for the book sector. By that MoU, CORA is understandably part of the Lagos Book Walk 2023 and will play a significant role in galvanising the book sector for the walk and other activities of NBRP aimed at energising readers across sectors of the polity.
“Lagos Book Walk is a grassroots carnival-like programme designed to deepen awareness about books and reading,” said the Publicity Secretary of NBRP, Mr. Anote Ajeluorou, adding, “To this end, members of the public, public-spirited individuals and corporate organisations are invited to support this worthy cause of keeping ignorance at bay and bringing enlightenment to the populace. Corporate bodies are especially encouraged to key into the 774 LG library project of NBRP and help to either establish or renovate/refurbish and stock a local library near them with books to improve reading standards and literacy levels in their local, host communities.”
For an effective and productive ‘Lagos Book Walk’ outcome, according to the president of NBRP, Mr. Richard Mammah, “’Lagos Book Stakeholders Charter of Demands’ will be presented to the Lagos state governor and the Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly to bring the walk to successful end. The idea is to co-opt government more intensely into book matters and harvest greater input from those in power, so they see the need to invest more in education, particularly school libraries with relevant books that are believed by many to be grossly inadequate for students and the public alike. The book situation has degenerated so much that many in the sector say there’s a ‘Book Famine’ in the land which they also say must be fought aggressively to avert a major national educational disaster.”
Mammah described these endorsements as Christmas gifts to NBRP, noting, “The mercy of God is speaking for us at the close of the year. Hope we are all rejoicing and basking in the joy of Christmas. See those who have endorsed the Lagos Book Walk. They are formally endorsing our Lagos Book Walk! Thanks everyone for working so incredibly hard this year.”