By Godwin Okondo
FLOMAT Books has revved up preparations for the third edition of its Abuja Book Fair, described as the ‘biggest assemblage of publishers, authors and vendors’ that will gather at Sharon Ultimate Hotel at Area 3, Abuja, from June 29 through July 1, 2023 to discuss books and book-related businesses. The book fair has as theme ‘Reading Culture Renaissance 2’, and is in collaboration with Oasis International. Since moving into Abuja with his Flomat bookshop chain, with branches at Asaba Airport and Warri, the MD/CEO Mr. Tony Akpokene, has made it his duty to animate the city’s cultural life with the promotion of books and reading culture for an informed citizenry.
As always, the line up of participants and speakers is hefty. Former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, the Director-General of Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Dr. John Asein, President of Nigerian Booksellers Association and Nigeria Book Fair Trust, Mr. Dare Oluwatuyi, Prof. MacDonald Idu, Dr. Jaff Mommoh and Pastor Bankole will all play prominent roles in making the book fair worth the while of attendees. Other special guests are Mr. Joshua Egube, Mrs. Ifueko Omogui and Mr. Chris Osarumwense.
MD/CEO of Flomat Books, Tony Akpokene
Also, notable poet and public commentator, Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo (Augusta’s Poodle and other works), Pastor Hankuri Tawus Gaya and journalist and writer, Anote Ajeluorou (Igho Goes to Farm and Libations for Africa) will engage with some secondary students in the FCT as part of deepening reading culture among young people.
A petroleum engineer who veered into book and knowledge business, Akpokene, who was at this year’s Nigeria International Book Fair 2023 in Lagos, said the third edition of Abuja book Fair will be a unique platform to engage in several life-changing activities designed for participants. There will be lectures, seminars, workshops on the importance of books, health awareness in critical areas like nutrition and the eyes as essential component of reading, free eye test, eye glasses at reduced rates, herbal medicine and the revolutionary phyto-science as a new area of medicine and many more.
“We need to catch the children young by bringing authors of international repute to talk and read to them,” Akpokene said. “That’s why we will have a pre-book fair event where authors read to students and interact with them, both in private and public schools in Area 10, Abuja. On the last day, there will be a roundtable discussion on the scourge of book piracy and how to check it. It will be chaired by the director-general of NCC, Asein.”
Akpokene has therefore urged all parents and guardians to bring their children and wards to the book fair, so “they could be inspired by the world of books. This will be one of the greatest assembly of publishers, authors and bookstore ever in Abuja. The books on offer touch on all aspects of life. It will be a world of books, a world of training, teaching and a world of teaching and you will be inspired. Come with your wards and let them begin to reinvigorate the reading culture.