Towards the 2019 national convention of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), kicking off in Enugu today, which will herald the election of a new executive, one of the presidential aspirants, Chike Ofili, granted a press conference to members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State chapter, at the state capital, Asaba.
At the event, which held at the union’s Press Centre of the union, he noted that the press conference was informed by the need to cover Delta State as his state of origin, having been born and bred in Lagos State. He felt that, as an indigene of the state, there was the need to carry them along in his campaign.
He posited emphatically that, if elected at the convention tomorrow, Saturday, November 2nd, his executive would battle the issue of piracy and make the perpetrators unconformable.
The former chairman of Lagos State chapter of the association and one-time National Publicity Secretary, took a long odyssey into the issues reflecting on literacy in the country.
He said, “If there is no literacy, there can be no writer.” In the process of intimating on the many problems surrounding literacy attainment in the country, he blamed the teachers at the primary schools level as not doing enough to mentor the pupils on the basics of literacy, which led to the deficiencies that birthed the decline in reading culture.
The need to identify people who associates with books, especially from the religious angles, he said, would be part of his mission. He promised to achieve this by visiting housing estates with the aim of talking to gatemen and housemaids on the importance of reading, as well as visiting churches and mosques.
On the total neglect of writers, he promised to take care of them with the intention of writing a letter of notice to Association of Publishers. The aim, he stated, was to notify them that they will not more reap where they did not sow. A similar letter, he equally said, would be extended to the Printer’s Association.
The need for writer’s workshop was also advocated as part of taking care of the writers. To this end, he informed of a deal with Chimamanda Adichie on the need to project writer’s welfare.
As a multidisciplinary association with different profession as members, he promised to always deliver appropriately by using the legal defenders of the association to go after those robbing the writers of their rights. This, he submitted, had formed part of the many challenges affecting writers and denying them of the joy of their sweats.
Owing to the need to empower writers, he emphasised on the dream of forming a body of editors with the aim of editing writer’s work and get paid. This will be done across the geopolitical zones, he submitted. Also, a body of marketers to monitor through the states government to sell their books, would form part of his incentives. Hence, he intended to establish a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NIPOST as their Corporate Social Responsibilities to deliver books either for free or subsidized price for the association.
He then submitted the relevance of E-commerce website to reach out internationally. Ofili lamented the lack of relevance of the association in state capitals like Asaba, while promising to split the association in the three senatorial districts of the various states of the federation as subchapters. Other contestants in the race with him are Camillus Ukah (ANA Imo), Ofoneme Inyang (ANA Akwa Ibom State) and Ahmed Maiwada (ANA Abuja).
The Vice Chairman of NUJ, Delta State council, Comr. Patrick Ochei, in response, appealed that he should remember Delta State chapter of the association when elected.