THE BOOK I’M READING THIS WEEKEND

By Akin Ojumu

“If you want to hide something from a negro, put it in a book.”

In his now famous quote, Frederick Douglass succinctly described the literary paucity among black people. Douglass understood very well that his fellow black Americans do not like to read. Because they don’t read, they remain perpetually ignorant and ill-informed about their deplorable conditions.

Nigerians have a notoriously short-term memory. They are so quick to forget the pain of their affliction in the hands of past bad leaders and they don’t seem to remember the men and women who brought unimaginable ruins to their nation. The reason for Nigerians retrograde amnesia can be attributed to the fact that the people do not read. Because they don’t read, Nigerians are mostly ignorant and generally ill-informed just like their kinsmen in America. This failure to read about the past is the bane of Nigerians existence. The Nigeria political class, understanding very well this weakness among their fellow Nigerians, are wont to exploit it to the hilt in order to perpetuate themselves in power. 

In 1996, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka wrote the book titled, “The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis.” The book is an in-depth exploration of the past and the future of the Nigeria nation. I ordered a copy of the book for myself from Amazon 2 days ago and, like magic, it was delivered today. To keep myself informed and educated about Nigeria’s past, I’m going to spend this weekend pouring through this sad tale about the country of my birth.

I invite you all to come along and join me on this journey of discovery and unveiling. I earnestly charge and fervently challenge you to pick up a book – any book – and READ!

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