As part of activities to mark its 40th anniversary the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) is set to distribute 40,000 free books to 40 schools across the country.
Chairman, Strategic Planning Committee of ANA at 40, Taiwo Akerele, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja, to herald the association’s 40th anniversary convention slated for Wednesday, October 27, 2021 with the theme: Resilience and Nation building, the role of Nigerian literature.
Emeritus Prof Femi Osifisan, a renowned writer and academic of repute will speak on the theme, just as other activities marking the anniversary would include a key note speech by emeritus professor at the University of Lagos, Prof Akachi Adimorah Ezeigbo.
A team of panelists has also been assembled to discuss a wide array of issues.
Akerele noted that part of the issues that came up at the two-day event of Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), was the crisis of out of school children in Nigeria.
The committee chairman, who decried the fact that Nigeria was having serious education crisis, noted that, “In 2019, UNICEF estimated 10.5 million chikdren out of school and that was before the issue of banditry, kidnapping became much more. Today, it is estimated that over 13 million children are out of school. That is almost the size of some countries.
“About 15 or 20 years ago there just about two to three million children that were out of school in Nigeria; and you can imagine the negative impact it is having in the country right now because those people we didn’t educate 20 years ago are now the ones constituting nuisance in the country right now. Imagine, if there are 10.5 to 13 million who are now out of school, the negative impact it will have between 5 to ten years’ time. So it is a national emergency.”
He disclosed that ANA was collaborating with the Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Education to ensure that western education is blended with the country’s traditional culture in most of the places that are educationally disadvantaged to ensure that people are properly educated.
“We are partnering with SUBEBs; our people are writing; we are pushing our books out there to ensure that people have access to good books that will change their orientation and give them vision for a better society; good books that will change the narrative about how a society should be governed; good books about ethics, good books about nutrition, about respect, about our culture and tradition,” he said.
Speaking further, Akerele said the 40,000 books were authored by Nigerians who are members of ANA and are ANA award-winning literature for children.
According to him, the books cover subject areas such as mental health, literature, and insecurity as well as any subject that is good for the Nigerian public.
He noted that each school would be given 1,000 books that would be placed in a special shelf constructed by ANA and would be updated every year.
Also speaking the immediate past President of ANA, Denja Abdulahi, lamented that despite a several volumes of books written about the Nigerian civil war, they were not read by the public and that accounts for recent agitations across the country.
Abdulahi, who noted that writers were using their literatures to help Nigerians in the north east to cope with trauma of insurgency, said writers were useful in using literature to change the orientation of society and that what society needs to do is to read the authors’ books.
ANA was established and registered in 1981 to serve as the umbrella body of all writers and other related groups in Nigeria.