NBRP calls for introduction of literature support fund, others at 3rd annual conference
From left: Mr. Richard Mammah, NBRP president; Prof Chinwe Veronica Anunobi, National Librarian and Prof Felicia Etim, University librarian, Fed University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, during an MoU signing

The Network of Book Clubs and Reading Culture Promoters in Nigeria, NBRP rose from its 2023 National Conference on Reading and AGM on Thursday, September 28, with an affirmation that its pioneering executive be returned in office for one more term.

According to the text of a statement from the organization, the motion to return the executive in office was moved by Uyo Book Club founder, Dr Udeme Nana and seconded by Professor Oyinkan Chukuka Tasie of the Tolulope Book Club, Ibadan.

The returned officers are:
Richard Mammah – President
Prof. Felicia Etim – VP
Emmanuel Okoro – Secretary
Irene Okon – Assistant Secretary
Funmi Ilori – Treasurer
Farida Ladipo-Ajayi – Financial Secretary
Ekineta Annette David-West – Internal Auditor
Anote Ajeluorou – Publicity Secretary
Adekunle Smith – Legal Compliance Officer

Also at the AGM, Yenagoa was reconfirmed as the NBRP National Book Clubs City 2024 while the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja was also endorsed to serve as the National Book Clubs City 2025.

The National Book Clubs City scheme which began in 2021 with Uyo as pioneer, is designed to concentrate the reading promotions initiatives of NBRP within a given area for one calendar year. As Book Club city for 2021 and 2022, Uyo set itself the goal of engendering the coming into place of many book clubs within the state. In the current year, Lagos had opened its range of activities with the mega-advocacy Lagos Book Walk event in April.
Every Book Clubs City also has a mandatory obligation to host the AGM and National Conference of NBRP within its Book Year.

Accepting the outcome of the bid process, NBRP’s FCT coordinator, Chief Loye Oloowokere pledged the readiness of his team to ensure that the 2025 Book Year would be one of the best yet in the annals of the organisation. On her part, the representative of the 2024 hosts, Bayelsa, Annette West affirmed that extensive work was already underway to deliver a grand outing in the state next year. The full details of the final package for Yenagoa as NBRP Book Clubs City 2024, she outlined, would be revealed later in the year.

The 2023 NBRP National Conference on Reading and AGM which was held at the Julius Berger Hall, University of Lagos had Dr Paige Pullen, Chief Academic Officer at the Lastinger Center for Learning, University of Florida as keynote speaker.

Champions of Reading awards were also presented to six eminent drivers of the reading promotions enterprise in Nigeria. They include the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Dr Ekong Sampson; the Chairman, Nigerian Book Fair Trust, Mr Dare Oluwatuyi; the MD/CEO, Accessible Publishers, Mr Adedapo Gbadega and the President, Nigerian Publishers Association, Dr Uchenna Cyril Anioke. Others are the Founder, Uyo Book Club, Dr Udeme Nana and the Patron, Raffia City Book Club, Ikot Ekpene, Abom Tony Esu.

There were also panel.sessions on Book Distribution, managing book clubs and an examination of several notable reading promotions boosters such as the Pacesetters books series, the Nigeria Prize for Literature and the Guinness World Record read-aloud bids by Bayode Treasures Olawumi and John Obot on the overall Nigerian reading and books ecosystem.

The opening session was chaired by National Librarian, Prof Chinwe Anunobi, represented by Dr Jumoke Ajibola while the Chairman of the Board of the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA Chief Kayode Aderinokun, Nigeria Library Association President, Pastor Dominic Omokaro represented by Dr Taiwo Ajayi; Roving Heights Bookshop Co-founder, Dotun Eyinade; the educators, Ola Opesan and Temitope Bajela-Oladeji; CORA Programme Chair, Jahman Anikulapo and the Guinness World Record reading-aloud duo of Bayode Treasures Olawumi *(2018) and John Obot (2023); were among other dignitaries and reading enthusiasts that participated in the respective sessions.

The occasion equally served as an opportunity to review and strengthen the implementation processes for NBRP’s MOUs with the National Library of Nigeria, the Nigerian Library Association and the Committee for Relevant Art on the 774 Libraries and Book Clubs Project, a scheme to ensure the establishment and functioning of at least one well-stocked library and book club per LGA in Nigeria.

There was also an interactive Children’s Read segment that doubled as a celebration of the International Literacy Day and which was compered by i-Read Mobile Library Founder, Funmi Ilori and Onkawe Book Club Convener, Ifeoluwa Aduradola.

The event was co-hosted by the Transcultural Writers Network of the University of Lagos and supported by Showers Publishers and CSS Bookshops Limited.

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