Why Is Reading For Knowledge A Taboo To Most Of Us?

It is shameful how most Nigerians hate to read serious materials; they break barriers and boundaries to lap up any content relating to a woman’s cleavages Posted on Facebook and other ‘soft’ platforms. Reading is ‘Haram’ to them.

I was shocked at what I found out at Waterstones, West End yesterday, where I went to buy some books. In the course of making my selections, I came across these Black folks with whom I shared the same interest and we got talking. Our conclusion was revealing. I related it to Posts and Updates we made on our Timelines on Facebook and how you never got up to 3 ‘likes’ on serious academic ones, but saw 600 on a woman’s photo Update!

Which brings me to back in the day when all we had were newspapers and magazines. Back then, I only bought and read newspapers like “The Guardian,” “Daily Times,” “The Punch,” “The Sunday Concord,” etc and international news magazines like, “Time…” I followed all the ace Columnists of that time as young as I was both in age and secondary school education. As a matter of fact, I started buying my own newspaper and magazine as early as class 3. I gained a lot from writers like Lade Bunuola, Professor Onabamiro, Dr Chiji Emuchey and the like before Ray Ekpu, Dele Giwa, and the rest burst on the scene. Newspapers contained every subject under the earth and if only you could pick one up every other day, you were assured of real knowledge! I was conversant and made informed opinions on the economic policies of different economies of Africa and other continents because I followed publications relating to this as early as when I just completed my secondary school education.

I am eternally grateful to Omo-Ikiroda, of the then “The Observer,” in Benin who edited my first newspaper article in that paper. Mr Illeaboya was another man, who steadied my self-belief in writing for publication, early in life.

Back to Facebook, I learn a lot from the Updates of certain friends in my list. I look forward to reading them and made a point of showing that I did, to appreciate them. One such young man I admire to the hilt is, Fredrick Nwabufo. Away from his physical handsomeness, he is every inch a writer that takes away my soul! I give it also, to Ufuoma Bernard; he is a very well-informed ‘eccentric’ Bishop! Toks Ogunbiyi never did it every day or burdens you with a long thing, but when he did, you were forced to seek further knowledge… There is Barrister Novwe Ikie, who, in my opinion, is a lawyer’s lawyer! I have one very young man – Jolayemi Babajide; I always looked forward to reading him – until, somehow, he seems to have cooled off. Considering his young head, the content of his opinions can only be described as amazing. There are few others more, which space does not allow me to list – but I must add these other amazing women, Adesola Ayo-Aderele – she’s one hell of an egg-head. And Oby Bekee Nwanyi Eze…

Finally, can we kindle our interest in reading up and sharing knowledge instead of occupying ourselves with irrelevant or valueless contents? There are intelligent jokes that we learn from, mind you. No one is saying that contents must be related to calculus or rocket science. One is just concerned with people not reading.

Wilson Akpomedae Ozuem

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