Child reading from a book

The Pan African Booksellers Association, (PABA) and CSS Bookshops Book Club, on Friday, jointly celebrated World Book and Copyright Day in Lagos, Nigeria.

The event which took place at the premises of CSS Bookshops Limited in Lagos, provided opportunity for the launch of the CSS Bookshops Book Club, a book advocacy and reading promotions initiative being promoted by Nigeria’s oldest surviving bookseller, CSS Bookshops Limited.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Dare Oluwatuyi, MD/CEO, CSS Bookshops Limited, who also doubles as President, Booksellers Association of Nigeria, BAN and representative of the Pan African Booksellers Association in the UN SDGs Book Club African Chapter congratulated the promoting organisations driving the UN SDGs Book Club African Chapter on the formal launch of the club.

Oluwatuyi noted that the achievement was coming after months of rigorous work behind the scenes to ensure the successful birth of the club and that it takes its place as a solid driver of the imperative of sustaining the reading culture in Africa and the continued projection of the laudable ideals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, UN-SDGs, beginning with the first two themes of No to Poverty and Zero Hunger.

According to him, the organisations involved in steering the UN SDGs Book Club process include the African Publishers Network, APNET, Borders Book Reviews, the Pan African Booksellers Association, PABA, the Pan African Writers Association, PAWA, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, ADEA and the African Library and Information Institutions and Associations, AfLIA.

“Finally, we are here. After many months of preparation we stand on the cusp of history as we get set to flag off the UN SDGs Book Club African Chapter. The Booksellers Association of Nigeria, BAN and the Pan African Booksellers Association, PABA stand resolutely with the rest of our partners in this project and restate our willingness to do everything within our power to drive it and through it continue to advance the book trade and the reading culture in Nigeria and Africa,” Oluwatuyi said.

“We also note the most auspicious timing of the launch event, namely that it converges with the annual commemoration of the UN-sanctioned World Book and Copyright Day which is traditionally celebrated on April 23rd of every year.

“And as we celebrate the day, we would also not be oblivious of the broader debt that we owe our nation and continent, namely to continue to drive activity and advocacy in promoting and boosting the reading culture through civic engagement and the nurturing of generations.

“In this we find great agreement with the facts that not only are the 17 SDG Goals that form the fulcrum of the entire project very meaningful and beneficial to the aspirations of our people, but that the focus on the catchment age range, 6-12, very well situates the project as a worthwhile intervention that has the potential of delivering sustained value to our people through building on the very laudable ‘catching them young’ framework.

“Indeed, it is already quite gladdening to note the sheer range of booksellers in Nigeria and Africa and other stakeholders that have since risen to the clarion call and signed up for the project. What this says, among other things is that our people know and desire schemes and initiatives of this nature that would be very beneficial to them and the general public. It also further encourages us to continue to do more in this regard.

“Permit me then to use this opportunity to also report that for us as booksellers, we will therefore continue to apply ourselves to beneficial initiatives of a like manner. Along the line we note our continuing collaboration with the authorities in tackling the scourge of piracy that has continued to be a burden on the book trade in Nigeria and Africa. We also want to note that the companion print edition of our The Nigerian Booksellers Directory 2021 (the e-edition was presented to the public last month) would soon be ready for outdooring. It is part of our modest efforts at advancing the interests of booksellers and the book trade and we will soon announce a launch date for it.

“Back to the UN SDGs Book Club African Chapter, booksellers across Nigeria and Africa also restate their determination to ensure that the selected titles in the series are available to the reading public in a timely and efficient manner. We are very determined to do our part and trust that, continuing to work together with all of our other respected stakeholders, the UN SDGs Book Club African Chapter would indeed be a huge success.”

The event which was moderated by the Interim President of the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria, Mr. Richard Mammah, also saw the introduction of the new leaders of the recently formed CSS Bookshops Book Club and readings by participating school children that were in attendance.

It witnessed remarks from booksellers’ leaders in the continent that were drawn from Uganda, Tanzania and Egypt. While Mr Charles Batambuze of the Uganda Booksellers Association pledged the readiness of Uganda Booksellers to continue to support and key into the laudable work of the UN SDGs Book Club, Madam Hobokela of the Tanzania Booksellers Association stressed that the success of the initiative would be best guaranteed by a continuing drive to carry stakeholders along.

The Executive Committee of the CSS Bookshop Book Club, which was also formally introduced at the event, include its Coordinator Mr. Tade Akinyemi, Secretary, Juliet Okoro and Mrs Bosede Adu.

CSS Bookshops Limited was first established in 1869 and maintains branches in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Abuja