Libraries are becoming a rarity in Nigeria because it appears people have moved on from the culture of going into an enclosed area to read and rather embracing the dividends of technology in the 21st century that has made things so much easy just with a click.
There has been several calls for Nigerians especially the youths to step up the game and cultivate the reading culture since the world seems to be evolving so fast and people who don’t have the habit may be left out in no time.
The first Presidential Library in the African continent has been commissioned in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital located in Nigeria.
The commissioning was part of activities to mark the 80th birthday of erstwhile President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was Nigeria’s President between 1999 and 2007.
The Library which is modeled along the American Presidential Library was launched in May 14, 2005.
The multi-billion naira Library complex, facilitated and owned Obasanjo boasts of 15 Million documents, two million books, 4,000 artifacts.
Scholars will understand what this milestone achievement means to Nigeria in the wake of the dying reading culture.
The fact that the epoch making ceremony attracted prominent personalities from across the globe says so well about the gains to be expected on the long run not just for Nigeria but Africa and perhaps the world at large.
Among the attendees at the event were; Liberian president, Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson-, President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo, President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, ex-president Boni Yayi of Benin Republic and ex-president Joyce Banda of Malawi, Prince Michael of Kent, former United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Kofi Anan, Prof. Akin Adesina, former president of Ghana, John Kuffour, former President Goodluck Jonathan, Ernest Sonekan, AbdulSalam Abubakar, Emeka Anyaoku, Namadi Sambo, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Olusegun Osoba, former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwakwaso.
It is expected that the international guests will probably do well to spread the good news of the event to their countries who will likely pay a visit to Nigeria to have a feel of the historical library.
The much neglected tourism sector may soon witness an overhaul with the milestone development and we should understand what this means to the country at this time.
International relations will also be strengthened if the historic library is well managed to the benefit of the country.
Here is what Sirleaf said to that regard: “African children, adults, scholars everywhere and friends of Africa worldwide to visit this Presidential library as we have experienced today, feel the exhibits from the life and times of a great son of Nigeria and Africa, more importantly read, see, hear, feel and interact with history and culture.”
The library is also an antidote for the menace of unemployment in the country as it has provided employment for over 500 youths so far according to the co-chairman of the Library’s Board of Trustees, Christopher Kolade.
Not only will posterity be proud of Obasanjo’s achievement, the present generation wouldn’t have wished for more. Besides, other African leaders ought to also emulate the move in order to preserve the history and culture of their countries.
Acting-President who couldn’t hide his awe lauded Obasanjo for preserving the history and culture of Nigeria, adding that the library would go a long way in teaching, not only young Nigerians but also adults, especially those aspiring to be future leaders.
In his words: “Baba Olusegun Obasanjo is certainly one of those rare human beings. There are at least two advantages to writing history, there is a personal one, you write a few nice things about yourself. But the most serious advantage is that it is one sure way of preserving the lessons, the failures and the successes of the past and also that we can approach the future with more sure-footedness and less pains.”
It is time for young Nigerians to maximize the opportunity and reinstate the reading culture because if you must stay in the game in this 21st century, you must be abreast with happenings and only voracious readers are bound to attain that height.
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