Posted By Admin
By Anthony Iwuoma
Many eminent Nigerians have continued to endorse the classroom library project, a pet project of a member of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Senator Frank Ibezim, to revive the dying reading culture among Nigerian schoolchildren.
The Senator, who represents Imo North in the senate, has intensified his campaign via the classroom library project in partnership with the ‘I Am the Future of Nigeria Youth Initiative’, IFON’, a youth-centred non-governmental organisation, owned by two young ladies, Renee and Zara Okocha, daughters of former footballer, Emma Okocha.
The youngsters have co-authored and illustrated over 45 books aimed at pupils in primary schools across Nigeria. These books are part of the classroom library project, which has been approved by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council and distributed by the Universal Basic Education Commission. The project has also received the support of the Federal Ministry of Education.
Their uncle, the ace footballer, Austin JayJay Okocha, and cousin, Alex Iwobi, have fully endorsed the project and done video skits to that effect.
The classroom library project, which is simply designed to revive the reading culture among Nigerian schoolchildren, renovate existing classrooms and train the teachers on how to interface with their pupils for maximum effect.
Senator Ibezim has taken his push for support for the cause of basic education through the promotion of the classroom library shelves to the leadership of the Senate, who gave the project an emphatic endorsement.
The visits were made to the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan; the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya.
This came on the heels of an earlier visit to the Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu.
They all endorsed the project and pledged maximum support, promising to take the message to appropriate quarters.
For instance, the senate president lauded the Okocha sisters and acknowledged receiving the classroom library shelf, with the books written by the duo.
“I commend the young authors for their scholarly strides, as the project and their gesture is an initiative that is coming at the appropriate time,” he said.
“I offer my full support for the project, especially in ensuring that I extend awareness of it to my brother and sister senators as well as members of the House of Representatives.”
Dr. Yahaya Abdullahi reiterated the Ninth National Assembly’s commitment to supporting the executive arm of government in improving the standard of education in Nigeria.
While commending the scholarly advancement of the Okocha sisters, Abdullahi also promised to support the project by raising more awareness and bringing the good initiative to his colleagues both in the Senate and House of Representatives.
While the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-agege, welcomed the project and congratulated the Okocha duo on the great feat in their determination to improve the cause of learning in our primary schools, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu also thumped up the project and threw his weight behind it, promising to give it all necessary support till it becomes a nationwide reality.
Ibezim explained that the idea is to get the cooperation of these well-placed Nigerians to set up libraries that would be named after them in schools of their own choice, adding that structures had been put in place to enable him assess the progress of the programme on a tri-monthly basis.
Speaking with representatives of the Imo State Universal Basic Education Board, IMSUBEB, school heads and teachers, Ibezim had urged them to take the library project seriously and protect them to ensure that the objective for setting them up would be achieved, saying that leaders are readers.
He also charged privileged individuals in the state to embrace the school library project, saying the government alone cannot do everything.