By Nsikan Ikpe
Photo: Dare Oluwatuyi
The Pan African Booksellers Association, PABA and CSS Bookshops Book Club, have jointly celebrated World Book and Copyright Day in Lagos, Nigeria.
The event, which took place on Friday, April 23, 2021, at the premises of CSS Bookshops Limited in Lagos. It also provided a veritable occasion for the launch of the CSS Bookshops Book Club, a book advocacy and reading promotions initiative that is being promoted by Nigeria’s oldest surviving bookseller, CSS Bookshops Limited.
In an address at the occasion, Mr. Dare Oluwatuyi, MD/CEO, CSS Bookshops Limited, who also doubles as President, Booksellers Association of Nigeria, BAN and representative of the Pan African Booksellers Association in the UN SDGs Book Club African Chapter, congratulated the promoting organisations driving the UN SDGs Book Club African Chapter on the formal launch of the club.
Oluwatuyi also observed that the achievement was coming after months of rigorous work behind the scenes to ensure the successful birth of the club and that it took its place as a solid driver of the imperative of sustaining the reading culture in Africa and the continued projection of the laudable ideals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, UN-SDGs, beginning with the first two themes of “No to Poverty” and “Zero Hunger.”
The organisations involved in steering the UN SDGs Book Club process were the African Publishers Network, APNET; Borders Literature for All Nations, the Pan African Booksellers Association, PABA; the Pan African Writers Association, PAWA; and the Association for Libraries in Africa, AfLIA.
Oluwatuyi said: “ After many months of preparation, we stand on the cusp of history as we get set to flag off the UN SDGs Book Club African Chapter. The Booksellers Association of Nigeria, BAN, and the Pan African Booksellers Association, PABA, stand resolutely with the rest of our partners in this project and restate our willingness to do everything within our power to drive it and, through it, continue to advance the book trade and the reading culture in Nigeria and Africa.”
As they celebrated the day, he said,” It would also not be oblivious of the broader debt that we owe our nation and continent, namely: to continue to drive activity and advocacy in promoting and boosting the reading culture through civic engagement and the nurturing of generations.
“In this, we find great agreement with the facts that not only are the 17 SDG Goals that form the fulcrum of the entire project very meaningful and beneficial to the aspirations of our people, but that the focus on the catchment age range, 6-12, very well situates the project as a worthwhile intervention that has the potential of delivering sustained value to our people through building on the very laudable ‘catching them young’ framework.”
He assured that the Booksellers would continue to apply themselves to beneficial initiatives Iike piracy. On the UN SDGs Book Club African Chapter, he said booksellers across Nigeria and Africa also restated their determination to ensure that the selected titles in the series were available to the reading public in a timely and efficient manner.
The event, which was moderated by the Interim President of the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria, Mr. Richard Mammah, also saw the introduction of the new leaders of the recently formed CSS Bookshops Book Club and readings by participating school children that were in attendance.
It also witnessed remarks from booksellers’ leaders on the continent that were drawn from Uganda, Tanzania and Egypt. While Mr Charles Batambuze of the Uganda Booksellers Association pledged the readiness of Uganda Booksellers to continue to support and key into the laudable work of the UN SDGs Book Club, Madam Hobokela of the Tanzania Booksellers Association stressed that the success of the initiative would be best guaranteed by a continuing drive to carry stakeholders along.
The Executive Committee of the CSS Bookshop Book Club, which was also formally introduced at the event, included its Coordinator, Mr. Tade Akinyemi; Secretary, Juliet Okoro and Mrs Bosede Adu. A celebration cake was also cut to mark the event.
CSS Bookshops Limited was first established in 1869, and maintains branches in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Abuja.