ANA @ 40:Nigerian authors donate 40,000 books to schools

As part of activities marking its 40th-anniversary convention, the Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, said it has concluded plans to distribute 40,000 books to 40 schools across the country, as part of its contributions to national development.

Chairman, Federal Capital Territory chapter of ANA and head of the Local Organizing Committee for ANA at 40, Mr Taiwo Akerele, disclosed this recently at a news conference held at the Gen. Mamman Vatsa Writers’ Village, Mpape-Abuja.

Akerele said “There is a crisis in the Nigeria educational sector. We just finished the Nigeria Economic Summit NES and the main issue discussed was that of out-of-school children. Today, it is estimated that about 13 million children are out of school which is about the size of many countries. You can imagine the negative impact this will have on our country in the next five to ten years.

“ANA is working with the federal government to ensure that western education is blended with our cultures in a way to get more people in school. If those millions are out of school, it means that they are not being taught in school. It means that somebody is teaching them somewhere and we have to be concerned about what such people are teaching them.

“We have picked 40 schools across the country to receive 1000 books. We will build shelves for the books and we will continue to update those shelves with new books yearly”.

According to him, “this year’s convention promises to be exciting and promising as it is a convention been held in a COVID era (some people believe this is post-COVID) but the reality is that we are still under the threat of a pandemic, hence this convention could aptly be tagged a literary- prevention.

“Beyond also being an election year, the theme of this year’s conference is, ‘Resilience and Nation-building: The role of Nigerian literature’ and this will be delivered by Emeritus Professor Femi Osofisan, a renowned writer and academic of repute and former Director-General of the National Theatre.

“The keynote speech will be delivered by Prof. Akachi Adimorah Ezeigbo, an emeritus professor at the University of Lagos and chairperson of the Advisory Board of the Nigerian Prize for Literature”.

He said some of the issues to be discussed include “Writers’ responsibility in a distressed economy; ‘the rights of the writer’ in partnership with the Nigerian Copyright Commission NCC; and ‘the impact of the Nigerian prize for literature on the continental leadership role of Nigerian Literature in partnership with the NLNG.

The highpoint of this years’ conference is the commissioning and grand opening of ANA’s ultra-modern international conference and convention centre by President Muhammadu Buhari at the expansive Mamman Vatsa Writers’ Village.

Emeritus President of the Association, Denja Abdullahi said in the last 40 years the association has become the main driver of literacy and literary development in Nigeria.

“In this regard therefore we have partnered with credible and reputable organizations to organize various competitions chief of which is the Nigerian prize for literature sponsored by the NLNG, the Yusuf Alli prize, the Chinua Achebe prize, the NDDC prize and the Utomi reading culture campaign. This is in addition to the litany of states-based literary campaign activities across Nigeria with hundreds of people winning various prizes and awards worth millions of naira over the years”, he stated.

On the impact of writers on national development, Mr Abdullahi said Nigerian literature has never divorced itself from warning the society about imminent security problems if some issues are not checked.

“From Achebe to TM Aluko and others, we have also continued to proffer solutions to some of our existential challenges”, he added.


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