Stella Dimoko Korkus.com: ABUJA -Nobody Comes There To Read!

Advertisement

Advertisement - Mobile In-Article

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

ABUJA -Nobody Comes There To Read!

Nobody goes to Abuja to read but everyone comes to SDK Blog to read !!...Make sure you read this!





''I thoroughly enjoyed reading Pius Adesanmi’s “A Nigerian, Library and Lawmakers” (Sahara Reporters, December 24). I will like to add a footnote to what he has raised: hopefully, the likely beginning of a useful conversation around the subject of reading, literacy, politician-constituency relationship, and the normative/practical value of knowledge and research in governance. At the risk of over-simplification, Adesanmi’s argument is that Nigerian politicians, unlike their counterparts in Canada and I suppose elsewhere also, do not read. They don’t do research. Nigerian legislators don’t make use of libraries either for research or for any other purpose. 


The average Nigerian politician does not connect with his constituents at the level of ideas. What drives Nigerian politics is the sharing of cheap envelopes, containing a percentage of stolen funds. Adesanmi laments in that elegantly comparative piece, but he does not tell us what can be done to get the Nigerian, not just the politician, to return to a culture of reading and research. I’ll probably also spend more time in the next paragraphs, lamenting. That is how bad and serious the problem is. 


When I arrived in Abuja in June 2011 to take up appointment as Official Spokesperson and Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Goodluck Jonathan, one of my first concerns was how to set up a library at home. It would have been difficult for me to move my libraries (in Lagos and Abeokuta) to Abuja. I needed to set up a new one, focusing majorly on the new assignment and its research requirements. 


 I made contacts and asked for the big bookshops in town. I didn’t know I was fooling myself. I spent more than a week, driving around the city trying to locate bookshops. I was told there was a bookshop around the old secretariat in Area One. When I got there, the most important item on display was stationery and different copies of the Bible from King James’s version to the New International edition. I left the place.


I was then directed a few days later to Odusote Bookshop, Abuja branch. I was excited. Odusote Bookshop used to be a major centre in Ibadan in those days. Together with the CSS bookshop around Oke Bola, and the University of Ibadan bookshop, the Odusote bookshop served the city of Ibadan and its intelligentsia very well. This was before the arrival of Mr Kolade Mosuro’s Booksellers Limited in Jericho. I rushed to Odusote Bookshop. What did I find? A shadow. Old, worn out books. The Abuja branch looked like a run-down store. Books have a certain smell. Bibliophiles sometimes go to bookstores just to smell the books, have a feel of the new arrivals section and then take a cup of coffee and go home. A bookstore is a centre of culture; in London and Washington DC, some of my favourite bookstores truly fit that definition. A dusty, stale bookstore discourages you. I bought a few books from Odusote, but my search around Abuja continued.



I kept calling persons I thought would know, but no one could really help. Each time I asked for a bookshop and mentioned something about buying books, the conversation always ran into a ditch. The only person who paid attention was Oronto Douglas. He offered to introduce to me a gentleman who would help me set up a library. He would get the books from wherever and deliver them. I only needed to indicate subject areas. I didn’t think this was the way to go. I like to choose my own books. I enjoy moving from bookrack to another, engage the booksellers, examine the books the way a pimp checks out a prostitute, before making a purchase. If it is a recommended book, I like the experience of going after the book myself and when it arrives, nothing compares to the exhilaration of a new discovery.


I finally found what looked like a book section inside a Supermarket at the Abuja Silverbird Galleria. I walked round. The best books you could get there were “how to” books, those get-rich-quick-become-a-strategist-and-an-achiever-in-one-week-type-of-publications. I read such books too, but in this particular bookshop, there was no doubt that the books were dollar-denominated. They were so expensive you’d be busy palpitating while reading the books later, once you remembered the cost. I tried other stores around the city, but these were mostly those stores where books are displayed next to groceries, cosmetics and toiletries. I wanted law books. I eventually found specialized bookshops, which sell only law books around the FCT High Court and the Corporate Affairs Commission. Building up a law section on my shelves was probably the easiest task.



