Booksellers promise vibrant book industry
The Booksellers Association of Nigeria has promised to make the book industry vibrant again in the country. Giving this assurance was Dare Michael Oluwatuyi, managing director of CSS Bookshops Limited, who recently emerged president of the association.
Oluwatuyi said he would endeavour to rebuild the association towards regaining the past vibrancy that made booksellers worthy partners in efficient book publishing and distribution in Nigeria.
“We shall embark on qualitative membership and revenue drive as well as engage in training and capacity building to elicit good rapport among members and enable us to once more become a respected voice amongst sister associations in the publishing industry,” he said.
Whilst acknowledging that booksellers had been sidelined in the industry in the last 20 years owing to growing incidence of piracy and wide spread proliferation of the business that had caused publishers to embark on direct sales to end-users, Oluwatuyi promised that the new executives would work hard at “sanitising the market and ensuring that publishers see reason with us.”
He further said that registered booksellers would vigorously fight piracy that has given members of the association a bad name.
Said he: “We shall identify the few bad eggs amongst us and read the riot act to them. And if they don’t change, we shall delist them and report them to the appropriate authorities.”
Oluwatuyi said the association would join hands with government and publishing houses to ensure a revival of the dying reading culture in Nigeria.
“The melt down of the economy coupled with the onslaught of social media and the growing attitude of people who only read to pass examinations, not to expand their worldview have adversely contributed to low reading culture amongst Nigerians,” Oluwatuyi said, adding, “it will work with key stakeholders to revive public libraries across Nigeria and encourage reading, especially among youth who are in dire need of 21st Century skills to compete in today’s knowledge-driven global economy that knows no geographical boundaries.”
A one-time President of the association and a pioneer president of Nigerian Book Fair Trust, Mr Dayo Alabi, also urged the team to be committed and ready to sacrifice time and ample resources toward returning bookselling to its former pride of place in ‘educating the nation.’
Oluwatuyi was returned unopposed at the elections that held during the association’s yearly meeting at the Multi-Purpose Hall of the University of Lagos, Akoka, where a veteran of the association, Mrs. Oluronke Orimalade, served as the returning officer.
Other officials elected were: Mr. Moses McDaniel (Vice President – North); Mr. Wilson Moneme (Vice President – East); Mr. Henry Ekom Itauma (General Secretary); Mr. Mohammed Garuba (Assistant General Secretary); Mr Rakeeb Akinyanbi (Financial Secretary); Mr. Robert Lawson (Treasurer) and Mr. Michael Adewoye (PRO). The immediate past president of the association, Dr. David Popoola and Mrs. Dorothy Esinalo were elected as ex-officio members.
Speaking at the event, a former president of the association and Managing Director of Havilah Merchants Ltd, Mr. Lanre Adesuyi, enjoined the new executive council members to work hard at giving voice to the vision of the association as an important component of Nigeria’s growing publishing industry.