A Philosophers once said “if you want to hide anything from an African Man, a book is the best place to hide it because Africans lack reading culture”. The above Philosophical saying becomes more real or truthful when it comes to do with Nigerians and Nigerian students in particular especially those in the secondary school and universities.
A Nigerian parent once bought an English textbook and packaged his son’s school fees in it. Being a boarding student, the son left for school only to come back home three weeks later saying he was driven from school for not paying school fees. It was then that his father discovered the type of student his son was–one that lacked reading culture. This may sound funny and incredible but it happened.
Now the big question is “what is the root cause of our students’ poor reading culture? What is it that takes away their enthusiasms, interest and passion for reading? Why imaginable and unquantifiable benefits that are derivable from reading culture? Maybe we have the entertainment media and other technological innovations and inventions. In as much as we all see technological innovations and inventions as the reason for our students abandoning and neglecting reading culture, there is yet another hidden, silent, and relatively unknown reason or cause and that is INTELLECTUAL LAZINESS.
Reading is an exercise which requires the reader to put his/her brain to work; stressing, stretching and slaying our brains to obtain intellectual exercise since our students are vehemently and symmetrically opposed to any exercise that amounts to the tasking of their brain, thereby abandoning reading culture. This ought not to be so, in only our students knew that reading culture serves as:
- An enabling environment for creativity to blossom
- A catalyst for national development
- A tool for building one’s expertise
I do not think they would neglect or abandon it because it is more like a treasure. Imagine the following quotes about reading/reading culture.
- “Reading makes a person”
- “Food cures hunger, while reading culture cures ignorance”
- “The world is a book and it is only those which reading culture that travel round it”
- “The wisest mind is the mind with reading culture”
- “The best culture is the reading culture because it is a fertile ground for personal fulfillment”
- “Reading culture is a royal road to success in every aspect of human endeavor”
- “Reading culture is a healing balm to a frustrated soul”
With what reading culture offers, I think it is high time Nigerian students embraced it with passion, and imbibe in order to enjoy what it offers.
Shagba Nguher writes from University of Abuja