I later stumbled on another bookstore at Ceddi Plaza. It was newly set up by a young man who knew what he was doing and who obviously understood the importance of knowledge. It was a neatly organized bookshop, small, but well-appointed. The fellow had read some of the books himself and he could recommend books of interest. It was always a delight going there to look at new acquisitions. One day, I went back there and found the place boarded off. I asked around. What happened? The bookshop had been transferred to another floor. The owner could no longer afford to pay for the strategic location he had chosen. I found the bookshop in a hidden corner of the Plaza. Six months later, it had disappeared altogether. The owner’s dream died. The gentleman is probably now busy running a pepper soup joint, a short-time hotel or he is at best, a harried investor in the MMM Ponzi scheme: these are far more profitable enterprises in Nigeria than the selling of books or ideas.



One day, someone took me to Biobak Restaurant for lunch, and in between trying to find a parking space, I saw something that looked like Booksellers in a place called City Plaza. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I rushed into the place. Booksellers: Abuja branch? It didn’t quite look like the big centre in Jericho, Ibadan but I established a relationship with the staff, and throughout my stay in Abuja, they helped me to source any book I wanted, if they could. But for the most part, I bought books from Glendora in Lagos, at the airport outlet and Awolowo Road, and from Amazon (by order) and Waterstones on Oxford Street, London: my favourite spot in London.



I have gone through this narrative simply to show that in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, nobody is interested in books or ideas. Abuja does not even have a public library, digital or analogue, that I know of. And yet it hosts about five universities (!), and just a few kilometres away in neighbouring Nasarawa state, there is another university in Lafia. Abuja is the home/workplace of probably the most important people in Nigeria from lawmakers to the big politicians, but it is also an ideas-person’s hell. The first day I went to the bookshop in Area One, the man on duty, sensing my agony, called me aside and told me:

“Oga, are you new in town?”

“Yes”

“The way you are looking for bookshops and books, I can figure it out”

“For me, books are important.”

“Oga, take it easy, nobody comes to Abuja to come and read. Everybody is here to make money.”

I was puzzled. He continued:

“I am telling you. This place is the city of government and contracts. People are looking for contracts and money. This our bookshop, we are just selling stationery and exercise books and religious books that the people will need, because anybody that comes here either has an alfa or a prophet working for them. With time, you will learn. I will advise you to forget about books. Look for contracts, Oga.”

Asking me to forget about books is like asking me to forgo oxygen. But the man was right and Pius Adesanmi put his fingers on it. And it is not simply an Abuja problem. Since the politicians took over governance, they stopped worrying about education, reading, research and ideas. We like to blame the military for everything, but ironically, under military rule, things were not this bad. I wrote my Ph.D thesis in those days visiting a local library in Imo, Abeokuta. It was owned, and managed by the local council as a community library!



That library was later moved to Ake, just behind the Centenary Hall. When the universities were shut down and we were all sent away, I ended up writing three chapters in that new library. This was in those days when we relied on index cards for research and those secondary school graduates who helped to type our drafts on manual, usually damaged typewriters, often insisted on correcting syntax and punctuation, instead of admitting that their typewriters were either faulty or that they did not understand what they were typing.



There were libraries in other major cities in Nigeria too. You could borrow books from the community library and return them later. Local councils built libraries. State governments encouraged reading and even bought books for students. There were national archives, with the most patronized domiciled at the University of Ibadan. In those days, when Nigerian lawmakers stood up to make a contribution in parliament, people listened because they made a lot of sense. They spoke like men and women who could think. Today, things have gone so bad we now have lawmakers who know next to nothing about anything. They want to ride the most exotic cars that money can buy. They import the prettiest girls from across the globe. They insult women. They don’t even know the history of Nigeria.



Abuja big men and women in fact employ assistants to read newspapers for them! While Abuja has no libraries, standard bookshops, or gentlemen, it is nonetheless very rich in hotels and napoi joints. Hotels have become the new libraries. They are the only places where any form of thinking takes place. As it is in Abuja, so it is in the states, and that is why government at all levels seemingly considers investment in education, an avoidable distraction. There is an Ake Arts and Book Festival. Before it, there was the Garden City Book Festival in Port Harcourt, but government no longer cares. Reading is anathema to the populace. Nigerians read to pass examinations, thereafter reading is abandoned. We are in the age of goggle-it-intellectuals.



