By Aluu Vincent
A leading intellectual hub in the country, Uyo Book Club has urged Nigerians to adopt a ‘DEAR’ moment in their homes as part of efforts to reawaken reading culture among Nigerians. The founder of the Club, Dr. Udeme Nana disclosed this on Saturday, January 29 2022 at Shakespeare’s Hall, WatBridge Hotel, Uyo during the January meeting of Uyo Book Club while welcoming members to their first meeting in 2022.
Providing insights into the meaning of the acronym ‘DEAR’, Dr Nana explained that DEAR stands for “DROP EVERYTHING AND READ” adding that the moment should be a period where individuals and family members should “Drop Everything And Read”. Dr Nana said that it should be a special moment for individuals and households to gather, dedicate a period of time just to read books, or any writing on any subject matter . He noted that when people read, they will become enlightened and better informed to make contributions to the development of their society. The former Media Adviser to Governor Attah and Godswill Akpabio highlighted that the sensibilities of people who read widely would be refined.
The ‘DEAR’ MOMENT will also create an avenue for bonding among family members, he said.
The Media Scholar likened the special moment to a time when families dropped everything to pray, eat or sleep. ‘People who embrace this idea will be transformed sustainably,’ Dr. Nana emphasized.
According to Dr Nana who has set up three book clubs in Akwa Ibom State so far, ‘things will change in Nigeria for the better while a mental and attitudinal revolution will occur when families include a time for reading in their daily routines.’ He added that if Nigerians adopt the ‘DEAR’ moment, they would be amazed at what can be learnt as the mental faculty will be opened to fresher ideas and innovations.
While addressing the Book Clubbers, Dr. Martin Akpan, a medical doctor turned cerebral writer appreciated club members for finding time to attend the reading exercise. “Reading maketh a man. That is why it is often said that readers are leaders. You can do nothing without books. Reading is one of the most serious things anybody can do. As a Medical Doctor, I interact with my patients through words as a form of cure. Some of them come to me for drugs but I present words to them and they become okay” Dr Martin said.
Also speaking , Professor Joseph Ushie, Dean, Faculty of Arts University of Uyo, said that reading is to humans what blood is to the body. He said that William Shakespeare was born on April 1564 and died in April 1616 hence lived for 52 years. “If you ask an average English man who the richest man is, he may not know but William Shakespeare still lives in the hearts of almost everyone in the world through his writings and poetic works. This is to tell you how important reading is to human life” Ushie said.
Prof. Ushie maintained that words were therapeutic with the potency to heal and make whole when rightly applied. According to the former Chairman of National Association of Nigerian Authors Akwa Ibom State, “When people gather to read, minds are opened up to receive more wisdom, ideas and innovations are birthed that can lead to development”. He introduced a new word LOGOS-THERAPY into the English vocabulary meaning the use of words to cure patients .
A Patron of the Club and former Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Rt. Hon. Barr. Ekong Sampson PhD, underscored the importance of Books and reading in the life of any nation. Ekong Sampson popularly referred to as the Encyclopedia by admirers, noted that writers have a duty to draw the attention of government and the public to wrongs and inadequacies that needs attention. He cited the ugly trend of gradual return of military rule in Africa as unacceptable. “The happenings in Mali and lately Burkina Faso reminds us of the books ‘Anthill of the Savannah and a Man of the people written by the late Professor Chinua Achebe’ . There can never be a substitute to democracy, he said. Since writers blossom in democracy, they have a duty to write and condemn the subtle comeback to power by Men in Khaki uniform.
He called for immediate restoration to democracy in the affected countries observing that the right to freedom of expression and writing are guaranteed under a democracy and not military rule. Writers must wake up now” Sampson challenged.
Highlights of the first meeting of the year was the commencement of the ‘DEAR’ MOMENT by Members of the Club, registration of new members, presentation of prizes to winners of the crossword puzzles, published in the Brook, the Quarterly Newsletter of the Book Club and review of a book titled ‘The History and Prospects of the Nigerian Book’ written by Richard Mammah, who, incidentally, is the National President of the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria.