The reading culture in Nigeria has worsened in the last few years, earning an average avid reader a negative reputation especially with the youth. This is largely due to the popularization of social media, the subsidized rate of cable subscription, and the general stance the adult population has given to the issue. Nowadays, it is not something to be proud of to have read Nigerian classics such as Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman or even Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s contemporary Half of a Yellow Sun.
To the average Nigerian, this is reserved for only scholars in the academic sector. However, many organizations have made efforts to correct this notion. One of such is the Nigerian Book Fair Trust (NBFT). Another interesting period has surfaced in Nigeria in the book industry as the 22nd Nigeria International Book Fair (NIBF) is held from Wednesday, May 10 to Saturday, May 13, 2023. The event is to be held at Yard 158 Event Arena, Opposite The Citadel, Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun Ikeja, Lagos, with the theme, “The Role of a Functional National Book Policy in the African Book Ecosystem.”
NBFT is committed to promoting reading culture in Nigeria.
Michael Oluwatuyi, the chairman of the Nigerian Book Fair Trust (NBFT), told the press that the 22nd edition of this book fair has been designed to contribute greatly to the development of the book and knowledge industry in Nigeria. He said that the organization is committed to doing this and that is why they have hosted the even 21 times previously. “One of the core mandates of NBFT/NIBF is promoting the reading culture,” he said.
At the NIBF 2023, there will be an international conference and opening ceremony on May 10, 2023 with the executive secretary of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, Prof. Ismail Junaidu, as guest speaker. Other speakers expected at the conference are Dr. John Asein, the director-general of Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC; Prof. Olasupo Jegede, former Dean of the Faculty of Education, UNILAG; and Mr. Folu Agoi, National President, PEN Nigeria. The chairman of the conference is Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, Executive Secretary of UBEC. The Honorable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, is also expected as Special Guest of Honor at the conference. Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, serves as Chief Host.
Event will stimulate the book industry in the country.
Just like in other sectors, these kind of events are designed to bring together all stakeholders in the industry as well as stimulate interaction between them. The chairman noted that the international conference will create an opportunity for attendees to meet with the book industry leaders, break new markets, network, and learn about the innovations and strategies to promote their products and services. He also mentioned that there will be huge discounts on books and other learning and teaching materials, facilitating sales opportunities, generating placement of orders, and negotiating contracts will be available.
In addition, the book will also feature a Tertiary Education Summit, which is a new program of the Nigeria Book Fair Trust. The negative impact of the ceaseless industrial battle between the government and tertiary institutions’ staff on the present and future of Nigerian students will be discussed at this summit. The reason for the inclusion of this program is the search for a lasting solution to this persistent problem and other challenges of tertiary education in Nigeria
School children will also be engaged at this book event.
Four days have been set aside for various fun-filled activities for children. This includes Spelling WhizVocab, ChampCreative Writing, Chess Games, Mathematics Competition, Talk Shows, and a Parents and Children Funfair. The event will also feature expository workshops designed to benefit actual and intending publishers, booksellers, authors, librarians, printers and other stakeholders. An interesting fact about this edition is that the number of foreign organizations that will feature in NIBF 2023 is higher than the number during the 21st edition.