Ideas drive and build nations. A country without a positive and deep current of thought is bound to run into crisis. So it is with Nigeria where the leaders only become animated when they want to share money or play partisan politics. The root of the crisis lies in the recruitment of wrong persons into power. Try and compare the cabinet list in Singapore with that of Nigeria, for example. The difference is clear. The message is clear. The answer lies in a re-configuration of the leadership recruitment process and the vigilance of civil society insisting on higher values''.

BY REUBEN ABATI.






63 comments:

JACINTA MBACHU said...

Long epistle


I didn't read

glowy shoe said...

reuben is always hilarous with his posts.. Tho lengthy, but i always look forward to reading them

Glowyshoes's blog

My Facebook

Instagram

Single Mom said...

If you want me to read anything just put it on SDK blog, even if you gist of a novel I will not read it but copy and past that same novel on SDK BLOG I will read the whole of it tru the blog. How I love this blog and Stella

Doppelgänger said...

You're looking for books to buy in Abuja LOL you're on your own with that one.
When I lived in that city, I went to Kaduna for my books. I have Felix at post office who sells books but doesn't read them. His books are not pricey though I haven't patronised him in years because Lagos supplies me with all I need. when you do manage to see a book to buy in Abuja, the cut throat price will keep you on your heels. So I can totally relate to this article by BV Reuben Abati.
My dream is to own a big bookstore and library, it will happen soon by God's grace. I tried to set up one at Maiduguri because that's one other thing they lack there but the insecurity wouldn't let my family let me go there but there is a lot of money to make if only one can set up a book haven there.
See free expo 😒

nnuku Sexy pant-like boxers. 08170506432 Order now said...

Is not me that will read this novel early morning. Lai Lai

Please if you read summarize

Lizzy Berry Weds Atheist 2017 said...

I knew it... I read it all,making sense Mr Abati

BlacknProudz said...

He's so right. #hesaiditall

Anonymous said...

Did I read that? Nope i didn't

queen hadassah said...

No time to read this now. I'll come back later to read it

Oby O said...

On this blog when Stella posts a short story, you see comments like.. Too long can't read or who go read all this one? The reading culture is dead in this country... That's why I ensure my kids read at least 2 books every week.

SDK Babe @amaq_collections..fashion designer at your service..bbm 58DB44B1 said...

Didnt read nada

peace maker said...

Good to know

Rex said...

Abati!!! Hmmmm but truth be told he is right in a way, Everybody dey find money,..

Some go say who book don epp? E help wella,go figure.

SHAKITI BABY said...

I knew it was Reuben,I d read oooo.just scrolled down.

Anonymous said...

"Oga, take it easy, nobody comes to Abuja to come and read. Everybody is here to make money.”

Fun but timely!!

Beloved said...

I wanted to say give this author Ruben Abati award
Till I scrolled down and saw BY REUBEN ABATI

NANA O said...

I concur. We have lost the culture of reading. Today, we are more concwrned with making money and buying the best things money can buy. Little wonder the standard of education has fallen to an all time low.
May God help us.

Miss Ferragamo said...

Stella take time oh.
Always give a heads up for Reuben Abati's post mbok

HOUSE OF LAWOF said...

Hmmm... so true

Jasmine said...

Reuben is right.

But I saw the library building. Heard they've been building it for a while now.

OLORI said...

Abeg I no fit read!

stranger said...

Everything he said is on point. Knowledge isn't valued hence people's reluctance to invest their time and money acquiring knowledge. Using myself as an example, Last year, I read just 3 books as I do not regard the reading of recommended/compulsory texts as reading; I mean, it isn't like one got a choice. You refuse to read, you fail.

Adeniji Bisi said...

I knew it was Abati..

Anyway, u have made a good point. Nigerians dont read anymore, most especially the so called politicians.

What do you expect when the mantle of leadership is been given to a monkey? This is not rhetorical but we need to get pur priorities right in the country.

