Hmmmmmm. Taking time out to write this. Just woke up this morning with the desire to write and put down my thoughts. It all came as a revelation, but yet it wasn’t a revelation, but a trip down memory to my childhood. This article is dedicated to my mother, NONE is like her. Yes, all children adore their mother but mine is special and unique. I adore her and see her as a mantra to inspire me.
Recently we had one of those rare mother-child outing, and passing a mini bookshop, my mum stopped and perused the books for sale; sighting Wala Ademoyega’s “ Why we Struck”, she became excited and purchased the book immediately. I on the other hand was fascinated by Chinua Achebe’s “There was a country”, which I also purchased immediately. Yeah, its no big deal, but then it didn’t occur to me what had happened, I was more concerned with dodging the expletives from mum, berating me and my brothers of destroying and losing all books she got for us when we were younger. But, now the bigger picture manifested before me.
My love for books, and that of my brothers was instilled in us by my mum. Growing up in Onitsha, Anambra State, my mum forced me and my brothers to read from quite an early age. Every week, she bought books and gave us all a week to read and summarize. I was introduced to titles such as ( Chike and the River, One week One Trouble, Eze goes to school, The Slave boy etc). We always had a new book to read every week. I recall when I was in primary four, and was reading Camara Laye’s “ African Child”, a book being read for WAEC during that period, a teacher saw me with the book and took me from staff room to staff room, telling teachers what I was reading. I felt that I had committed a big crime, until one of the teachers called me aside and told me to never stop reading books. I have never stopped that and today, am so happy.
They don’t make mothers like mine anymore these days. I witnessed this during my service year and I realized one thing about our society is this, we have allowed the tide sweep us aside, focusing on irrelevant things. Most kids these days spend their time either in front of the television or pinging. Gisting about that latest track, or video or artist, but you never hear them talk about books. The society doesn’t encourage them to read, but rather spend their time on things that affects negatively. You find out our kids can’t construct a simple sentence correctly, but can sing in tune with wizkid or kaycee.
ASUU have been claiming that our universities churn out half baked graduates, I laugh, because these graduates were churned out of a half baked primary and secondary institution, and expecting them to become the full product within the four or five years they spend in the walls of the university seems to be fool hardy. What happens to those years they spent in the primary and secondary institutions learning basically nothing? Never forming the habit of reading?
The reading culture is dead in Nigeria and we have allowed it. What remains is finding a solution before it becomes too late.