By, UCHECHUKWU UGBOAJA – Abuja
It was another sterling outing by Prof. Steve Azaiki Friday morning on the AIT Kaakaki live program as the Bayelsa State born lawmaker contributed a uniquely diverse perspective to the subject “What is responsible for the dwindling reading culture in Nigeria Today,” where he advocated for improved reading culture for leadership.
– Prof. Steve Azaiki particularly began the program by taking the viewers down memory lane where as a result of the reading culture Nigeria used to be a country that was fast developing in the 70’s and 80’s ahead of some countries such as South Korea, Singapore etc have today taken over the technological and scientific landscape.
– Prof. cited several contemporary and realistic examples of why reading has been relegated to the background in our society. Notable among them the leadership deficit in the society has developed which can be traced to rewarding thuggery instead of academic excellence as one of the fastest routes to gain political recognition in the country today.
– Prof. also shed the light on using one of his most notable contribution to the global academic community which is the Azaiki Public Library to change this narrative in this light. According to him, the effort made by bringing in the best resource persons across the world to set up a world class reading facility (Azaiki Public Library) in his hometown Yenagoa was something aimed at redefining the concept of reading by combining it with a Museum. This standard is one you would find in advanced countries of the world, but ironically the facility is majorly patronized by readers from other parts of the world.
– Prof. Steve Azaiki further hinted that in the era of digital reading resources, readers should focus more on what they read which is capable of adding to the content of their individual knowledge. He made this in the context of young people choosing to access digital materials which are solely for entertainment purposes which have little or no value to their personal development.
– Prof. Azaiki in recognizing the impact of poverty of the mind cited how he donated about 700 books authored by him to members of his constituents with the aim of changing the mindset of the youths as potential future leaders. However, that effort revealed a feedback that revealed where the focus of the youths lies in this time and age.
– Finally, Prof Steve Azaiki concluded the program by reminding the viewers of the process it took for great leaders such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo’s & the President Barrack Obama’s of this world to emerge; reminding parents of the need understand the importance of their roles in helping refocus the mindset of the young ones at an early stage to appreciate the culture of reading books because only readers end up as leaders.