Imagine a so called ambassador (name withheld) was unable to tell us the number of LG in her own state.. Others cannot recite the national anthem correctly n these are the fools engaging themselves in leading us.


What a painful thing anyway.. I will never stop reading or making research cuz it adds alot to my life.





Sobs.....
Mc pinky

PriscoBest said...

He is right,can attest to that.

Isaacson said...

If he nor be Reuben abati who else he go be?

Loveme Jeje said...

Hahahaha thank God na stroll I dey stroll pass. I don waka

STELCH 1 said...

Hotel's have become the new library, They are the only places where any form of thinking takes place..

My pastor will always say, if you find a problem in the church, that's a calling for you to fix it, don't wait for the church to do something about it, just fix it. Reuben, you found this problem while you were in office since 2011 and did not set up a standard Library, now you've left office to complain, Pack Well..

Only Stella can make me read Reuben's Article with her catchy title. Thanks Stella..

Anonymous said...

Whenever ure free drive around to wise zone 3.theres a bookshop I. The same complex that houses chicken capitol. It has a code variety of good reads.

Anonymous said...

Whenever ure free, drive around to wuse zone 3.theres a bookshop in The same complex that houses chicken capitol. It has a wide variety of good reads.

Anonymous said...

You telling us now that APC is in power?...

NORTH DAKOTA SIOBHAN(SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED) said...

Very insightful..
However lack of good quality bookshops is not only in Abuja but in all the states I have been to in Nigeria..and believe you me, I have 'Waka' all in the name of finding good books to read..

Most bookshops are so dusty that you'd sneeze the moment you enter.
I gave up on finding a good bookshop that sells the kinda books I want years ago..
These Days I settle for the guys that sells books on the floor around cms, obalende, and ikeja.
There's also a guy that stocks good books and journals too, around airport road..


Carpe diem.

Janelle said...

Well,this is what our nation has become.If miss Nigeria or MBGN gets a car,million Naira and other mouth watering gifts and the best graduating student gets laptops,few wads of cash or if lucky gets retained in the university as a lecturer that will be owed salary or paid a little salary,please who has misplaced priorities?? There are millions of First class and second class upper graduates on the streets,who worked hard for all their results,but they are either taxi drivers,painters,selling thingd online,MMM agents e.t.c. But a third class(no offence please) or pass graduate are sitting somewhere in an air conditioned office,as managers,good positions or directors,because of who their parents know or are connected to.This circle will go on until the end of time.which way Naija??

Blackberry said...

Some Africans don't read, just waiting for the white man to invent an apple headphone without wires..

Anonymous said...

I didn't read just scrolled down to confirm writers name and I wasn't disappointed 😔

Ndy said...

People hadly search for hardcopy books or libraries nowadays cuz most modern books have ecopies which are easily accessible (free or at a cost) via the internet.

Anonymous said...

He is very right, people hardly read but my hubby reads good books though, those law makers are so dumb, all they know how to do is to womanise

Imu Wiya said...

Reuben hit the nail on the head. It's so sad the deterioration that has taken place in all facets of Nigerian life.

Anonymous said...

He's right, but what did he do while in office, the old abuja library is in area 2, close to area 2 plaza, but to think of it, all of these have to do with her foundation, because a lot of things went wrong with time. Just pray and hope things get better with time even if is not in my time.

Teddy said...

Lol. I heard only the first 3 lines...

Teddy said...

Read*

Wild Rose said...

Well said... Reading culture is dead

Anonymous said...

Why would you read, it shows how shallow you are.
Even if you did not read full length at least scan through . It helps open up your mind and thinking.
You might find yourself in the midst of people discussing intelligiently and a bit of this and that you have read will help you keep up with communication .
Don't what for the odds and ends handed over to you, help yourself by opening up your thoughts.
Am sure you will come back cursing or saying negative words! I don't have time to come back to read I only had to share this to encourage you cos you say you have a brand

nkiru Iwuchukwu said...

I can totally agree with Mr Abati. I grew up in Abuja. Looking for good books is like looking for a needle in a hay stack lol. The mindset of those coming and living in Abuja is to make money.Even when you see good books the price will scare you away. Knowledge is power.

