By Deji Abdulwahab
Abuja, Nov. 6, 2021
Dr. Camillus Ukah, President, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), says reading of creative literature will assist in shaping the minds of Nigerians to prevent their involvement in violence.
Ukah said this on Saturday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the ANA 40th Anniversary/Annual Convention in Abuja.
NAN reports that the association had begun the provision of 40,000 creative literature books to 40 secondary schools to commemorate its 40th anniversary.
Ukah said: “We believe that creative literature is a missing link between our nation and development.
“Our late founding father, Chinua Achebe, said that story is our guide and escort. Without the story, we just jump into candle fence like blind beggers.
“That story is literature and symbolic because it is your story that guides you, it will tell you what you did wrong before and the need to correct it.”
According to him, literature is also key to security of any nation because literature grooms the mind and a groomed mind cannot get involved in untidy violence.
“For example, look at Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laurette, with all his rascality, if not for literature, somebody who went and seized a radio station.
“Will it be difficult for him to get to the bush with AK-47 but literature has groomed his rascality. It has given his radical tendencies a purpose. As far as Wole Soyinka is concerned, his abiding principle is humanity.
“Look at Achebe, in his stubborn quietness, literature had groomed him and redirected his energy to developing the mind of man.
“Literature is imperative to nation’s security and development. So, literature has a lot to offer to a nation’s building and development.
“I think the earlier we take the promotion of literature seriously, the better for us.
“For all of us who have children, you can experiment it. If you give your child one creative literature book every week, that child will become a star, irrespective of discipline whether science or art.
“What does it do is to open the mind of that child. So, Literature is key to any development,” ANA boss said.
Dr John Asein, Director-General of Nigerian Copyright Commission, told NAN that the commission would partner with ANA leadership to sustain the association’s creative literature books project.
Asein said that the commission, in collaboration with ANA, would ensure proper monitoring of the creative literature books given to 40 schools in the country.
“We want the provision of creative literature books to be a sustainable programme.
“So, it is not just about giving them books. We want to also adopt those 40 schools and go to them one after the other, encourage them in area of creativity, respect for copyright and for them to develop their talents.
“So, some days they will also become authors. We will work with ANA on that to get the list from you and make it a sustainable programme,” Asein said.
According to him, there is need to go to those schools always because we cannot plant a seed and then go and think it will just grow, you must go back and check whether the weed is disturbing.
“So, these children need to be given constant encouragement that it doesn’t matter how things appear today, there is a future.
“We will work together to rebuild the character, passion and vision of these children.
“I thank ANA for starting by putting books in their hands because the schools may end up keeping those books in their libraries and before you know the shelves are even gone.
“So, with this arrangement, I will ensure that from our state offices, I will hand a number of schools to each state for proper monitoring,” he said.