MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
A social organization; Oleh Book Club has flagged off its books donation campaign to stock up the Delta State Library, Oleh, in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State and neighbouring school libraries, as part of the Book Club’s corporate social responsibility to the community.
The aim is to help satisfy the appetite for good books by young readers and adults alike in Oleh and neighbouring communities of Irri, Oyede, Aviara, Uzere, Olomoro, Igbide, Emede, Ozoro, Owhe and beyond. The campaign is in response to the pervasive book famine in the land, especially in local communities that lack both resources and facilities to provide same.
It would be recalled that Oleh Book Club celebrated Children’s Day 2021 on May 28 at Emore Grammar School, Oleh, when it held its inaugural book reading and conversation session. The event had a large gathering of school children and adults from within and outside the community. It had its Coordinator, journalist and writer, Mr. Anote Ajeluorou, On-Air-Personalities, Lady Ejiro Umukoro (Mega FM, Warri), and Mr. Oghenero Ezaza (Kpoko FM, Warri), the librarian, Mr. Michael Iboh, poet, Princess Oghale Oweh, the schools’ Vice Principal and Principal, Mrs. Gladys Ighokpo and Mr. Anthony Edheka headlining the reading and mentorship programme.
According to Mr. Anote Ajeluorou, the books donation drive is an effort to sustain the momentum of the club’s reading event, so the library at Oleh becomes a local hub for quality books to meet the demands for good reading materials in Isoko and neigbouring communities in Delta State.
In the same vein, Ajeluorou (author of children’s book, ‘Igho Goes to Farm’) has called on the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led Delta State Government to equip knowledge-enhancing facilities like libraries across the state to meet the knowledge quest of Deltans. He noted that with the government establishing three new state universities to meet the growing demand for quality education, providing and equipping local libraries with good books would complement the new universities and make the state the hub for quality education.
The coordinator noted that while many in the state hail Governor Governor Okowa as ‘Road Master’ for his strides in building roads, he charged the governor to also hasten to rehabilitate and equip all the state-owned libraries with current books and e-learning facilities.
Ajeluorou noted that while it is commendable to build physical infrastructure, there’s greater impetus to build up individuals with the requisite knowledge that education and libraries represent, adding that the multiplier effects of such investment for a state like Delta cannot be quantified.
Ajeluorou particularly lamented the deplorable state of Delta State Library, Ozoro, that was abandoned and left to crumble to the ground and is currently in a parlous state. He said “for a state-owned library, the sorry state of Ozoro Library is unacceptable. He therefore called on the state governor to deploy resources for the Ozoro library’s immediate rehabilitation. He also took the opportunity to commend The Martha Charity Foundation for rebuilding the state library at Oleh, which Governor Okowa commissioned in September 2017. He charged other privileged Isoko sons and daughters to emulate The Martha Charity Foundation’s example to execute similar development projects to enhance the rapid growth of Isoko nation.
Certain designated places or ‘books donation drop off points’ spread across certain cities have been identified and marked with banners appealing to the public to donate books to the library at Oleh. They include Best Western Hotel, DBS Road, Asaba; the Oleh library on IDC Road, Oleh; Christian Tigbogbo Tailoring, 24 Okandeji Street, by Fada-Helie, Off Ometan Road, Warri; Narrative Landscape Press office, 9 Odunlami Street, by Bola Street, Anthony Village, Lagos, and 1 Sanyaolu Street, Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos. Others are FRCN, Abuja, Flomat Books Ltd, A16 Cabanna, Sheraton Hotel, Ladi Kwali Street, Abuja, and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Abuja.
The first phase of the books donation initiative, Ajeluorou said, would last for three months before being reviewed. He added that those who are unable to donate books for various reasons, including not knowing the right books to buy or where to buy good books, can contact Oleh Book Club to donate cash.
He noted that Oleh Book Club’s main objective for the books donation drive is how to make going to the library to read a favourite pastime as it was in years past. Ajeluorou added that a library has the added impetus of de-emphasising the use of modern distracting gadgets that young people have been found to be addicted to, at the expense of being studious and reading for recreation.