LUCILE COCONUT OIL ABUJA 07059605320 Pin- 2BC6235E said...

Happy new year Abati

Anonymous said...

Stella pls summarize, will b back, let me go read other juicy gossip u uploaded,no time to waste

Chikito The Professional Fire for Fire said...

Thanks Anon. Same question I asked myself. He's a journalist by profession. He didn't realize the poor reading culture until he left office? Okay. Happy reading oh. Me I have kindle so I'm not bothered.

Arsenal Firstlady said...

Very true Mr Reubens. Who cares to read, is it the politicians that can't make a meaningful sentence, only interested in the money to be shared. One can hardly find someone that reads. I deal on books so i know what his saying.

Anonymous said...

Yea, most times we only see things when we are not favoured anymore,so many a times one wants to read,but when you think about your bills to pay, your mind will lose concentration, the problem in Nigeria is much,one have to face it or else you will be left with noting.

Stellas Cookies and Cream said...

The moment i saw tge first paragraph i scdolled down to check who it was and my guess was good.i can't use my employers time to read this, will come back to rad it over the weekend.

Pipi Lee said...

When we have Ebooks???

Noella Chirotam said...

This is so true, the level at which people read books have greatly declined. There are a lot of bookstores we had around me when I was little that have fizzled out now. Most times I have to rely on my friends that travel out to get me books when they come back. Knowledge is power and the earlier we realise it the better for us all. Movies and irrelevant things have taken over. I just pray that someday things will change and people will realise the power in books.

Emilia Peter said...

U re right sir, most people dnt read, they belive is waste of time.

Anonymous said...

No mind reuben abati! Am sure his a senior brother to Youngman! Wey dat one de sef?

Anonymous said...

No mind reuben abati! Am sure his a senior brother to Youngman! Wey dat one de sef?awon epistles writers!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with him. I'm younger than him but I love books.I know of the ceddi plaza bookstore that went bust, I've searched for libraries in this big glamorous city even to the area 3 old dusty empty library. The only solace for me was discovering the Yaraduah centre which has a decent collection of books maintained in a cosy reading environment. Even the British Council library closed down. They went digital. I wonder if I'm part of a lost generation who looses herself in the fascinating world's of today's authors. I love books. I love reading. Both the empty headed comy anions and this fake book empty city is slowing killing my love and all I have left is a wardrobe full of clothes I don't need....

Brown Sucre said...

Wow,Mr Reuben,I read every word,you couldn't have said it any better.
I remember those days my parents used to force me and my siblings to go to cms bookshop to buy books,and the library at Victoria island to go and read,nowadays,people don't read anymore,we all are more concerned about making money.

Chikito The Professional Fire for Fire said...

There's also this book cafe called Salamander. Used to go there years back don't know if it's still open. You order food and get a book to read while at it. I think some of the books were for sale. It's also in Wuse.

Chikito The Professional Fire for Fire said...

Pardon me but some 3rd class graduates are actually more hardworking that first or second class graduates. Their zeal to succeed amidst their limitations makes them more hardworking and develop street sense (what we often call life-learning). I have a friend who made 3rd class and is working in one big oil company. She didn't believe her luck the day she was called in to resume. She called Me crying. She only went for the interview and left it in Gods hands. Before then she was working in a small company and gaining experience for about 4 years her salary moved from 75k-120k. But she gained experience that some 2:1 graduates did not have after 4 years because they were sitting at home waiting for oil company job to come- Gbam!! Today who has the last laugh?

I feel people overrate The Whole 2:1 thingy because many people can be book smart but not work smart and still lack basic work ethics that can help them succeed. And once they see you doing well without 2:1 (I made 2:2) they start saying you know someone or you have connections. Not always so.

Anonymous said...

Really!..thanks for the information. When next i visit Nigerian i will check it out with my teenagers.

Anonymous said...

Dis comment don o...choi!lwkmdh

Chikito The Professional Fire for Fire said...

I mean her old salary moved from 75k-120k in 4 years. On that new job she started on 400k. And that was 3 years ago.

Lilly simple said...

I read some

Stell he is so right
HNY Mr Abati

canoediaries said...

I did read it , and I completely agree with him.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...