Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has said that a society cannot be enlightened unless the people in that society read broadly.
He said this understanding informed his administration’s decision to set up the Library Review Committee to revive libraries and ultimately boost the reading culture in the state.
He stated this when he received books donated to the Edo State Government by Rotary Club International District 9141 at the Edo State Library Complex in Benin City yesterday.
The governor who was represented by the Chairperson of the Library Review Committee, Mrs. Grace Sanni, decried the declining reading culture in the society, which he said was due largely to the youths’ undue focus on social and other media rather than on their books.
He added that some students prefer to watch movies even during their examination period, only to enter the examination hall relying on malpractice to pass their examinations.
“Government is interested in education and the welfare of our youths hence this collaboration between Rotary International and the Edo State Government. We appreciate Rotary for these books as it is the right step in the right direction to helping our government revive the reading culture in the state,” the governor said.
Obaseki emphasized that his administration was prepared to encourage the youths to embrace reading and added that reading culture can only be restored when there are books in the libraries and a ready-to-read attitude by students, hence the importance of the collaboration.
“Edo State Government is determined to revive both private and public libraries in the state, that was why my administration set up the Library Review Committee to help the government with a blue print on how to achieve this feat,” he said.
In his remark, the Governor of Rotary District 9141 Mr. Ikponwosa Ogiemudia said his research on the steady decline in reading culture experienced in the nation was due to the establishment of more video shops than bookshops.
“I discovered that there were more video shops than bookshops and where you find a bookshop they sell stationeries rather than educative novels or books that will add to the body of knowledge,” he added, while lamenting the high cost of clearing the books at the ports.
The high point of the ceremony was the handing over of the books to Edo State Government and some of schools that graced the occasion.