On the first day of March, all roads led to Bauchi state where all the literary enthusiasts in the state gathered for an indelible romance with the day set aside for the bookers, World Book Day, aimed at reinvigorating and instilling the gradually fading-out reading culture among younger ones.
The event had in attendance prominent personalities like the state governor, MA Abubakar who was represented by his Commissioner of Education, the First Lady of the state, Hadiza Abubakar, who was also represented by the wife of the deputy of governor, and many other dignitaries and representatives of the state’s executive council.
Also gracing the occasion were the National President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, Denja Abdulahi and the state chairman of the association, Kabiru Abdullahi, who is also the convener of the occasion.
A former President of ANA, Dr. Wale Okediran, Dr. Razinat Muhammed and Sifa Asoni Gowon, were also at the occasion to guest-speak on various literary propping on the younger ones to embrace reading anything positive that comes with it.
Accordingly, winners walked away with sumptuous prizes such as Laptop computer, brand-new bicycles and other gifts courtesy of the convener.
Also during the day, a children’s book, ‘Golden Girl of Galma’, written by Kabiru Abdullahi, was presented to the public.
The book is one of the three books selected by the national body of ANA for ‘A book, a child’ literary campaign initiative, a brainchild of Denja-led administration aimed at promotion of reading culture among children across the country.
On the eve of the Day, the children of Alfalfa School of Phonics and Penguin School of Reading had the privilege of visiting the state’s First Lady, Hadiza Abubakar who is also the Mother of the World Book Day.
The First Lady described the interaction as full of fun adding that she learnt a lot from the children, adding that the day was a celebration of not just reading, but also books and authors.
The Mother of the Day, therefore, advised parents to look over their children and make sure they imbibe in them the reading culture, which would go a long way in making them the leaders of tomorrow.
“Readers are leaders,” she said.
In his remark, the National President of ANA, Denja Abdullahi, said Bauchi state has unique literary heritage for having produced great literary icons such as Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Mallam Sa’adu Zungur, Dr. Ibrahim Tahir and many others.
He, however, regretted how parents have allowed their children to gloss over the great works of these writers.
However, the president commended the ANA Bauchi for this yearly innovative celebration of the World Book Day, urging them to take the message in varying forms into the nooks and corners of the state.
“There is still a lot to do out there but with creativity, all gaps and obstacles can be bridged and overcome,” he added.
He, therefore, called on the state government to empower NGOs such as ANA with funds and grants to carry out innovative literary outreach projects in schools and in the larger society.
“Schools and communities libraries must be well equipped with relevant books and made conducive for users. All knowledge is buried in books and the solutions to societal problems are found in books too.
“It is only when such books are found and read that we can begin to talk of progress and development,” he noted.
Earlier in his welcome address, the convener of the day, Kabir Abdullahi, who is also the ANA Chairman, Bauchi chapter, promised to make it an annual celebration in order “to make both the young and the old in Bauchi state reclaim their lost reading instinct and habit.
“It is the brainchild, though borrowed from the United Kingdom, of my poor humble self and the unflinching support of the Association of Nigerian Authors.
“I have convened the event, to preach reading, to encourage reading, to plant the love of reading in our children and to help the old reclaim the lost reading habits for personal development and national growth,” he said.