In a move that would recreate ground norms, where teachers sit under a mango tree to read with school children, the reigning Queen Moremi Ajasoro (QMA), Toluhi Adedamola Oreoluwa, is embarking on a two-month book trek to Enugu, Ilorin, Abeokuta, and Lagos.
The show, which kicked off Monday, May 27, Children’s Day, takes the regent on a guided book trek to Enugu where she read the book of the legendary Queen Moremi Ajasoro with students of Queens Model Schools, 50 One Day Road, Awkunanaw, Enugu.
It is a collaborative effort between Save Our Children’s Tomorrow Foundation (SOCT-F) and Queen Moremi Ajasoro (QMA) initiative. She told journalists in Lagos that the event tagged “Books and Music Festival” was a fillip to what other beauty queens were doing to improve the state of reading culture in Nigeria.
She added that the event, however, was for children at the grassroots, which had teachers in the past reading to their students under a mango tree, but, for civilisation, the culture had nosedived.
She said, “We are starting the book reading for students in secondary schools. You can call it book trek because we are in Enugu for the first phase of the reading of the biography on Moremi Ajasoro published in 2018. And it falls on my period in office to work on the project.
“I believe that reading makes a woman. So, we are in Enugu to read for impact. We want the students to know how strong and powerful, Princess Moremi Ajasoro is in Yoruba culture. It is going to go from school to school in phases,” she said.
Giving an insight into the book, Oreoluwa said, “The epic publication chiefly mirrors the history and culture of Yoruba land and its main character, Princess Moremi Ajasoro. It also reflects her past as an epitome of womanhood, and egoism in Yoruba culture as well as leadership.
“It is important to note that Mọ́remí Àjàsorò is a Princess of the Yoruba, a figure of high significance in the history of the Yoruba peoples. She was a courageous queen whose fame contributed to the deliverance of the Yoruba tribe from oppression,” she added.
With the reading, she said, “We are telling the children how strong and versed they should be in all they do. We decided to focus on secondary students because the book is versed, and needs children who could grasp its context.”
The show, she added, was not only going to be all about reading but also with spices of music a format that would be interactive so as to gauge the children’s understanding of the meat of the book.
Her words, “The book, to put in plain words uncovers the importance of being self-reliant and what womanhood and girl child epitomises. And whatever youth put their heart to, can be achieved if they remain strong and resilience. Albeit, the book is not only about history of Yoruba culture but also leadership in general.”
Queen Oreoluwa, who is an English Language undergraduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, said that she embarked on the project to diversity from the usual focus on the less privileged, noting that in Nigeria, child abuse, labour and trafficking had become rampant.
She opined that it was her responsibility as QMA to inspire students to read, and galvanise them on the place of leadership in the society, adding that irrespective of gender, one can read and lead right.
She enjoined mothers to create time to read to their children, irrespective of how busy they were. “Sadly, children of this generation have been gripped by civilisation. This is why Queen Moremi Ajasoro initiative thought it wise to renew the call home so that youth would understand our cherished values,” she said.