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Invest in book industry for national integration, publishers tell government

By Tobi Idowu
30 December 2018   |   4:05 am
Recently, the 2018 yearly conference and general meeting of Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA) was held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.

Mrs. Joy Ojeah, representing Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Idiat Adebule (left); Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA) president, Mr. Gbenga Adedapo; ANCOPSS president, Lagos State, Mrs. Folashade Moronkeji, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Education Development and Research Council (NERDC) and chairman of the occasion, Prof. Ismail Junaidu declaring the book exhibition stands open at NPA 2018 annual conference/general meeting… in Lagos

Recently, the 2018 yearly conference and general meeting of Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA) was held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. It was chaired by the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, Professor Ismail Junaidu, while Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali delivered the keynote, which had as theme, The Book: An Instrument for National Integration.

While welcome guests, NPA President, Mr Gbadega Adedapo, commended Nigerian publishers for their contribution to national cohesion through their publications and for contributing to the sustenance of the education sector despite the enormous challenges facing the industry.

He lamented the negative effects of piracy and other copyright abuses in the industry and called on relevant government agencies to address these issues, as a matter of urgency.

In order to address the multifaceted issues surrounding the book sector, Adedapo urged the Federal Ministry of Education to intensify its collaboration with stakeholders so as to hasten the process of finalising the National Book Policy.

He also called on government to establish accessible grants to support book publishing in Nigeria as a strategic intervention programme to boost national integration and improve the nation’s educational system.

On the theme of this year’s conference, the president assured that publishers would continue to devote more time and resources to ensure that books play a more visible role in the campaign for national peace, unity and progress.

While delivering the keynote, Ali highlighted some of the problems and challenges that Nigeria has facedas a country since 1914. While tracing the history of books and their power as tools of social cohesion and integration, he advised government to pay more attention to the publishing industry in order to maximise the contributions of books to national integration and economic growth.

Ali also highlighted the importance of a sustained reading culture and urged parents and teachers to encourage their children and wards to devote more time to reading as a pleasurable pastime.

According to the keynoter, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, books, as enduring media for knowledge dissemination and information sharing play significant roles in advancement of civilisations.

He advised publishers to invest more in well-written books with quality contents that would impact positively on national integration, social cohesion and economic development. He advocated for more exposure to the literary culture as anti-dote against social injustice, economic imbalance, religious intolerance, bigotry and other practices that easily divide Nigerians as a country and people.

While presenting the report, Mr. Adedapo commended member firms for their financial contributions towards the newly acquired plot of land in Ibadan for the building of the proposed NPA Headquarters. He highlighted other achievements of the outgoing executive, including the hosting of the first Regional Seminar of the International Publishers Association (IPA) in Lagos in May 2018, inauguration of state chapters of NPA in Lagos, Oyo, Osun and the FCT, increased collaboration with relevant government agencies to check book piracy, as well as continuous education and training for member firms on various aspects of publishing and the book chain. He also used the opportunity to update members on progress made towards the establishment of the Publishers Institute of Nigeria.

Members present unanimously adopted a new Constitution for the association and certificates of membership were presented to newly admitted member firms to the association. All members of the outgoing Executive Council were returned unopposed to serve for another term of two years, with Mr. Adedapo also retaining his position as president.